LONDON Vista, the next generation operating system from Microsoft Corp., is set to drive NAND flash memory sales in the personal computer, rapidly increasing demand for the non-volatile memory, according to Don Barnetson, associate director of flash memory marketing at Samsung Semiconductor USA.
The indicators are that despite the booming growth of NAND flash memory over the last few years driven first by the digital still camera and then by MP3 audio players it is about to driven yet higher, Barnetson said.
Samsung have been working with Microsoft and there are at least two features that Microsoft has built into the Vista operating system which will call for NAND flash memory use, Barnetson said. “2006 is going to be year that flash penetrates the PC,” Barnetson added.
The most significant route in the short term is a feature called EMD for external memory device. This allows USB memory sticks to be used as main memory. The operating system works out what applications and data you are most likely to be using on a given day and at a given time and moves them into the external memory so that the user can stop and start with instant boot facilities.
“Using USB flash drives allows users to decide how much memory they want and when.
So on a weekday Vista will put business applications and documents into the external memory, but on a Saturday morning if you like to play computer games, the operating system will learn that behavior and put games there ready for you, said Barnetson.
EMD will complement main memory in existing PCs that need a performance boost to run Vista.
It may seem inelegant, or even unwise, to have main memory sticking proud out of the computer, where it can be accidently knocked. But in time PC builders could change the physical form factor to an internal USB socket, Barnetson said. And in the meantime Microsoft expects to get a big bonus, that customers will not have to buy a whole new computer to upgrade to Vista and will therefore upgrade sooner.
Samsung believes that in a new computer DRAM is best suited for use as main memory. EMD primarily exists for the installed base Vista upgrade market.