Apple NVM machine

By: --- (, April 19, 2022 4:52 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Now here's something few were expecting!
(2015) Unified addressable memory

Don't let the name fool you, this is not GPU/CPU sharing RAM. This is something more like The Machine or AS/400.
The idea (and let me again remind you the patent date is 7 years ago...) is a device consisting of
- "slow" non-volatile memory (think flash) for a file system
- "fast" non-volatile memory (optane-like? MRAM?) as bulk RAM
- a DRAM cache

The primary idea is having the fast NVM encrypted using a different key from the file system, a key which is destroyed on reset, so making the fast NVM "effectively" volatile.
The secondary idea is using a second level of translation for addresses passing between the SoC (which uses "normal" virtual addresses) and the fast NVM (which uses "memory" virtual addresses). This allows the use of large pages for the fast NVM (the numbers suggested are 4K for SoC pages, 16K for memory pages).

My best guess is that this was a tentative exploration of perhaps a large memory Mac Pro based on Optane, or perhaps investigating (if Intel brought the price of Optane down fast enough) mainstream macs that shipped with less DRAM but more Optane RAM.

Given the date, I assume the above (Optane Mac Pro) story, but it also suggests one possible path forward for the complaints about not enough memory on M1 macs -- IF there's a vendor of NVM that matches the requirements...
MRAM seems to not be available in larger than L3 sizes.
Optane who the hell knows, or trusts, anything that Intel says about where it is headed, or 3rd party sales, or how they definitely won't, no sirree, not at all think of cancelling it.
Maybe Z-NAND? If the plan is to move data between the DRAM cache and the fast NVAM at a "natural NVM" granularity (like a kind of fast paging, a little slower than compressed paging?) maybe Z-NAND is good enough, and the lack of byte granularity (which is basically fake on Optane anyway) is no big deal?

Another interesting possible direction is maybe using MRAM in the Apple Watch? The recent Apple Watch has 1GB DRAM. If that were MRAM (using only a large SLC) maybe that would be fast enough, and without the energy refresh costs of DRAM? (You save on refresh, but I think read and write costs are still higher than DRAM). That would require 8 stacked Everspin 1Gb chips (each 105mm^2), so feasible in theory, but probably not enough better in practice to be worth the hassle?
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TopicPosted ByDate
Apple NVM machine---2022/04/19 04:52 PM
  Apple NVM machineRayla2022/04/20 07:04 AM
    Apple NVM machineBen LaHaise2022/04/20 03:36 PM
      Apple NVM machineanon22022/04/20 04:05 PM
        Apple NVM machineBen LaHaise2022/04/20 05:22 PM
          Apple NVM machineMichael S2022/04/21 04:27 AM
            Apple NVM machineUngo2022/04/21 04:33 PM
              Apple NVM machineMegabytephreak2022/04/21 09:07 PM
                Apple NVM machineme2022/04/22 05:52 AM
                  Apple NVM machineMichael S2022/04/23 10:22 AM
                    Apple NVM machineme2022/04/23 12:52 PM
                      Apple NVM machineMichael S2022/04/23 01:48 PM
                        Apple NVM machineme2022/04/23 06:12 PM
                          Intel 14 nm capacityJames2022/04/24 06:22 AM
                            Intel 14 nm capacityme2022/04/24 06:45 AM
                              what exactly considered "chipset" in the Chromebook?Michael S2022/04/24 07:23 AM
                                what exactly considered "chipset" in the Chromebook?Rayla2022/04/24 01:40 PM
                                  what exactly considered "chipset" in the Chromebook?Dummond D. Slow2022/04/25 09:35 AM
                                    what exactly considered "chipset" in the Chromebook?Rayla2022/04/25 03:41 PM
                                      what exactly considered "chipset" in the Chromebook?Dummond D. Slow2022/04/25 04:43 PM
                            Intel 14 nm capacityAnne O. Nymous2022/04/24 07:31 AM
                    Apple NVM machineTupper2022/04/24 08:20 PM
                Apple NVM machineMichael S2022/04/23 10:29 AM
              Apple NVM machineMichael S2022/04/23 10:08 AM
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