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  #1  
Old 14-05-2010, 03:39 PM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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Mass memory: a balancing act that Nokia can learn from?

With Steve borrowing an X6 for a few weeks (expect his thoughts on Nokia’s first capacitive screened smartphone next week) one thing we wanted to look at was the relatively slow speed of the music player on my X6. While we’re comparing over Skype and not side by side, there’s still a marked difference between Steve’s 16GB X6 and my 32GB X6. And we have a theory....

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 14-05-2010, 04:11 PM
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This would certainly explain the atrocious speeds of the mass memory in an N95 8GB!

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Old 14-05-2010, 04:37 PM
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Agreed.

Couldn't agree more. I really do feel my X6 photos storing speed and music player is at the almost unacceptable pace, compared to my friend's 5800. Heck, my unit even have the disk error problem similar to 5800, and has been sent to Care Centre for a motherboard change, thus I would think besides they slow them down, the chip wasn't an expensive chip either. I feel this phone have a lot of potential being a cap screen phone, but current version of Symbian spoiled it. And I don't particularly understand why the OS in N97 cannot be used in X6. All in all, disappointed.

  #4  
Old 14-05-2010, 04:49 PM
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This is not a surprise to anyone involved with Nokia devices, they internal memory chips are slow as hell and the SD cards they provide with low-cost devices are crap too.

Of course this is done for economical reasons , faster chips cost more, fast and reliable chips cost even more.
In order to provide adequate performance for OS and core apps Nokia uses main memory - a separate partition which lives on more faster chip.

Read/Write speed does matter-at least for for high-performance apps (like heavy games and Skype). Installation to main memory is usually the only way to get the most out of it . Installing to different location may have strange results on app.

And there are no excuses to it - maintenance costs and "making it slower so it lives longer and does not break"

P.S.
Obligatory Nokia bashing: Iphone has 1 storage space, so does Android. They managed to solve this problem. why Nokia can't ?
Suggested answer: Keeping the profit margin with huge amount of middle-low class devices released results in usage of cheap sub-par components.

  #5  
Old 14-05-2010, 05:16 PM
teknolog teknolog is offline
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Anecdotal evidence from myself: My 5800 was acting up badly, crashing almost every day.

I tried to backup my device to do a reset, but some files could not be read. So I figured the problem might be a defective SD card, went on Amazon and bought a new 8 GB card for 10 or so.

Lo and behold, it fixed literally every problem I had with my device.

Moral of the story: memory card quality not only affects storage, has an effect on device stability.

  #6  
Old 14-05-2010, 05:18 PM
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Interestingly, this is a problem Samsung also had / have with the i8910. The internal 8 or 16GB memory is *much* slower than using a reasonable memory card.

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Old 14-05-2010, 06:27 PM
DKlaus DKlaus is offline
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Slow

This seems like a good place to vent my frustration with my N86. It is SLOOOOOOW! Slower than my N95 classic. I was hoping for the opposite when I bought it.

I install everything to mass memory and use my 32Gb microSD mainly for media. Waking up from idle (not powersave) takes about 5 secs and is the most conspicuous example. (FW v21 and still can't upgrade.)

Since this bothers me each and every day, I'd gladly pay the extra cost of faster (and stable) hardware. Money paid for something one is happy with is not an issue. Something that is a daily annoyance is simply not worth saving a few pounds (or is it pennies?) on.

But what a great phone this is, otherwise! :-)

Looking interested to the N8. Please, Nokia, DO NOT make it SLOW!

Thanks for providing space for my grumpy hiccups...

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Old 14-05-2010, 06:52 PM
andynugent andynugent is offline
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Symbian issues?

I'm not sure whether this is still an issue, but there used to be major issues with Symbian's implementation of the FAT filesystem, in that it didn't scale very well at all. The more files you had, the slower it got.

My memory is fairly vague, and I can't remember whether the problem was with the total number of files on disk or the number of files in a folder (I think it's the latter).

But that could possibly be another explanation; you have more files on the 32GB disk.

It might be worth making sure all your music is organised into sub-folders, or doing some tests when both devices are empty.

It also shouldn't be too hard to knock together some sort of simple performance benchmark, generating some random data and writing/reading it to/from disk with some timing output.

