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Intel's Robson controller will bring NAND to notebook motherboards. SnowGrass is the exact same technology but for desktops - Courtesy AnandTech
Solid-state storage finally comes into mass production; although prices are still sky-high

Last week at IDF, we reported that Intel's next major mobile platform, called Santa Rosa, will feature NAND flash memory technology in order to allow devices to startup and execute programs. This technology, dubbed Robson, will improve boot times, reduce paging and be used as a general buffer between storage devices and system memory. 

Interestingly, Intel also mentioned that Robson will have a version for desktop computers called Snowgrass. The technology is currently in the works and is planned to be released after Robson. Motherboard makers will have designs that contain a slot designed to take a Snowgrass NAND module. This opens the door for users to customize their motherboards with various sizes of modules for whatever purposes they choose, and also allows the ability to upgrade NAND as it gets less and less expensive.  Remember when L2 cache used to sit on the motherboard?

Intel's current Snowgrass specification calls for a modular design, but it now appears that motherboard makers have the option of integrating the technology directly on board. There is no word yet on capacities, but for Snowgrass or Robson to really have any value over the purchase of a faster hard drive, we would have to speculate that the cost of such a module cost less than a few gigabytes of system memory.  We would not be surprised if Robson and Snowgrass have similar price  points and capacities as USB NAND at the time of launch.  Today, 4GB pen drives using NAND flash memory cost approximately $100.


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By yodataco on 3/15/2006 1:53:21 PM , Rating: 2
I honestly think that NAND tech is becoming outdated. Yes, it's cheap and somewhat versitile....but it's slow, and has VERY limited write life. Beyond that this would be adding another layer of complexity upon systems that need to honestly probably remove a layer or two. Now we have 4 main layers of our memory system (cache, volitile system memory, NAND system file/suspend memory, and slow hard disk / external media memory), instead of having fewer layers, and less complexity. More layers does not always make an architechture faster (look at the P4 stepping fiasco).

I think research should go more into tech like nanotubes. Something that is fast, non-volitile, and can have large capacities. This would mean we could even erase a current layer, and have on-chip solid state cache + solid state fast system memory/storage....thus eliminating the need for a hard disk. This would also simplify the systems architecture in several different areas: system bus, unified caching (no more level 1,2,3,4,5,etc cache), and on-the-fly storage partitioning to name a few.

I know it sounds like a pipe dream, but it's really not. The technology researchers & developers just have to get off their fannys and stop making "incremental" updates just so they can make more money by selling everyone who just bought that 1gb 333mhz ram pair the new 1gb 400mhz ram pair! I mean imagine a system with 1gb of solid state cache and 250gb of solid state memory....it's possible, it's just not profitable because corporations have about 100 iterations of their current and "upcoming" architechtures to make money off of first.




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