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Intel Slashes Computer Startup Times

ScuttleMonkey posted about 9 years ago | from the an-end-run-around-the-bsod dept.

Hardware 435

An anonymous reader writes "At Intel's Developer Forum in Taiwan, Intel introduced a new Non-volatile caching technology called 'Robson'." The new Robson cache technology allows computers to start up almost immediately and load programs much faster. Intel declined to comment on the specifics of how the technology works only saying that 'More information will be revealed later'.

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I wonder (4, Insightful)

venya (757733) | about 9 years ago | (#13814278)

Hmm... I hope this doesnt require big changes to computer architecture...

I hope this is real (5, Funny)

Monstard (855195) | about 9 years ago | (#13814295)

I hope this is real and not vapor-ware. I've been waiting for instant start for 20 years.

Re:I hope this is real (5, Funny)

JoeCommodore (567479) | about 9 years ago | (#13814334)

Man, you need to upgrade your hardware if it takes THAT long to boot your system!

Re:I wonder (2, Funny)

jthorpe (545911) | about 9 years ago | (#13814301)

It won't - it's just a new advanced marketecture from Intel.

me too (0, Offtopic)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | about 9 years ago | (#13814279)

I also have a new technology which gets first posts much quicker!

Will it be in any of the first Mactels? (0, Offtopic)

computerdude33 (890573) | about 9 years ago | (#13814282)

I'm curious.

Re:Will it be in any of the first Mactels? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814376)

Score:4 Interesting.. yet you've said absolutely, postively nothing. Infact it's like Nike announcing they've made a new tennis sneaker and then someone asking. Will any of your employed sponsors wear it? I need to set my filters to filter this moderation crack. No offense to you obviously or the moderators who should put it down for a while.

Re:Will it be in any of the first Mactels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814452)

If history is anything to go by, not until the industry at large has moved on to better things. (See: AMD64)

It's about time! (1)

shanen (462549) | about 9 years ago | (#13814536)

Sorry, I couldn't help myself! But seriously, you'd think that they should have addressed this ongoing nuisance a long time ago. One of my office machines takes a good 15 minutes to boot in the morning. Even my fastest XP boxes take several minutes to IPL before you can really start working on them. It mounts up over the years.

My guess is that they just use a bank of EEPROMs to store a lot of the critical system routines and a EEPROM or two for their critical state information. They could refresh the status using idle cycles after the machine has started, but in general, those routines aren't going to change so much. (I think two EEPROMs for the state information because they could easily hold "last stable" and "almost ready" states.)

The REAL reason (4, Funny)

cdrdude (904978) | about 9 years ago | (#13814287)

The real reason more informatin will be revealed later is that their computers are still booting up!

Hmmm....... (4, Funny)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | about 9 years ago | (#13814291)

So are we going to all be expected to hibernate our Robson's now?

Why does this sound like a CowboyNeal joke to me?

Re:Hmmm....... (3, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 9 years ago | (#13814520)

You sound as though you make an inclination to a flaccid penis.

Ohhh come on!! It's a joke! Laugh ;)

WOW!!! (0, Offtopic)

patrickclay (898576) | about 9 years ago | (#13814292)

WOW!!! A new processor that runs programs faster!!!! Amazing!!!

The big secret... (-1, Flamebait)

yddod (778690) | about 9 years ago | (#13814293)

Do not use Windows, plain and simple.

Re:The big secret... (1)

James_Aguilar (890772) | about 9 years ago | (#13814321)

ARE THERE ANY other instructions because I tried these and they didn't work.

. . .

Re:The big secret... (4, Insightful)

macklin01 (760841) | about 9 years ago | (#13814338)

While cute, that's not entirely accurate. A well-maintained WinXP installation with antivirus installed still boots in the 30 second range on a P4 with a decent amount of RAM. It's the extra stuff that can really slow it down. (OpenOffice or MS Office, taskbar goodies, etc.)

