Storage - Published on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:15 Written by Jacob Hugosson
Many ultrabooks use the new mSATA interface, which is designed to save both space and energy. The standard is diverse though and has limitations, which Intel hopes to remedy with a new SSD standard based on mSATA.
Besides the limitations of mSATA, the standard is not entirely united. Before the specifications for mSATA was set to 100 percent companies started developing mSATA units, to save space in thin computers. The problem is that some OEM and SSD makers are holding on to the original mSATA standard that is not fully compatible with the official mSATA specifications. Currently mSATA is limited to 512 GB, since at most four to five NAND circuits fit on the circuit board.
Intel hopes to unite the mSATA standard and enable higher capacities in the future. The "new" stnadard is called (Next Generation Form Factor). Intel is talking to OEMs and NAND flash makers like Micron, Sandisk and Samsung about the standard, says Digitimes.
SSD units based on NGFF will have the exact same width and thickness as mSATA, but will be longer. Currently five measurements are discussed; 20, 42, 60, 80 and 120 millimeter, but it looks like 42, 60 and 80 millimeter will become part of the final standard. The new NGFF specification is expected to become an industry standard among ultrabooks makers in 2013. If NGFF will be used in traditional formfactors is entirely up to the OEMs.
Intel is trying to standardize as many of the components as possible for notebooks. The reason is simply to drive down manufacturing costs as low as possible, which will reult in lower stores prices for both ultrabooks and notebooks.