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  • Apple Begins Killing the Hard Drive


    Apple calls the new MacBook Air "the next generation of MacBooks," in an indication that they are planning on incorporating the innovative features of the refreshed model in all Apple laptops. Chief among these is the solid-state drive (SSD) flash storage that replaces the hard drive, cutting weight and extending battery life. Apple has telegraphed in a number of ways that the 'instant-on' capability of the MacBook Air and iPad will become standard on MacBooks - if not on all Macs - in the future.

    "All notebooks will be like this someday," Jobs said on the stage yesterday, calling the MacBook Air "the future of the MacBook." In the press release accompanying the Air launch, Apple strongly asserted that "the first of a next generation of notebooks which will replace mechanical hard disks and optical drives with Internet services and solid state flash storage." So it's clear that they intend to standardize on flash storage as opposed to mechanical hard disks. Apple is already the largest buyer of NAND flash memory in the world, snapping up so many of the silicon wafers that it's single handedly caused worldwide shortages time and time again. However, their purchasing power has also enabled them to get flash at a good price, and further driving the price down by forcing manufacturers to increase production.

    So is this a good development for the future of the MacBook, as well as the notebook industry in general? For one thing, the lack of moving parts eliminates the number one killer of hard drives: head crashes. Also, start-up time and access time is faster in solid state memory than in mechanical hard drives, again because of no moving parts. Heat buildup is limited and power usage is much lower. On the downside, the high price makes storage larger than the 256GB in the 13-inch Air impractical, though as production ramps up we should see prices come down. One major drawback is that there are a limited number of write cycles with flash memory; mechanical hard drives can be rewritten as many as ten times more than flash chips.

    Technical and price shortcomings will doubtlessly diminish over time, and for a user who needs a light, medium-duty laptop - and has money to spare - the current crop of MacBook Airs are a fine choice. For those who are looking for a more affordable, durable option and are not rabid early adopters, waiting a year or so might be appropriate.

    image via Apple
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Begins Killing the Hard Drive started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 92 Comments
    1. Waleed786's Avatar
      Waleed786 -
      Sony was using SSD's in their devices years ago, I never understood why it never got big..I guess the main reason is that hard drives are already in the terabyte range while SSD's are still in the low gigabytes...i guess Apple will be the one to make it popular
    1. Melech518's Avatar
      Melech518 -
      Western DIgital says their sales are down 10-20% since iPad launch...
    1. vruls's Avatar
      vruls -
      It wouldnt be a bad idea, as long external hardrives are still made.
    1. sk8ertim's Avatar
      sk8ertim -
      About time someone steps ahead and calls off ALL HDDs!!!

      This is also one of the reasons that I still have not made a new multimedia/gaming rig.
      In the near future (1-3 years) we should see 120+ gb SSDs.
      At this point of time, it isn't really smart to invest your money into a new custom PC/Mac, but with Apple Inc making huge steps in the game, people can finally get the "dream" machines for the right price.
    1. mardinn's Avatar
      mardinn -
      I seriously hope Apple will fail. They think they can control everything. One day, and that day will come soon I will see Apple crumble for trying to control everything. Pathetic Steve Jobs..
    1. IMIX's Avatar
      IMIX -
      Quote Originally Posted by mardinn View Post
      I seriously hope Apple will fail. They think they can control everything. One day, and that day will come soon I will see Apple crumble for trying to control everything. Pathetic Steve Jobs..
      LOL, wut?
    1. sharpjunkie76's Avatar
      sharpjunkie76 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mardinn View Post
      I seriously hope Apple will fail. They think they can control everything. One day, and that day will come soon I will see Apple crumble for trying to control everything. Pathetic Steve Jobs..
      What a useless comment. SSD are the future. The failure rate on SSD are very, very low. They are just too expensive at the moment to make any large size like that of a terabyte. Once they become more mainstream they will become less expensive. Having a laptop turn on and off like the iPad is an amazing feature. Not like the old days where you had to restart a laptop everytime you closed the lid.
    1. Nemolink's Avatar
      Nemolink -
      Mr. Gates? Is that you...? lol
    1. stlcaddie's Avatar
      stlcaddie -
      Quote Originally Posted by mardinn View Post
      I seriously hope Apple will fail. They think they can control everything. One day, and that day will come soon I will see Apple crumble for trying to control everything. Pathetic Steve Jobs..
      LOL x 2------- WHAT? are you on the right website.
    1. Poseidon79's Avatar
      Poseidon79 -
      I hate when they announce in the keynote speech that products are "available today" when what they really mean is "ships today". Both my local Apple stores do not have the new Airs in stock yet. I wanna go check out the "instant on" and see if I wanna throw down on one.