Just like a really good Gentoo installation can boot up very quickly, but it can take awhile to go through the process if it isn't so well-optimized. Out-of-the-box on a dual boot P4, it's been my experience that WinXP boots faster than out-of-the-box Linux. (But I'm not enough of a linux guru to trim it down.) -- Paul

Re:The big secret... (2, Interesting)

Wizarth (785742) | about 9 years ago | (#13814412)

I find the same thing. My kernel takes much longer (well, twice as long) as windows to boot up. This is mostly because I've compiled all my device drivers into the kernel, so everything gets detected during this stage. I suspect (but haven't bothered to find out) that if I had all the not-immediately-needed drivers as modules, and ran hotplug in the background rather then in the foreground, then everything would start up faster.
Maybe, anyway.

Re:The big secret... (1)

eklitzke (873155) | about 9 years ago | (#13814486)

Umm... I'm not a Linux guru, but what you said doesn't really make much sense. Normally an out of the box linux kernel takes a long time to boot because it boots from an initrd. Also, any drivers compiled into the kernel will probably make things faster (assuming you only compile in what you use) because the computer doesn't have to sit around and load modules into memory. If you really have all your modules compiled in, try getting rid of your initrd and setting any modules that are getting loaded up with each boot into an autoload file, so the computer can just load them instead of trying to figure out which modules it needs. Like you said, some distributions make it easy to load the startup scripts in parallel -- this would probably also help you boot faster.

Re:The big secret... (1)

Wizarth (785742) | about 9 years ago | (#13814545)

I don't think I'm using an initrd.

I think (and I'm guessing, not a guru either, just some-one who guesses a lot) that Linux kernel doesn't perform any device driver init for a device until it is loaded, and it is not loaded until it is needed. By having the modules compiled in, they are all initilized during the startup, rather then on first use (such as when hotplug does hardware detection).

Re the modules being loaded on use: On a different machine, I just recently upgraded the kernel, and forgot to make modules_install (This machine loads almost everything as modules). It booted up right fast, but nothing much worked, naturally. Including the network card. Once I'd realised what I'd done, I did the make modules_install, then restarted the hotplug daemon. Voila, all the hardware went up (coldplug), and only thing remaining to do was restart the services that failed due to missing eth0.

I think this would be similar to how later versions of Windows "boot" faster, by moving some hardware detection off until the GUI is already loaded.

I'd try this when I got home, but by then I'll have forgotten about it again. I don't leave the machine in question on, it's my home desktop machine and sometimes goes days without being used (gasp!)

Re:The big secret... (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | about 9 years ago | (#13814428)

I use Gentoo myself, and it's been my experience that boot time is ~20-30 seconds on my older Athlon Thunderbird, 10-20 seconds on my XP 2400+, and maybe 10-15 seconds more for GNOME and X to start. (If/when I do start them.) On the other hand, the last time I rebooted the system was 4 months ago, and that was when I physically moved it. At that rate, boot time is not a big deal.

Re:The big secret... (1)

gregmckone (211824) | about 9 years ago | (#13814500)

Who has 30 seconds to spend every time you need information. By the time a pc boots up and produces a browser pointed to the query I've entered, the question is often long gone and I'm on to something else. Or in the process of doing the 30 second boot I'm nagged to death about technical issues that have nothing to do with the information I seek until I'm unable to keep the question in my mind.

My $0.02

Re:The big secret... (1)

xgamer04 (248962) | about 9 years ago | (#13814530)

A well-maintained WinXP installation with antivirus installed still boots in the 30 second range on a P4 with a decent amount of RAM.

Wait, so you're saying that your XP install boots, logs in, and loads all the background stuff you use (AV, networking, bonzi, etc) in 30 seconds? I find that hard to believe.

Re:The big secret... (2, Interesting)

ZakuSage (874456) | about 9 years ago | (#13814356)

As much as I don't like Windows, I really shouldn't have to wait close to a minute for Ubuntu to get to the login screen, and then another 30ish seconds to get into GNOME when Windows 2000 does similar things in about 1/10th of the time on the same hardware.

