New MacBook Airs to get faster flash

Ben Camm-Jones
5 July, 2011
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The next generation of MacBook Air laptops will use NAND flash chips manufactured on a 19-nanometre process and soldered directly onto the motherboard, according to reports.

Several reports have suggested that supplies of the MacBook Air are being run down in preparation for the launch of a new range at some stage this winter. However, new Macs of any description are on hold until the launch of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, widely expected to be around July 14.

Japanese outlet Macotakara reports that manufacturers in Asia expect Apple to adopt Toggle DDR2.0 technology to replace the Blade X-gale SSD manufactured by Toshiba – and other faster units made by Samsung introduced in April – used in the current generation of MacBook Airs.

The current MacBook Air don’t use traditional 2.5in or 1.8in SSDs but use a connection form factor and technology known as mSATA. Toggle DDR2.0 is a 19-nanometre process for NAND flash memory that offers a 400MBps (megabyte per second) data transfer speed. The NAND flash chips in the new MacBook Airs will be soldered directly onto the motherboard, according to the report.

However, there are some doubts about the report. 9to5Mac points out that the Toggle DDR2.0 technology has been ratified by the Open NAND Flash Interface Working Group under the ONFI 3.0 specification. But Samsung and Toshiba, Apple’s biggest suppliers of NAND flash, have not joined the ONFI 3.0 initiative.

However, it could signal that Apple is planning to use other flash memory suppliers, with likely candidates including Micron, Sandisk, Intel, Spansion or SandForce.

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