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  • tipoo - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Seems like Apple is the one that could do it first, especially with this new acquisition. Making their own controller would no doubt reduce their cost per unit, hopefully combined with process shrinks making SSD's cheap enough per gigabyte to replace the hard drives in the MBP's.

    Combine this with those rumors of retina-ish displays in the next gen Macbook Pro's, and a more Air-like profile without the optical drive, and I'd probably be a convert!
  • sigmatau - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Apple should be able to easily offer all their computers with SSDs. Shoot, they wont even have to raise prices even if they plop a nice 256MB or higher top of the line drive and still make a higher profit on their computers than their competitors.

    You know that wont happen. Expect Apple computer's prices to rise if they do add SSDs to the base models.
  • munsie - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    "You know that wont happen. Expect Apple computer's prices to rise if they do add SSDs to the base models."

    Like they did when Apple went to SSD only for the MacBook Airs?
  • sigmatau - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    LOL! Perfect example. They kept the same chips but upgraded your hard drive. Good for you!!!!!!11

    So instead of getting a new platform for your new Air, you got an old CPU and chipset to counterbalance the price of the SSD. What was your point? That Apple will keep the prices the same if you are willing to go with a 1-2 year old computer? Really?
  • H.A.L. 9000 - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    Your comment is invalid. The current Macbook Air is a Sandy Bridge platform. The earlier MBA's didn't use the current Intel platform for the sole reason that Intel's HD Graphics with Arrandale didn't meet Apple's expectations with regards to performance. Sandy Bridge obviously did. It had nothing to do with SSD's. They later integrated them into the design, because they wanted something smaller than a 1.8" mSATA SSD because those didn't fit into their design goals for the newer Air models.

    Nice try though, and next time try harder with your sarcasm... I almost didn't catch it. /s
  • sigmatau - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    LOL wtf are you talking about? You can claim whatever reason you want, but they did recycle an almost 2 year old CPU for your precious mac air crap.

    They used a 1.86 GHz (SL9400) or 2.13 GHz (SL9600) Intel Core 2 Duo with 6 MB on-chip L2 cache in mid 2009 and recycled the same exact processor for the next generation Air that came with a SSD instead of a mechanical drive in LATE 2010.

    Try again loser and liar.
  • sassafras - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Why with the vitriol? Nothing H.A.L. 9000 said was false, and I think it's a little misguided to call him a liar.

    There have been three major product versions of the MacBook Air. The first, used the C2D chips you are talking about, while the second did as well, but substituting in an SSD for r/w performance gains. The third version, however, uses Sandy Bridge ULV chips with the SSD again.

    In each generation, there is an increasing specification without a concomitant price increase. Yes, the second generation MacBook Air featured the same C2D processors as it's predecessor, but the addition of the SSD increased the quality of the product without any added cost. You can argue that it's a raw deal all you want, but calling someone a liar for a clearly truthful statement is just sad.
  • Spazweasel - Sunday, January 01, 2012 - link

    Yup. Just another demonstration that haters have a very serious problem with telling the truth. That's part of why I screen for platform-hate when I interview people and reject candidates who are haters... of ANY platform. Haters are dishonest to the core, argumentative, disruptive, know a lot less than they think they do (incompetent) and in a company whose products are multiplatform, more likely to scrimp on efforts to support IOS/OSX (or even actively sabotage those efforts). They're also MUCH more inclined to run off their mouths and make the company look bad; haters, like small children, don't know when to shut up.

    Thing is, I've found and disqualified several Apple-haters (who are a mix of Windows and Linux-worshippers) and Windows-haters (who are always Linux-worshippers), but I've yet to find an Apple "fanboi" in the real world. I think they exist only in the minds of Apple-haters as a straw-man to justify their attitudes.
  • CeriseCogburn - Monday, June 04, 2012 - link

    Here's some APPL hating for you...
    article: " For all we know, Apple already uses this technology in its SoCs and is simply acquiring Anobit to make it more difficult for competing SoC makers to do the same. "

    I see, so APPL is so evil it not only wants the best tech in it's crap, but it will spend half a billion JUST TO BLOCK OTHERS FROM HAVING THE SAME THING IN THEIRS.

    Now there it is, right in our face "holding back computing" - it's not nVidia with PhysX, it's APPL who buys up a company just to horde the tech to only itself...

    Good job APPL, you really are "for the people".
  • tipoo - Sunday, January 01, 2012 - link

    Buddy, calm down. They had a choice between using the Nehalem chips with crappy integrated graphics or the Core 2 chips with less crappy Geforce 9400M graphics, since Nvidia was not allowed to make chipsets for Intel processors at that time. They chose better graphics and slightly behind processors. Its no big evil conspiracy. And there's no reason to go around insulting people on this site just for something so little, you came off as incredibly childish. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    What Munsie said. They like to keep their prices the same across generations, and they did not increase the prices for the SSD-only Airs. If they made SSD's baseline in the Pro's there's a good chance the prices would still stay the same. Reply
  • sigmatau - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    They kept the same price of the Air by skimpping on everything else. Old CPU and platform was the trade off for the SSD. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Old doesn't necessarily mean cheaper.

