Disk drives are cheap and come with massive storage, but they’re also huge, heavy, hot, and have too many moving parts. Solid state drives (SSDs), the kind you find in most Macs and all iPhones and iPads (and other devices), are small, light, fast, and damned expensive. It’s time to change that.
Intel Intel Inside
Imagine a smaller, thinner, lighter Mac notebook with a terabyte of storage. Or, a Mac desktop with 5 or 10 terabytes of storage. Or, an iPhone or iPad with a terabyte of storage.
Chip giants Intel and Micron want their new 3D NAND flash memory to show up in future devices, and that means future iPhones and iPads and Macs.
3D? It’s not so much 3D NAND flash technology as it is miniature skyscraper chips.
Powerful chips so thin they can come in 32 layers which means a standard 2.5-inch SATA drive storage space in a Mac could hold up to 10 terabytes of data. Smaller notebooks could easily house 3.5 terabytes of data.
Stacking thin chips together, skyscraper fashion, is like what happens to a package of chewing gum. Each piece of gum is thin, but tightly stacked together, the package holds more chews than an individual stick.
What does this 3D storage mean for the Mac?
More storage in a smaller space, and, perhaps– it’s just a thought– lower prices on flash storage on a per gigabyte basis. Hard disk drives have hung around as long as they have partly because NAND flash storage is so expensive– per gigabyte.
The future is solid state. Thinner, lighter, faster, lower power. When does the future arrive? Intel and Micron are shipping samples to manufacturers now, and the initial expectation is that some devices may benefit from their 3D NAND technology by the end of the year.
No word on pricing, though. There’s always a need to balance manufacturing with demand, and that takes time.