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Intel Developing New SSD Specification for Ultrabooks

By - Source: DigiTimes | B 18 comments

Intel is pushing for a new mSATA SSD standard for Ultrabooks called NGFF.

Unnamed sources claim that Intel is currently working with PC vendors and NAND flash firms to unify specifications for mSATA SSDs for Ultrabooks. The new SSD specification is expected to be finalized sometime in September and then fully adopted into Ultrabooks by 2013. So far it's unclear whether this new spec will also be adopted by traditional notebooks.

According to the sources, Intel is looking to unify mSATA SSD specifications into one single standard called Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF). Most PC brand vendors and NAND flash makers such as Micron, SanDisk and Samsung Electronics are reportedly participating in the discussion.

However Intel is being aggressive about pushing NGFF because it claims the current mSATA SSD specs limit the number of NAND flash that can be used (4 to 5 chips max). Intel's argument is that if Ultrabook manufacturers want to offer more than 512 GB of storage capacity, the new NGFF standard will eradicate the current limitation by allowing SSDs to feature NAND chips on both sides of the PCB. These two-sided NGFF-based SSDs will still keep their same thickness and width, but they'll also sport a new length.

PC vendors are reportedly discussing five lengths that will best suit Ultrabooks including 20-mm, 42-mm, 60-mm, 80-mm and 120-mm. The 42-mm, 60-mm and 80-mm versions are expected to have a higher chance of become the final standard, sources said.

 

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  • 20 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 3, 2012 9:27 PM
    I don't care who pushes the standard as long as everyone actually adopts it and no-one owns it, the 3.5" and 2.5" drives have been so successful for that reason.
  • 10 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , August 3, 2012 9:32 PM
    jacobdrjI wish it wasn't Intel pushing the standard improvement

    umm, why?
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    jacobdrj , August 3, 2012 9:08 PM
    I wish it wasn't Intel pushing the standard improvement, but at least someone is pushing for a standard improvement who has clout.
  • 20 Hide
    back_by_demand , August 3, 2012 9:27 PM
    I don't care who pushes the standard as long as everyone actually adopts it and no-one owns it, the 3.5" and 2.5" drives have been so successful for that reason.
  • 10 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , August 3, 2012 9:32 PM
    jacobdrjI wish it wasn't Intel pushing the standard improvement

    umm, why?
  • -9 Hide
    jacobdrj , August 3, 2012 9:39 PM
    dragonsqrrlumm, why?

    Because I fear it won't be adopted by everyone. Namely AMD. Perhaps Apple as well.
  • 8 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 3, 2012 9:44 PM
    jacobdrjBecause I fear it won't be adopted by everyone. Namely AMD. Perhaps Apple as well.

    Because everyone knows AMD doesn't use x86, sse, or mmx.

    Apple wouldn't use anything from Intel, not their processors, or the thunderbolt ports, or motherboards, or anything at all...... They only use Apple products, that's why the macbook air has an A5 APU, and the mac pro runs a risc PowerPC chip...
  • 3 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , August 3, 2012 9:46 PM
    Makes sense to me. Helps if everyone is using the same standard. I remember proprietary systems being a royal pain in the neck.
  • 1 Hide
    jacobdrj , August 3, 2012 9:49 PM
    dalethepcmanBecause everyone knows AMD doesn't use x86, sse, or mmx.Apple wouldn't use anything from Intel, not their processors, or the thunderbolt ports, or motherboards, or anything at all...... They only use Apple products, that's why the macbook air has an A5 APU, and the mac pro runs a risc PowerPC chip...

    Ultrabooks are in direct competition with Apple's Air line. Even if they are using the same components, it puts stress on the relationship. By actually favoring Apple with Thunderbolt, it may have hindered the adoption of Thunderbolt to other manufacturers, as it may have increased licensing costs (much like Firewire was a slow adoption after Intel pushed USB without Apple).

    I said in my OP that I appreciate someone with clout doing this. But Intel, unless they do this wisely, might make as simple an issue as this standard, become divisive.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 3, 2012 10:04 PM
    Firewire was slow to adoption because when it came out it was inferior to USB. Intel had nothing to do with that =/
  • 2 Hide
    markdj , August 3, 2012 10:22 PM
    jacobdrjUltrabooks are in direct competition with Apple's Air line. Even if they are using the same components, it puts stress on the relationship. By actually favoring Apple with Thunderbolt, it may have hindered the adoption of Thunderbolt to other manufacturers, as it may have increased licensing costs (much like Firewire was a slow adoption after Intel pushed USB without Apple). I said in my OP that I appreciate someone with clout doing this. But Intel, unless they do this wisely, might make as simple an issue as this standard, become divisive.



