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BitMicro Takes Wraps Off 832 GB Flash Drive 241

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the will-only-cost-an-arm-a-leg-and-your-firstborn dept.
Lucas123 writes "BitMicro has unveiled an 832GB NAND flash drive that will begin shipping later this year. The E-Disk Altima drive is expected to have sustained read rates of up to 100MB/sec and up to 20,000 I/O operations per second. The device features a SATA 3.0 G/bps interface. No pricing as of yet."
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BitMicro Takes Wraps Off 832 GB Flash Drive

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  • Mortgage? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mudetroit (855132) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:30PM (#21945290) Journal
    Unless they came up with some radically cheaper method of producting them this will basically probably require a mortgage to go out and buy.
  • cost estimate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <<info> <at> <devinmoore.com>> on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:33PM (#21945324) Homepage Journal
    The cheapest I ever heard of a 2 GB flash drive was about $15, so this is over 400 of those put together or $6000. Even if they had some volume discount, I think anything under $1000 for an 800+GB flash drive is unthinkable... right?
    • by PrescriptionWarning (932687) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:39PM (#21945400)
      the same could be said of a 800 GB hard drive years ago. i'll explain in mathematical terms: as time, thats our X axis, increases, the Y value decreases. If you guessed Y to be the cost, give yourself a chimichanga. If you guessed Y to be anything else including, but not limited to, goat milk, give yourself a wedgie.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 07, 2008 @03:08PM (#21945818)
        zOMG that means cars should be like $5.99 now since they were hella expensive back in the day, right?

        lrn2economics
        • by PrescriptionWarning (932687) on Monday January 07, 2008 @03:22PM (#21946028)
          the curve of time to car value is far different from the curve of technology value over time. For example, a car is considered an antique after a certain period of time, in which its value goes up (if properly maintained and restored)!

          try selling a nintendo or an old watch calculator made in the 80s in 10 years, I doubt you'll get more than a 5-10 bucks. The point is, the car analogy has yet again made someone look like an idiot :P
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Andrew Kismet (955764)
            Which Nintendo? Because a Nintendo Virtual Boy will definitely go UP in value over the next 10 years.
            The NES/Famicom probably won't go up much, but as supply drops due to (1) no longer being manufactured (2) damage and disrepair over time, the price of a pristine NES will definitely go up.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by berashith (222128)
            The term "car" is being applied generically here, which is unfair. If the term computer were being used equally generically then we would have a comparison to make. The cost of cars has stayed high, but the value of the pieces are always getting better and better. If cars were limited to the same models, features, power and efficiency that they had in the late 50s, but continued to be produced in massive amounts, then the cost would be absurdly low.
          • by plague3106 (71849)
            True, but I'm sure you could build an exact Model T car VERY cheaply today. But you won't have leather seats, A/C, power doors, windows, or locks, airbags, seatbelts, any electronics, etc.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by seanadams.com (463190) *
        I am confused. Surely the global population of pirates factors into the equation somehow?
      • by beh (4759) *
        There are two points here -

        a) the X axis is time - yes, storage becomes cheaper; but how long will it be before it becomes *truly* affordable. Given the drive size, I would expect them to go more after the business market, rather than end-users - as such, the price decrease will not be too quick.

        b) Some items may well fade out and be replaced with something 'better' instead of falling below certain thresholds (luxury items usually fall into this category) - though, I don't quite see this as
    • Re:cost estimate (Score:4, Informative)

      by TeknoDragon (17295) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:42PM (#21945446) Journal
      more likely they will be using anything from 4gb - 64gb chips (Samsung announced 25/10/07)

      If they are shooting for video editing only that price would be right, but the enthusiast & business market will IMO want something under $2000. TFA suggests business application.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      32 GB NAND Flash SSDs are going $250. This would be about $6500, which is inline with your numbers. I will personally be shocked if it comes in below $5000. SSDs are high price and currently a niche market at best. Honestly, they need to fill the gap with more varied size drives. 32 GB are really the most reasonably priced.
      • by Znork (31774)
        currently a niche market at best.

        Yep, I'm just having trouble imagining exactly what that niche market is; for that price you can obtain vastly superior performance simply by dumping the money into RAM and disk spindles instead.

        You'd have to have some very artificial constraints and a very odd load to actually find a situation where the money would be well spent (as in large mis-programmed database running on a 32bit-only machine that cant have more than 1 sata controller).
        • Try carrying a 8-drive raid array with you when you're travelling.
        • Re:cost estimate (Score:5, Informative)

          by phoenix321 (734987) * on Monday January 07, 2008 @04:35PM (#21946916)
          "There is a lot more computing in this world than what can be found in data centers and offices, young Padawan."