      On another note @mardinn - Apple isn't "controlling" anything as no one is controlling you into buying anything from them. Your statement is ridiculous. Even if the Air fails (which the last model didn't) it's still their niche market product and therefore their least selling.... and that's ok by their projections.
    1. Rob2G's Avatar
      Rob2G -
      Quote Originally Posted by mardinn View Post
      I seriously hope Apple will fail. They think they can control everything. One day, and that day will come soon I will see Apple crumble for trying to control everything. Pathetic Steve Jobs..
      Isn't this an apple themed site? Does your idevice have the apple logo on it's back?
    1. mikerlx's Avatar
      mikerlx -
      I would like to put maybe a 20-30 GB SSD drive in my MacBook cuz I saw a demo of speed and how quick it gets. 30GB is about $80 bucks compared to 500 GB HD at roughly $60 so you can see price differences. Unless Apple can bring the price down.
    1. Saved0ne's Avatar
      Saved0ne -
      I'm kinda thinkin that HDDs will eventually phase out due to the size of them... Physically I mean.
    1. whodatfan's Avatar
      whodatfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by sk8ertim View Post
      About time someone steps ahead and calls off ALL HDDs!!!

      This is also one of the reasons that I still have not made a new multimedia/gaming rig.
      In the near future (1-3 years) we should see 120+ gb SSDs.
      At this point of time, it isn't really smart to invest your money into a new custom PC/Mac, but with Apple Inc making huge steps in the game, people can finally get the "dream" machines for the right price.
      Why? Do like I did. Get a SSD for the OS and a large HDD for the storage/user folders. Works like a charm. Once the SSDs come down, you can replace accordingly. No need to hold off building a rig.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by sk8ertim View Post
      In the near future (1-3 years) we should see 120+ gb SSDs.
      Ummm... we have those now...
    1. Doran's Avatar
      Doran -
      I'm not liking the fact that they took the memory out of it's HDD housing..... How am I suppose to upgrade my storage if the chips are on the board?? I understand you can get an external HDD but that's not the answer for me.....
    1. nerdyperdy's Avatar
      nerdyperdy -
      SSDs are the future and if your to dumb to see that you need to donate your computer to me. Lol..Im still tryig to save up for the 1tb PCIe ssd on Newegg..damn I want it.lol

      Now that they have the smaller MBA for what...1k...I'm thinking of getting it now. I've always like the Air, and with the cheapness of 32 and 64 gig USB drives, who needs a cd/DVD drive nowadays. I will be gettin one...not an early model, but will be getting one.
    1. Christian Bale's Avatar
      Christian Bale -
      Wake me up when they make laptops with 1TB of storage for less than 1000 bucks.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      What I would like to see apple do is put a 32GB flash chip on the logic board. That is where the OS (along with the most used files and such) gets stored and loaded, while you still have a 500GB HD for mass storage. I can see this coming next refresh for MB's an MBP's. And if it does, I'm selling mine and buying a new one.

      Quote Originally Posted by Christian Bale View Post
      Wake me up when they make laptops with 1TB of storage for less than 1000 bucks.
      wake up.
    1. piston597's Avatar
      piston597 -
      What are the pro's and cons of ssd vs hdd?