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Old 14-05-2010, 07:36 PM
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I find this to be a common problem with flash storage. When I upgraded my 4gb C6 microsdhc to an 8gb C6 there was a considerable difference in access speeds from my phone. The same thing again when I went to 16gb C6. Noticeably slower than the 8gb. Darla Mack did a write up a while back about the disparity between speed and capacity with disks of the same class rating.

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Old 14-05-2010, 09:35 PM
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ahah, make it slow to make it work longer. Very clever. It's so slow that you use it less, so it works longer.. Very simple...

  #11  
Old 15-05-2010, 07:25 AM
malbry malbry is offline
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I think at least some of the speed issue in the music player is software-related, not hardware-related. I say this because I recently upgraded my trusty 5800 to the latest v50 firmware which I think is similar to the current X6 firmware. The music player is noticably slower than it was with the v40 firmware. For example, going into Playlists now takes several seconds - enough to be irritating - whereas before it was around one second. I am guessing that the OS is now reading all the playlists into a memory buffer so that it can implement kinetic scrolling. All the playlists have to be immediately available in memory for fast scrolling. Before kinetic scrolling, the OS could read the playlists a screenful at a time as the user tapped the screen. Just a hunch, maybe wrong.

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Old 15-05-2010, 07:43 AM
daos daos is offline
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Access times very much depend on the allocation unit size. Usually, after device's hard reset or standard win\mac format procedure the size is 16kb of 1 unit. Which allows to use a storage more efficiently, but very slow access times. Using conditioned format - the size of allocation unit is 4096 or even 8192 - improves access times twice the original speed. This worked for me on WM devices as well.

  #13  
Old 15-05-2010, 09:34 AM
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I shall just say that the folks at Nokia are bastards.

That, or those at Maemo are smug asshats.

The N900 can consistently attain 16mb/s constant write, why the fuck are they giving us subpar products?

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Old 15-05-2010, 10:24 AM
xerxes xerxes is offline
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The reason they are giving you subpar products is that they have to save every penny they can because their profit margins are so thin.

When a company (like Nokia, or Dell) decides to compete mainly on price they have to accept a low margin per product and hope to make their overall profit target by shipping high volumes of product.

Typically, after some months or years of doing this the company comes under pressure from shareholders to increase its profit margin. How can it do this? The only ways are to generate higher margin revenue on different products (Nokia's attempt to do this with Ovi has failed to the point where these products have had to be repositioned as free value adds), increase the average selling price per unit sold, or decrease the cost per unit.

Nokia is not in a position to increase its selling price. It has only managed to hold its marketshare by greatly <<reducing>> its selling price over the last three years and, particularly after the N97 debacle, it doesn't have enough mind-share left to be able to bring out new products at top-of-market prices (hence the low announced price of the N8).

The only way Nokia has left to make money is to reduce its cost of manufacturing and servicing the products it sells.

All we consumers who like Symbian and don't want to see it die can hope is that Nokia is prepared to take a hit on profit generated by the N8 in order to rebuild the company's consumer mindshare. Otherwise, if the N8 under performs we are likely to see a long slow decline of Symbian into an exclusively low end platform or even its complete disappearance from an over crowded mobile OS market

  #15  
Old 15-05-2010, 12:27 PM
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This is another example of bloggers and commenters having no idea what they're talking about.

If you're planning to run factories and make millions of devices you can only buy parts available in sufficient guaranteed quantities. To do otherwise means you are likely to have problems getting hold of parts for production. We've all seen devices over the years where some component or other becomes unavailable leading to delays while alternatives are sourced. No manufacturer will tell you about this, but it happens in lots of cases.

Further, as memory parts are being built on smaller processes they are becoming slower and less reliable. It's unavoidable if NAND technology continues to be used and is a physical attribute of the smaller process size. The underlying switching does become faster, and smaller amounts of charge are required but at the same time larger storage size comes with increased block sizes. You can only write to 'erased' NAND and the larger the addressable block is, the more likely that you will need to erase something in order to write. Similarly, since smaller processes result in higher leakage, you need to move data around more often when reading it to ensure that the contents are not lost.

You can't even just buy the older parts because they're no longer being manufactured in sufficient quantities to base a product line on.

Mass memories are also not necessarily designed to have the performance attributes you would wish to see on a phone - typically manufacturers concentrate on improving large sequential read/write performance (as this is highly valued in benchmarks).

My point is that there are a million reasons why some parts perform better than others and cost is at most a very small part of it.
 

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