Re:The big secret... (1)

ZakuSage (874456) | about 9 years ago | (#13814373)

Ok, so maybe 1/10th is an exaggeration... but I haven't really used Windows 2000 in 3 or 4 weeks so it's hard to remember.

Re:The big secret... (2, Insightful)

mrMango (858259) | about 9 years ago | (#13814480)

Ah, but once you get into GNOME, your system is up. Running. Finished. When you're in Windows, after you login you're still loading services. That's how Windows seems fast: it throws up a login screen before it's done loading. Linux doesn't do that.

Re:The big secret... (0, Redundant)

thesnarky1 (846799) | about 9 years ago | (#13814552)

Actually (when booting to a gui in fedora core 4) my XP box boots hell of a lot faster then my Fedora box. THe XP is AMD 2.0 gHz, and the Fedora is Intel 2.8 gHz... so... I don't think your statement is entirely accurate. (Yes, I realize its a joke, I just wanna throw out the possibility that windows might be better for something, from a user who hates having to use windows). I realize I'm gonna get flamed for this.

First Post ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814297)

Hmmm first post maybe

If Transmeta licensed it... (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 9 years ago | (#13814298)

Would we get a Robson Crusoe?

Apple? (4, Interesting)

great throwdini (118430) | about 9 years ago | (#13814299)

FTFA: "It's up to the [equipment manufacturers] to decide how it will be implemented. My guess is that enterprise users will likely see it first," [Mooly Eden, VP and GM of Intel's mobile platform group] said.

S.Jobs: "Oh, yeah?" can dream.

What do you mean, "one can dream"? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814446)

Mac users have already been enjoying lightning-fast boot and wake-from-sleep times for years.

IME, OS X boot times beat the living shit out of Windows boot times. I've seen years-old, sub-1GHz G4s boot faster than home-built (i.e. lacking all the extra, cycle-eating horseshit programs that hobble your average Dell or HP PC) 2.0+GHz Wintel boxes with fresh installs of XP.

Windows is even more embarassingly beaten when you compare OS X Server with Windows 2000 or 2003 Server. Those fuckers take FOREVER to reboot.

I don't know why Intel is working so hard to try to make Microsoft look good. Improvements to hardware can't fix shitty software.

Re:What do you mean, "one can dream"? (1)

KillShill (877105) | about 9 years ago | (#13814507)

because "appliances" like macs can boot up a lot faster due to limited hardware support and stricter guidelines.

when it supports any arbitrary and millions of pieces of hardware like the x86 world, that would be something.

it's not a general purpose os, it is written specifically for mac hardware, down to the motherboard and auxiliary chips.

it cannot be done nearly as easily or well on the "pc" world.

Re:Apple? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814559)

Apple si teh best inginerez, tehy get alz the inetl hi tcehnologeez tow monnthes b4 teh dl3l doz!!!!!! Applez ruel!!!

first post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814300)

fuck you taco!! suck a niggers cock!

I knew it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814302)

Flash Robson to the Rescue!

If this kind if thing is a concern (5, Insightful)

cxreg (44671) | about 9 years ago | (#13814303)

you're booting too often

Re:If this kind if thing is a concern (3, Interesting)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | about 9 years ago | (#13814346)

Actually, maybe the reason we're _not_ rebooting too often is because this technology has not existed. No one will wait 5 minutes for a computer to startup, but this might make it more reasonable to do so. With the current energy crisis, I like this idea.

Re:If this kind if thing is a concern (1)

Nivoset (607957) | about 9 years ago | (#13814352)

Not really.
My mother only uses her computer when she needs to. Which is once a day or two. not often, but the boot time for windows is long anyway, and makes it. boot 15 minutes before use.

i suppose nothing is as bad as my cell phone. im gonna time the two. i think my phone takes almost as long a boot up as my computer. its sad really. and annoying.