    SL9400 = $284
    i5-520M = $225

    Plus the extra cost of NVidia chipset. I would claim that C2D+NVidia combo ended up being more expensive than Arrandale would have been.
  • sigmatau - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Apple doesn't pay anywhere near retail. Old CPU prices using a search engine brings up crazy results. I found the same CPU and a motherboard with it for $100

    The i5-520 came out before the Mac Book air with a standard SSD. I picked one up in October for $600. The i5 had already saturated the market by the time I bought my laptop. So, not only did Intel have the i5 production more than fully ramped, the old CPUs were being phased out or were already phased out. If a computer component repackager like Apple, wanted to buy some SL9400s at this time, BEFORE they released the new Air, they would have gotten a huge discount as these chips were pretty much garbage compared to the i5.

    I can guarantee you that Apple paid much less for them than what you can find on Google. I mean, really, we are talking about Apple who makes 40% profit on much of their hardware.
  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Intel's 1k lot prices are all we have. Sure, OEMs pay different prices but the prices are pure speculation. Apple wouldn't pay the retail price for the i5s either so that argument is moot.

    Making old CPUs isn't cheap for Intel. They use bigger process node which means less dies per wafer (SL9400 = 107mm^2 ; i5-520M = 81mm^2). Hence it's more expensive to produce them.

    In the end, I doubt the price was the main reason for Apple. The difference wouldn't be all that big. What mattered was the poor performance of Arrandale graphics. Apple wanted to offer better graphics and went with NVidia+C2D. They did this with 13" MBP too, even though it might be able to accommodate a discrete GPU as well (MBA definitely has no space for dGPU).
  • tipoo - Sunday, January 01, 2012 - link

    They had a choice between using the Nehalem chips with crappy integrated graphics or the Core 2 chips with less crappy Geforce 9400M graphics, since Nvidia was not allowed to make chipsets for Intel processors at that time. They chose better graphics and slightly behind processors. Its no big evil conspiracy. Reply
  • jjj - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    They do need these buys if more and more features are going on die and for the kind of cash they have 500 mil is nothing.
    As long as they have enough share to cover the costs of developing the SoC they'll keep doing it. After all there are plenty of advantages; cost,from a certain volume and up,time to market, differentiation and so on. Volume wise this quarter they could ship around 50 mil units+/- 3 mil (iphone,ipad,ipod touch) and assuming they can keep share ,grow with the market and bring in some more products (macs,TV,wearable devices, and so on) the volume is far greater than the minimum needed.Not that i expect Apple to be able to mantain share, without a fundamental strategy change, but they got to be optimistic.
  • Penti - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    So they bought a 500 million SSD-controller tech startup without much of any real world products for 500 million. Obviously to provide them with some in-house SoC-IP. Sure they have a full sized SSD-product too, but that is not really about 3-bit-per-cell then. Reply
  • gamoniac - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    If Anobit's technology turns out to be very useful, now that Apple acquired them for themselves, how do you think this impact the consumer market in general, in terms of both cost and innovation perspectives?

    Nice journalism, as always.
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I would think it wouldn't be a huge impediment. If Anobit doesn't currently have a steady client base and revenue generation, then they may well have gone out of business without an Apple buyout so most consumers wouldn't have seen the benefits anyways. If they are currently successful, then presumably Anobit's existing contracts with third-parties can't be immediately and unilaterally canceled by Apple, which gives time for competitors to find alternatives. Anand mentions that Anobit's innovations become more important as flash capacity increases, so its more future oriented, again giving competitors time to find alternatives. Either way, it doesn't seem to have a noticeable impact on the average consumer. Reply
  • melgross - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Of course, it's also possible that the technology is really better. If so, and I can't imagine that Apple didn't do it's due diligence here as they are a conservative company, then if others need to go somewhere else, they may not have anywhere else to go that offers the same advantages.

    And if Apple can shave points off their expenses, that gives them a marketing and sales advantage, as they may be able to offer devices with the same amount of flash for less, or more for the same.
  • nsiboro - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Thanks Anand.

    This type of article got you guys loads of brownie points and my continual support for another 10+ years.
  • ckryan - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    Anobit already has an embedded flash controller, the MSP2025 and an Enterprise GENESIS SSD.

