Faster NAND Flash (SSD) in Late 2008

With the introduction of the MacBook Air, Apple offered a new mass storage option for the first time -- Solid State Drives (SSD). The Solid State Drive takes the place of the traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) as the place to store your files. Being based on NAND Flash ram, SSD boasts the advantages of being more reliable, using less battery and being faster in certain circumstances.

Intel and Micron announced last week that they have developed a new high-speed NAND flash chip which can reach speeds up to 200 Megabytes/second reads and 100 Megabytes/second writes. Conventional Single-Level-Cell Flash memory is reportedly limited to 40 Megabytes/second reads and 20 Megabytes/second writes.

Mass production of an 8GB Solid State Drive based on the technology is expected by the end of 2008. This "high-speed" drive is expected to carry a significant premium and will first be targeted at the professional market.

Meanwhile, for general consumers, prices on more conventional NAND flash appears to be falling, with prices dropping as much as 75% since August 2007. The dropping price of NAND Flash made the offering of SSD possible in the MacBook Air, though still at premium prices. These price drops should also trickle down to Apple's other Flash-based products, such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. The iPhone has been rumored to be due for a revision sometime this year, with the possibilities of increased storage and the introduction of 3G networking.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Caution)

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