          Really, there is. Computers that fly, sail, drive or are employed in low power, low heat, low noise, high vibration, high dust, high heat, low heat environments. Be creative: That starts with laptops in the space shuttle and surely doesn't end with onboard systems of surveillance planes. All Gigabyte-intensive operations where you do not have an unlimited power socket in the wall and/or have other considerations about weight and shock tolerances.

          And all of these applications have powers with large checkbooks behind them, who will write off 5000USD as merely half a percent price increase for much better reliability and power consumption.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rogerdewhite (1214578)
      2GB spot prices for MLC are ~$5.50...so we're talking $2,300 for the raw MLC NAND alone. Considering this thing is probably built with SLC NAND and you're looking at $5,000+ for the NAND...add in controllers, boards, packaging & profit and suddenly $6,000 looks like a screaming deal.
      • by tdelaney (458893)
        I read that this one actually uses MLC. Don't know how that fits with the 100MB/s, but then I'm in software, not hardware.
        • by Intron (870560)
          To get the size they run many chips in parallel from a custom controller, so that gives them good performance. MLC is the cheapest and highest density, but also has shorter life than SLC. Although life won't be a problem with a hgue capacity and decent load leveling.
    • Maybe the miltary or JPL would adopt these first, willing to pay $10-20K for a terabyte solid-state non-violatile memory. Its still cheaper to have a company do these for you than to have them custom built.
    • Re:cost estimate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ACMENEWSLLC (940904) on Monday January 07, 2008 @04:00PM (#21946504) Homepage
      I don't know if BitMicro is among these, but there are manufactures that have figured out how to mass produce very large USB drives at a fraction of todays costs. There have been articles in Google news, and patents are pending on various methods.

      I think we discussed this on /. not long ago?
    • by IdleTime (561841)
      For a price of $1000 I'll buy one! heck yeah, it can reduce the time it takes for me to run some really I/O intensive testcases drastically and the price is worth it. Not to mention that having the disk encrypted is now not a drawback performance wise, so yeah, I'll buy one or more!
  • Now Apple has the technology to support flash based player of HD content in a year or two, once the price of this drops. 832 Gigs should be enough for at least 50 HD movies.
    • by bagboy (630125)
      Why would you want to watch a HD Movie on that tiny-ass screen? Good waste of bits if you ask me.....
      • The Creative Zen players have infrared remotes!
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I have a Nano and I watch movies and TV shows on it all the time. Mind you, they are encoded at 320x240 so as not to eat up too much space, but If I had 800 GB of space I probably wouldn't take the time to convert the file especially for my iPod.
        • If I had 800 GB of space I probably wouldn't take the time to convert the file especially for my iPod.
          And your nano, when asked to decode it, will promptly suicide.
    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Firehed (942385) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:52PM (#21945612) Homepage
      Why would you waste that much space as part of a disk with effectively zero seek time on HD movies? They don't need that kind of performance - even a 4200RPM standard hard drive would have more than enough throughput (and with tech like accelerometer-based head parking, durability shouldn't be too much of an issue). Use it as an OS disk. Better yet, use it for databases - the seek times would be fantastic for the application, and unless you're constantly updating rows (rather than just inserting new ones), the write cycle limit on flash-based storage is unlikely to become an issue.

      It's not as if you need a portable video library anyways. Stick a few on your device and go. Your battery life is by far going to be the limiting factor. Apple would be much better off trying to create a mobile video streaming device than to waste so much flash memory on a portable device.

      Sure, in five years then I'll probably have a terabyte of flash memory in my car key that only costs eight bucks. And at that point, this kind of thing would make sense. Right now, that's a TON of flash storage that would carry a huge price that would make it beyond impractical for portables. If you want a mobile HD player, create something with a 720p screen and one of those brand new 500GB laptop drives and stick half a gig of RAM in as a massive buffer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DigitAl56K (805623)
      What has this got to do with Apple?
  • hmm. (Score:4, Funny)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:36PM (#21945364)
    no idea of pricing yet, but several major limbs and a contract signed in your own bodily fluid was hinted at.

    832GB SSD?! holy cow thats going to be dear.

    Now tell me why anybody should want this outside of the media/video industry...
    • Re:hmm. (Score:5, Funny)

      by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:39PM (#21945402) Journal
      Now tell me why anybody should want this outside of the media/video industry...