Re:If this kind if thing is a concern (1)

Namronorman (901664) | about 9 years ago | (#13814361)

Rebooting is overated ... Kind of... But yes, if you're on a box that needs to reboot daily, something is up. Even my Windows box I don't have to restart often, maybe once every two weeks or so.

I know it's not a glorious x months/years like some can do, but I could care less, as long as it's not constant.

Re:If this kind if thing is a concern (3, Interesting)

bypedd (922626) | about 9 years ago | (#13814384)

Agreed, but perhaps that's the Unix background peeking through. Windows in general needs too much rebooting, I say. More time should be spent on making it more dynamic and flexible so you don't have to restart your computer every time you uninstall a program or update windows.

Re:If this kind if thing is a concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814437)

Personally, I have my computer in my room and can't stand to sleep with all the fan noise. So my computer goes off every night and comes on every morning. Mind you, boot up time usually is about the same as morning piss time, so I don't notice much.

Re:If this kind if thing is a concern (2, Insightful)

freidog (706941) | about 9 years ago | (#13814444)

But if you view this as a replacement for 'Standby' or similar low power / no wait modes it makes some sense. Where you can leave the computer for 10 minutes or 8 hours and no worry about drawing power, producing heat (or being vulnerable to power failures, ect).

I know standby isn't exactly a power hog - probably less than 30W for most systems and 'off' is in the range of 5W maybe more if you do wake on lan or similar - but if you're a coperation with thousands of computers in the building, quick boot from off might make more sense than standby or similar.

Re:If this kind if thing is a concern (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | about 9 years ago | (#13814491)

i don't shutdown my system so that i don't have to wait to use it. but this would let me have instant access and save electricity. i'm sure this will be a major benefit.

Re:If this kind if thing is a concern (2)

jbrader (697703) | about 9 years ago | (#13814499)

This could really help out laptop users though. My desktop only gets turned off if I'm installing new hardware or something but I turn my lappy off everytime I put it away. And all those turn on times really begin to add up after a while.

News for Nerds! (4, Funny)

dj245 (732906) | about 9 years ago | (#13814305)

Stuff that will be revealed at a later date, if market conditions warrant its release.

Excuses (0, Offtopic)

tavilach (715455) | about 9 years ago | (#13814306)

They're just trying to delay the release of 10 GHz chips.

For shame!

My theory (2, Interesting)

JoeCommodore (567479) | about 9 years ago | (#13814307)

is that it captures a post boot image into flash and will flush it out if you cange something in the core os or hardware. The only thing I wqorry about is if you get some sort of corruption of the image without being reconfigured (like proxy poisoning). I'm assuming (if it uses such a method) it would be well checksummed for integrity.

Re:My theory (1)

evw (172810) | about 9 years ago | (#13814509)

that it captures a post boot image into flash and will flush it out if you change something in the core os or hardware

I agree. That sounds like the most likely use. But I don't see why you'd worry about corruption. It needn't be any more susceptible to corruption than the memory image of a running system or the buffer cache. [Insert Windows jab here.] If it's under complete OS control then the OS knows when it needs to be flushed. Even in the face of a virus [insert another Windows jab here] flash memory is hard to write to so it's less likely to be corrupted than the image in memory.

Breezy (0, Troll)

cmdrTacyo (899875) | about 9 years ago | (#13814308)

Going up and coming down sounds like you going down you clown
Sucking cocks smiling no frown
Untill I pound yo ass into the ground
I keep my slashdot clique tight as hell
We connect like rogers, at&t and bell
Got the hook ups on slashdot we dealing crack
Cleared out the n00bs now we selling smack
Got fiends on slashdot all want my shit
So I pump it through sourceforge in my tinted whip
I'm ill as can be and you whack as can be
They should call you the small dick G

Who cares if you are an American (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814309)

We just leave our computers on.

In a related story... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814310)

Microsoft announced that Vista will require seven reboots to install a new mouse.

