October 17, 2005 4:18 PM PDT

Intel cuts PC boot time

Intel is showing off a future technology called Robson that could cut that annoying boot-up time.

With Robson, a PC pulls data and applications off an add-in flash memory card and Intel software, rather than the PC's hard drive. Flash reacts more quickly than hard drives, thus cutting down the time it takes to launch an application. Potentially, notebook users could experience a longer battery life because the hard drive, which is spun by a motor, wouldn't have to work as hard.

While an Intel representative did not provide exact boot-up time comparisons, she said Robson will cut the amount of time it takes from when you hit the "on" button to when the PC can operate, the time it takes to go from a sleep state to an active state, and the time it takes to launch an application.

A Robson card can contain 64MB to 4GB of memory. Increasing the memory, the amount of data or the number of applications that can take advantage of Robson. The more things on the chip, the more things that can go up quickly.

The technology was shown off on Monday at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei. Intel has not said when the technology might hit store shelves.

Flash is moving deeper into PCs and other devices, thanks to dropping costs and increasing data densities.

Earlier this year, Samsung and Microsoft showed off a prototype hard drive with an internal 1GB flash memory chip that also cuts power consumption. In that prototype, incoming data (words, photos, songs and so on) gets written to the flash memory chip.

While Intel developed the software for Robson, the chips come from outside. Robson relied on NAND flash memory, produced by Samsung, Toshiba and others. Intel makes NOR flash memory, which is not used for these sort of read-write-erase functions.


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I think eventually, notebook hard drives would be replaced by flash memory. It's getting cheaper and cheaper every single year at a high rate. It's fast, it does not consume a lot of power. I've seen the 4GB chip inside the Ipod Nano, and I've got to say that its really impossibley small, theres still room for making it smaller. If they could just take a couple of those and stick them into a hard drive cover they could get 20-40GB no problem. Or just priduce bigger chips the size of hard drives. :)
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Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
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Thats great, but price?
Sure, its great that spacewise, and power consumption you can simply load 40 little RAND chips into the space of a HDD, wow, it might even hold like 30 gig, but guess what? That ***** expencive, what is it, $45 a gig? Yeah, so before you think that this is the "wave" of the future, think of it logicly. Obviously, companies want the best of both worlds, the goodies of RAND (no bootup, less power), but the cheapness of HDD (.65 a gig, common now, thats just silly). Many people say that the end of the HDD is near, and that RAM will replace it. Not true.

RAM will simply be incorperated into HDD, which will be designed to use less and less power, thereby combining the best of both worlds. The future of HARD storage is still great. Many people are just seeing how much RAM is going down, yeah, but HDD are making MORE progress then RAND, so what I can see is a small, very fast, very efficant HDD (look at the iPod, 30 gig HDD, very sturdy, pretty slim, not a lot of power, easily you could make much better drives) just strapped onto perhaps a few gigs of RAM. The RAM would be big enough to hold all data when the user is using it, AKA, act like RAM, with part of the programs installed onto the RAM chip.

This is the only tricky part, you would need to be able to install the programs on both drives, with what it needs to open the drive on the RAM chip, so at the click of a button it simply pops up, but yet have DATA stored on the HDD, which could then be used to transfer needed data on the program to RAM, which could be done in half a second. So by the time you move your mouse, the rest of the program is loaded into RAM, and ready to use.

The RAM would use the HDD like an index. It would have enough info to give to get the computer started, while calling up info from the HDD in a fraction of a second. You would not be able to tell the difference from this, or from using pure RAM. Plus, with the oh, 20 year jump HDD have on RAND, it would make the switch actually feasable soon.
Posted by jzsaxpc (43 comments )
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XP Reboot
It's not the boot time which addles me, it's the XP reboot which takes time, even with a "clean machine."
Posted by vonrochow40 (7 comments )
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Slight problem with flash
- limited number of write cycles for each cell.
Posted by (3 comments )
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