      We've found Bill Gates' Slashdot user account.
      • :)

        I'd take one for my gaming laptop. I could live with something as small as 200 gigs, but if they're going to give me 4x that much I'll take it!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MBCook (132727)

        I would have thought he would have had a much lower UID.

        Or did you lose your password a few times Bill?

    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      Hassle free household media server?

      The various media in my house, shared among four PC's comes to well over 600Gb. It would be more, but I don't have the room to rip all my DvDs yet, and it grows, thanks to my various subscriptions, by several Gb a month. Having all that on one fast access solid state device would be serious bonus.

      • by BLKMGK (34057)
        You don't actually need really fast disks on the backend to serve up streaming video etc. to front-ends. Remember it's compressed until it gets decoded by the front-end, that helps. For instance I have an HDHomerun that can stream two HD streams from OTA or QAM tuners - it has a 100meg NIC on it and uses less than 10megs with both streams going. They have an 8 tuner unit - it has a Gig NIC on it and really, are you can't stream faster than the NIC anyway right? 5400RPM IDE drives can handle your HD video st
    • Re:hmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by easyTree (1042254) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:43PM (#21945456)

      Now tell me why anybody should want this outside of the media/video industry...
      To lower power consumption/size/weight of laptops?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wordsmith (183749)
      For all the same reasons someone would want a big hard drive (I've got a TB in a mainstream machine that cost me just over $1,000, and I'm sure I'll someday use it up with various media I've purchased, downloaded or recorded off TV). And they might prefer this due to the longer life, better access speed and lack of noisy moving parts.

      -Lou
    • by Amouth (879122)
      i would love to have a raid 5 setup with this on the db server here at work.. with that kind of sustained data rate .. hummmm
      • Exactly. But I'm thinking more of a raid 10 fibre channel san. Maybe in a couple years when the price/performance hits the right mark.
    • by wattrlz (1162603)
      Because he can?
    • Re:hmm. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sc7007 (26649) * on Monday January 07, 2008 @03:08PM (#21945814) Journal

      Now tell me why anybody should want this outside of the media/video industry...
      I work in the seismic data processing industry (oil and gas exploration). We regularly (almost every project) deliver datasets to clients that are on the orders of 1-5 TB. Many of our milestone QC datasets for clients are 500-750 GB. Putting these on a flash drive or portable hard drive is much faster than a bunch of 3592E tapes, plus easier and quicker for the client to access. Flash drives certainly have the advantage over USB hard disks of being faster to write to (usually). If these were cheap enough, and they will be at some point, I could see these being commonly used. On the other hand, maybe just a solid state portable disk drive, which these are just a variant of, will be cheaper (time and money).
    • by Fweeky (41046)
      25*76G 2.5" 15kRPM drives + shelf: ~£6500, ~900G RAID-10, ~4000 IOPS, 2U + server, 200W.

      2*832G 2.5" SSD: £????, 800G RAID-1, ~40,000 IOPS, fits in 1U server, 10W.

      They could be £5k each and still be rather attractive, though the crappy write performance on SSD's reduces their appeal rather a lot.
  • Yawn (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rie Beam (632299) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:41PM (#21945432) Journal
    They've already announced a 1.6TB flash drive for launch around mid-2008 [bitmicro.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lazyforker (957705)
      The drive you linked to is 3.5" and 1.6TB; whereas the drive in TFA is 2.5" and 832GB. I assume they're aiming for a different market with this product. In fact the 2.5" might be ideal as a storage device for an HD video camera. Small, light, low power consumption, less susceptible to shocks etc. Or if you have a high performance laptop with which you perform video editing and want to avoid carrying bags of external FW drives, cables, PSUs, spare batteries etc etc this would be pretty cool to have *in*
  • 832? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teslar (706653) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:44PM (#21945470)
    Well, that's an odd number, what's the motivation behind it? I can see that 832 = 512 + 256 + 64 = 2^9 + 2^8 + 2^6, but I still fail to see the logic there.
    • Re:832? (Score:5, Funny)

      by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:46PM (#21945520) Journal
      Well, that's an odd number

      No. It is even.
    • generational storage pools to assist with write-leveling perhaps?
    • Re:832? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rickz0rz (831049) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:47PM (#21945530) Journal
      832 = 64 * 13 Perhaps they are using 13 64mB modules.
      • Re:832? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mr_mischief (456295) on Monday January 07, 2008 @03:06PM (#21945800) Journal
        The thing is, 13's not exactly a power of two. To access 13 modules, you'd need the same 4 control lines as 16 modules. Perhaps it's actually 16 * 64 and three are specifically for redundancy and wear leveling?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by araemo (603185)
          Perhaps they couldn't physically fit more than 13 modules into the same space as a 3.5" HDD?