From TFA (5, Funny)

mincognito (839071) | about 9 years ago | (#13814311)

The laptop with Robson also opened Adobe Reader in 0.4 seconds, while the other notebook required 5.4 seconds.

Presumably, the other notebook was running Intel's next generation CPU with sixteen cores.

If they just took the crap out... (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 9 years ago | (#13814498)

The laptop with Robson also opened Adobe Reader in 0.4 seconds, while the other notebook required 5.4 seconds.

This isn't a load time problem. It's a load crap problem.

"Loading and verifying WebBuy.api" (does anyone ever use WebBuy [] , Adobe's DRM system for PDF documents?)
"Checking for updates" (Adobe might have changed the format of PDF again.)
Loading ad content for toolbar. (Sigh.)

And then all the crap that's being downloaded has to be scanned for viruses. It's all that junk that's the problem.

Of course, OpenOffice isn't all that great on launch time either. And no, loading it at boot time isn't the answer.

Time = money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814319)

Now that would save laptop batteries and also endless wait for program/windows startup time. But it would depend on the amount of flash memory installed then. So time = money, simple!
From article
"Robson is meant to be used with industry standard NAND flash memory of 64MB to 4GB capacities, Eden said. The laptop used in the demonstration contained 128MB NAND, he said."

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814324)

hmm ho first

Gorg (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814328)

Gorg. First post.

ok for a laptop I suppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814330)

But I never turn off my desktop (I do turn the CRTs off when I go to bed).

Sorry, it's an XP box and I do reboot now and then. Rarely have to cold boot it though.

Should Boost Battery Life a Lot (3, Interesting)

BondGamer (724662) | about 9 years ago | (#13814333)

The biggest application for this will probably be laptops. If the computer has 1GB of space for a page file and other stuff, then it will spend a lot less time accessing the hard drive. Less hard drive spinning means longer battery life.

Re:Should Boost Battery Life a Lot (4, Funny)

swf (129638) | about 9 years ago | (#13814501)

Just think of the performance increase from putting the page file into RAM!

Yes but... (1, Offtopic)

danratherfoe (915756) | about 9 years ago | (#13814335)

Yes but does it work with Linux?

Re:Yes but... (1)

Toba82 (871257) | about 9 years ago | (#13814401)

Remember, it doesn't "work" with anything yet. I'm pretty sure if this goes mainstream software support will be available in both Windows and Linux though.

I don't get the "instant-on" craze (3, Interesting)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | about 9 years ago | (#13814349)

I've been hearing this touted for over a decade, now. "In the future, your PC will turn on as quickly as your TV!"

The thing is, I don't care how long my computer takes to boot. With decent sleep and hibernate modes, I don't need to boot more than a couple times a month anyway - and that's usually rebooting for software updates. (If you're wondering, this is on a PowerBook G4 laptop).

It takes my computer under a second to wake up from sleep mode. How much more "instant" does it need to get?

Now, those quick-loading programs, on the other hand, do sound appealing...

Re:I don't get the "instant-on" craze (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 9 years ago | (#13814457)

Try running your computer like a power user, you still have to reboot XP due to sluggishness and memory leaks if you use a LOT of programs. XP slows to a crawl and many genuine commercial programs have problems that slow XP down to a crawl, even though their reported memory usage is within normal ranges.

Re:I don't get the "instant-on" craze (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 9 years ago | (#13814503)

psst did you notice the G4 reference in the parents posting?? on his hardware XP makes a jolly coaster/beermat SINCE HE RUNS A MACINTOSH (laptop).

Re:I don't get the "instant-on" craze (1)

eqkivaro (721746) | about 9 years ago | (#13814538)

i know you're fishing for responses, but i'll bite anyway ...

i run XP at work on a crappy old P3. On a weekly basis I use outlook, word, excel, acrobat, VB6 IDE, VS.NET 2003 IDE, enterprise manager, query analyzer, firefox and IE (for testing web apps). I reboot my computer once every 3 or 4 months, and that's normally because i feel guilty about leaving the computer on if i'm going to be out of the office for 4 or 5 days.

at home i shut down every night because i don't want to hear the computer while i go to sleep and to save electricity. my home xp box boots in about 20 seconds, but insta-boot would be nice.