    I'd seen new reports stating that Apple was already using Anobit IP/products in the iPhone, iPad, and MBA -- the last is the most doubtful as the MBA uses Toshiba or Samsung SSDs. The MSP2025 is listed as supporting all 2xnm NAND types (MLC and TLC, SLC). It is also listed as having a maximum transfer rate of 666MB/s.
  • ckryan - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    If the technology works as advertised, it would be a huge deal. I speculate that the Anobit acquisition was more to keep the Android coalition away from the technology and intellectual property, but you could theoretically have a much cheaper TLC SSD with MLC like endurance. That would open the door for cheap solid-state bulk storage too, not to mention decent MLC acting more like SLC in terms of endurance. I doubt the Anobit technologies can overcome the fact that it still take longer to program non-SLC NAND types, but at least you can get the endurance.

    There is another "super ECC" with an expiring patent in 2015, but it's unclear whether that would be a worthy substitute or not, and I don't know much about it.
  • jabberwolf - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    Edurance doesnt matter for regular computers and laptops.
    Other SSDs are faster and the P/E cycles of regular consumer use would not exceed that of an average competitor.

    Apple wants the proprietary controller patents, for the simply reason of being able to use it as "proprietary".

    And I'm kinda pissed because the endurance WOULD matter for those of us in the corporate server industry that want fast SSD with IOPS.,, that DO have many many more write/erase cycles than your average user over 5 years.
  • foxyshadis - Thursday, December 29, 2011 - link

    Why would anyone want TLC if they wanted IOPS? It's still faster than disk at random access, sure, but it's slower than MLC, which is already much slower than the SLC that nearly all enterprise systems are made with. Only SLC can even keep up with disk for sequential access. The whole point of this technology is just to make them as reliable as SLC, not to make them faster (if anything, they'll be slightly slower with advanced ECC). Reply
  • iwod - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - link

    I think it depends on How much is apple already paying Anobit for using the MSP, ( For Memory Signal Processing ), If they are paying up to a 10 Million per year for using it then buying it makes much sense. Reply
  • jabberwolf - Thursday, December 22, 2011 - link

    The technology for Anobit has little or nothing to do with consumer based things like the MBA or any regular computer. In fact Anobit SSDs are slower in comparison to others out there with much higher IOPS abilities.

    The only think hat Anobit has is a technology which is awesome for LONG LIFE - but you would never see the difference for regular computers, only in heave erase and write cycles with servers.

    The only benefit from this that Apple could gain would be:
    1- that it now has owns a SEPARAPE controller interface... one that is not the standard.

    I this way, they can ensure that their precious OSX cannot be virtualizes as this seems to be a trend in the future. Apple wants to be able to run virtualized VMs of Windows and Linux but they wont dare allow their own OS to be virtualized. The only way they can maintain this legally, and physically, is to tie their OS to hardware requirements. Hardware requirements ONLY owned by Apple.

    This is kinda sad as Apple is building a wall around their fenced garden .. and in doing so, using a really good technology that would be greatly benefcial to the server side industry.
  • CeriseCogburn - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - link

    Well, that looks like it makes APPL extremely selfish, and holding back technology as a whole for the masses. Anti-competitive, selfish, plotting, and caring only about itself and it's own dastardly self centered plans.

    Don't worry, though, it's kingpin on the stock market now, the dollars and cents talking heads worship it, and follow it like a boy licking a candy cane, so "bad press" is an absolutely forbidden thing.

    No one will mention their dirty little selfish plot that holds back the entire world.
  • Electrofreak - Friday, December 23, 2011 - link

    Last I checked ( in January of this year, I had 7 bad blocks on the NAND of my Epic 4G. Now, just a couple weeks under a year later, I still have only 7 bad blocks.

    $ su
    # export PATH=/data/local/bin:$PATH
    # cat /proc/L*/bmlinfo
    FSR VERSION: FSR_1.2.1p1_b139_RTM
    minor position size units id
    1: 0x00000000-0x00040000 0x00040000 1 0
    2: 0x00040000-0x00080000 0x00040000 1 1
    3: 0x00080000-0x00a80000 0x00a00000 40 20
    4: 0x00a80000-0x00bc0000 0x00140000 5 3
    5: 0x00bc0000-0x00d00000 0x00140000 5 4
    6: 0x00d00000-0x01200000 0x00500000 20 21
    7: 0x01200000-0x01980000 0x00780000 30 6
    8: 0x01980000-0x02100000 0x00780000 30 7
    9: 0x02100000-0x12d80000 0x10c80000 1074 22
    10: 0x12d80000-0x32f80000 0x20200000 2056 23
    11: 0x32f80000-0x3de80000 0x0af00000 700 24
    12: 0x3de80000-0x3eb00000 0x00c80000 50 11

    (0)(0) bad mapping information
    No BadUnit RsvUnit
    0: 198 4090
    1: 1217 4089
    2: 1683 4088
    3: 2988 4087
    4: 3193 4086
    5: 3505 4085
    6: 3530 4084
    7: 3876 4083

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