          Either way, it nicely explains the 1.6TB version (128MB modules instead of 64MB modules..)
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by SeaFox (739806)

          Perhaps it's actually 16 * 64 and three are specifically for redundancy and wear leveling?

          Perhaps they are giving the formatted capacity.

          I know. I don't believe it either.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by GreatBunzinni (642500)
          Wouldn't it make more sense if you thought of 26*32 instead of far-fetched assumptions?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        probably 64 * 16, 13 of which "usable", since this is a professional unit it's expected to have a few chips for redundancy.
      • by OglinTatas (710589)
        They are probably using 16 modules, but 192 GB is reserved for that damned U3 partition.

        Yeah, I'm still waiting for a Linux or OS X U3 removal tool, because I don't do Windows.
      • Raid (Score:2, Insightful)

        by aztektum (170569)
        They simply raided two of their 416GB [bitmicro.com] drives :)
    • It's twice 416 (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Kilraven (1101873)
      Which was their previous high late last year.

      http://www.bitmicro.com/press_news_releases_20070911.php [bitmicro.com]

      The bit I'm slightly skeptical on is the environmental specs. While -40C and +85C are becoming a more common standard, not many SSD manufacturers can reliably hit past -25C and +75C. This may not seem that big of a deal, but in some industries - which would currently be the only ones spending Close to the $10k (judging by current pricing for extended/extreme versions of these drives) for them initially - thi
  • I want one (Score:5, Funny)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday January 07, 2008 @02:44PM (#21945488)
    I think I'm going to need a bigger keychain.
  • Nice, but will it run Pen Drive Linux [pendrivelinux.com]?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rapidweather (567364)
      Seems like we've slashdotted the Pen Drive Linux site.

      Ok, I'm running my linux (see screenshots, below) from a 2 GB SanDisk Micro Cruzer drive at this time,
      on a Gateway 2000 Pentium II. Use these files [rapidweather.com] to kick off the Flash Drive, using loadlin. You have to have a small msdos drive in the computer, or a partition on a larger drive with msdos, put the files there. Documentation is included in the tarball, also, a copy of the Rapidweather Remaster CD is needed also.
  • Servers? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jeremy128 (976915)
    I would expect that a drive like this would be nice for servers (if cost was no consideration) because of the lack of moving parts, and lower heat production. I don't know for sure, but I would bet that these would take a lot less juice than a conventional hard drive. I wouldn't be surprised if they lasted longer, as well (no moving parts no wear down).
    That said, I want a laptop with one of these.
  • 832 gigs should be enough for anyone.
  • No pricing as of yet

    No customers capable of affording it either.

  • Taking too long
  • by cashman73 (855518) on Monday January 07, 2008 @03:30PM (#21946172) Journal
    Does it come with a free copy of Duke Nukem Forever preinstalled?
  • Here's my thought. You're already putting a ton of expensive stuff into this device, so why not divide the space into two or four internal channels and use RAID 0 on them?

    That way you'd get 200 - 400 MB/sec, halfway to or completely saturating your SATA bus. You don't get any real penalties, as you only get write-faults on the flash, and you've already included hardware to handle that. Besides, fitting 4B into 80B or 1B into 20B still gives you the same ratio, so it's not even going to wreck havok on wear l
  • by Skapare (16644) on Monday January 07, 2008 @04:09PM (#21946626) Homepage

    ... then you can't afford it, yet. Wait a couple years and pick them up in the discount bin at Walmart.

  • by xx01dk (191137)
    is SO going in my Eee.
  • Doesn't that mean you can burn out the flash memory in about two minutes because of the limited number of write cycles?

    ...

    Ok, I'm kidding. Wear leveling. [wikipedia.org] But it was just too obvious of a /. thing to not post it. At least I didn't make an In Soviet Russia joke. Right?

  • That this will not be as big as a house. Fact.
  • 832Gigabit? Maybe? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kai6novice (1093633)
    Everyone is so exciting about the 832GB. Maybe it's just a marketing strategy. It's 832Gigabit, which is equal to 104GigaByte SSD. I think this sound more reasonable. Might cost about $550-$600 when it comes out. (just guessing)
  • Yeah, but will it run on Vista? [u3.com]

    ducks

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