Re:I don't get the "instant-on" craze (2, Funny)

Gilgaron (575091) | about 9 years ago | (#13814494)

On the other hand, my HDTV takes longer to turn on than the old TV, so perhaps they were expecting the times to move towards one another ;)

Re:I don't get the "instant-on" craze (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814497)

> The thing is, I don't care how long my computer takes to boot.

Um, has your computer been off when you're in a damn hurry?? 15 seconds is a loooong ass time when you're late.

Re:I don't get the "instant-on" craze (1)

Jose (15075) | about 9 years ago | (#13814519)

I'd love to see this happen....not really for my desktop, but for some appliances that could be fairly cheaply built on this type of hardware.

Faster to? (3, Funny)

SWroclawski (95770) | about 9 years ago | (#13814357)

If I were using Windows, I could start my computer in seconds.

And have it then crash in... seconds.

Has anyone RTFA? (5, Interesting)

Ricardo (43461) | about 9 years ago | (#13814366)

This doesnt seem to be about start up times at all (except from Hibernation). All it is, is a large HDD cache. This will do nothing to make PCs "Start up" Faster. It only has affect in the Article [aparrently] because the "slower" laptop had put its HDD to sleep.
I think PC Hardware and Software manufacturers really do need to work on the glacial boot times that PCs have. Unfortunately, this is only a solution to some of the minor problems, and not the main ones.

Startup Times for OSses (1)

lappy512 (853357) | about 9 years ago | (#13814371)

That's great, but what about Startup times for OSses? People need to make Windows and Linux (especially) to boot faster, because already, my Motherboard boots faster than my OS.

Startup Times for Images. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814473)

I'm wondering if this technique would work better with an image-based [] OS?

This will probably only be for Windows PCs (5, Funny)

Chrismith (911614) | about 9 years ago | (#13814374)

Windows User: Hooray! Now that my computer boots in six seconds, my productivity will be way up!

Linux User: Boo...ting? Oh...that thing I had to do when I first plugged it in. Gotcha.

Re:This will probably only be for Windows PCs (1, Troll)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 9 years ago | (#13814565)

Thought the same thing. My laptop have only been booted once when i installed Ubuntu and has been hibernating ever since. At home first time in months my desktop was rebooted was yesterday when i changed my mobo. I agree, this boot time thing must be some windows thingy.

Danger Will Robson! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814390)


We've had this tech for a while... (2, Informative)

thepotoo (829391) | about 9 years ago | (#13814392)'s called hibernate.

Seriously. My 1ghz, 256mb RAM laptop can turn off, "caching" the data in about 4 seconds, and start up in about 8.

If that's not good enough, try my 2.93ghz/1g RAM gaming desktop - 7 seconds for a clean start up (no hibernate).

Besides, who actually shuts down their computers any more? I mean, with more people using bittorrent at night, or just turning off monitors, I don't really worry about start up times. Do you?

Re:We've had this tech for a while... (2, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | about 9 years ago | (#13814453)

7 seconds from the time you hit the power button until you can start up applications? I call BS.

Apple (0, Redundant)

ElGameR (815688) | about 9 years ago | (#13814396)

My guess is Apple knew about this technology, and it will first be used in Aptel Macs...

At least I can dream...

Instant Startup Isn't All New (5, Interesting)

Phat_Tony (661117) | about 9 years ago | (#13814397)

I read that instant startup was supposed to be a feature of the Apple Lisa, and I thought I'd heard before that this had been implemented, but I couldn't quickly Google up any references to it.

At any rate, the theory behind instant startup isn't too hard, it's just an engineering implementation.