    Well apple will have to use this if they want to stay competitive with higher capacity ssds and still small form factor.
  • 6 Hide
    alidan , August 4, 2012 12:39 AM
    c123s456Firewire was slow to adoption because when it came out it was inferior to USB. Intel had nothing to do with that =/


    really, i thought firewire was suppose to be faster than usb by allot, even usb 2 while theoretically was faster never matched firewire, and only usb3 really pushed it... the only reason firewire wasn't standard was because of apple holding onto its name, and forcing everyone else to use the letter number name i cant remember, which for normal users, means nothing, so it couldn't be used as a marketing point.
  • 3 Hide
    phatboe , August 4, 2012 12:45 AM
    jacobdrjBecause I fear it won't be adopted by everyone. Namely AMD. Perhaps Apple as well.

    AMD won't have to support this because AMD is not in the business of manufacturing SSDs. Still I'm 100% positive if Intel opens the spec both AMD will be delighted as it means devices that are equipped with AMD processors will largely benefit from this as well as Intel. As far as Apple is concerned if this new standard decreases cost and or allows them to build smaller devices I'm sure Apple will be on board with this as well.
  • 3 Hide
    CaedenV , August 4, 2012 5:06 AM
    c123s456Firewire was slow to adoption because when it came out it was inferior to USB. Intel had nothing to do with that =/

    Fire wire had slow adoptation because of many reasons
    1) more expensive to manufacture compared to usb 1.1
    2) larger interface and controller chips compared to usb
    3) very few devices demanded or needed the 200Mbps of firewire (actuially it could go up to 400Mbps, but most controllers were gimped at 200Mbps until 1394a was released). The 12Mbps of USB was more than adequate for most devices at the time.
    4) when USB2 came out against firewire2 (1394a, which is still oddly the standard for most FW devices in spite of its age and the vast superiority of 1394b), USB had already won the standards war for periphrials, and it was backwards compatible to a multitude of older devices, so people stuck with what they were familiar with. USB2 was superior for small file transfers, while FW400 was faster for large chunk transfers, so FW became almost entirely dedicated to video camera connectivity, and a select few pro audio devices and HDD enclosures
    5) And this is the most important reason; Fire Wire is called fire wire because it will literally burn out your equipment! The amperage is too high, and the interface is too poorly designed, so it can literally bridge and fry your (expensive) video cameras and HDD interfaces. And if you burn out the controller on your mobo then it will instantly fry every piece of equipment that you plug into it (ask me how I know lol). USB was simply safer to use, so manufacturers used it.
    6) FW800 made too many changes, and has become nearly entirely useless. USB3, eSATA, thunderbolt, and even HDMI make for better transfer mediums, and so FW800 died before it even reached the PC market... doomed forever to be that one odd mystery port on macs that is never used.


    Firewire was (until recently) always superior to USB. It has much faster data rates, much less overhead in it's transfers, and a much better ability to power devices so that less power adapters were needed. But (like betamax) it just goes to show that the 'superior' technology is not always 'better', and certainly not given any sort of right to survive in the market when it fails in other areas (like expense, and design flaws)... Intel should take note of this with DP/Thunderbolt...
  • 2 Hide
    CaedenV , August 4, 2012 5:12 AM
    almost forgot
    7) fat, heavy, and inflexible cables are required for FW, which users (and manufacturers) do not like. USB on the other hand works just fine with even absolute junk wiring.
  • 1 Hide
    tomfreak , August 4, 2012 2:54 PM
    So when can we get battery size specification standard with diff size for diff devices, like ATX that comes with diff size, EATX, mAtx, ITX?

    You know I am not happy to get rip off by Oem for replacing or adding a second my battery.

    Standardize battery size can also introduce 3rd partly manufacturer to offer "better/cheaper" battery.
  • 1 Hide
    chazbeaver , August 4, 2012 8:28 PM
    dalethepcmanApple wouldn't use anything from Intel, not their processors, or the thunderbolt ports, or motherboards, or anything at all...... They only use Apple products, that's why the macbook air has an A5 APU, and the mac pro runs a risc PowerPC chip...

    Um, Thunderbolt is designed by Intel, and most Macs made the switch a while ago to Intel processors. Macbook Airs have an i5 or i7 processor. This is why you can install Windows on a Mac.
  • 0 Hide
    egmccann , August 5, 2012 8:14 AM
    chazbeaverUm, Thunderbolt is designed by Intel, and most Macs made the switch a while ago to Intel processors. Macbook Airs have an i5 or i7 processor. This is why you can install Windows on a Mac.


    Your sarcasm detector is broken.
  • 0 Hide
    Vladislaus , August 5, 2012 8:16 AM
    chazbeaverUm, Thunderbolt is designed by Intel, and most Macs made the switch a while ago to Intel processors. Macbook Airs have an i5 or i7 processor. This is why you can install Windows on a Mac.

    He was being sarcastic.
  • 0 Hide
    photonboy , August 5, 2012 10:07 AM
    Missing the point people...

    The mSATA SSD format is likely only going to be for pre-installed SSD's basically like how you purchase tablets today.

    It's not something the average person has to concern themselves with.

    My new iPad 3 has 64GB of memory and it's made out of jelly bears? Okay, 64GB. I'm good.