All you do is make it so that, following shutdown procedures, the computer immediately switches to startup, except keeping track of the fact it was "shut down," not "restarted." When it finishes restarting, it writes the startup RAM state to disk, then turns itself off.

Upon being turned on, the computer just writes the stored RAM state back from the disk to RAM, and presto! It's just like starting up the computer, except really fast. At least, that was the theory. I've been sort of surprised not to see this implemented, it seems like everyone would like to see fast startups, but hardly anyone cares how long it takes to shut down (especially with soft power)- you're done with he computer anyway. I've heard that a lot of work goes into decreasing boot times for Windows and OSX. It seems like a lot less work to implement an "instant startup" plan, and then not have to care much if startup takes forever, than to carefully track, fiddle with, and optimize everything that happens during startup.

Of course, with this system, restarting after a crash would not be instant, it would take just as long as ever. So it might work to greater advantage on some operating systems than others, depending on why you usually restart.

Does this HDD cache make me look fat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814424)

Actually I believe Windows is suppose to have that. Howver you need a very big HDD cache to do it.

Re:Instant Startup Isn't All New (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | about 9 years ago | (#13814567)

Jezus McBagel! You're describing something that even Windows 95 supported, and was even common back in the Win3.1 days! Take a few minutes out from worshipping at the cult of Apple and pickup any PC laptop made in the last decade.

> I've been sort of surprised not to see this implemented

And who's fault is that?

Sounds to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814415)

Sounds to me like they are using some kind of chip that has some form of "hibernation" mode built in, probably uses a flash rom/ram drive If that's the case, yes it will boot in a matter of seconds because it never really shutdown in the first place. Heck most of us can do this now. One more thing, Windows Vista claims to have this new-and-improved hibernation built in. Just something to think about....

DOH! (5, Informative)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 9 years ago | (#13814420)

From TFA:

"Chipmaker demonstrates 'Robson' flash memory to boost laptop startup speeds."

Mystery solved.

Slightly OT question about linux boot times (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 9 years ago | (#13814436)

I have a Gentoo Linux laptop which, in the interest of portability and dual-booting, has to be booted frequently. I've not done anything fancy or funky with it, and don't know all that much about the scripts behind the boot sequence.

At home it has an 802.11 network connection; at work it has an Ethernet connection.

Now, when I'm using it at home it takes forever to go through the DHCP timeout on eth0, even though there's no link. Is there a simple way to either 1) tell it not to do a DHCP lookup unless it sees a link on eth0, or 2) tell it to go ahead with the boot process while waiting for the DHCP response?

Re:Slightly OT question about linux boot times (2, Informative)

mrMango (858259) | about 9 years ago | (#13814469)

Look into ifplugd. emerge ifplugd.

Also, try using the ~x86 baselayout... they've GREATLY improved things from the standard.

Yes, this is OT

KDE startup? (1)

RoadkillBunny (662203) | about 9 years ago | (#13814459)

Will it speed up the boot up time or also longing in into a desktop? Both take about the same time if you are using KDE.

Uses for fast boot (2, Insightful)

clickme (563404) | about 9 years ago | (#13814467)

A very fast boot might make emulation less important. Need to run a Windows program? Boot into Windows in a few seconds and run it. Need a system optimized for gaming? You can have it in a few seconds. This could be very useful...

1 GB Flash is cheap (1)

G4from128k (686170) | about 9 years ago | (#13814475)

It's easy to buy enough flash NVRAM to equal the RAM of a PC (1 GB is well under $100 retail). The only real issue is the read bandwidth (it need to be at least 100 MB/sec to load RAM quickly enough. Write bandwidth is less of an issue if the user doesn't wait around "while Windows is shutting down" (the computer might "sleep" instantly and off-load RAM over a period of minutes). And read/write cycle life is a non-issue if you don't turn-off the computer more than a half-dozen times per day (27 cycles per day for 10 years is 100,000 cycles).

I wonder if Intel has created a Flash memory architecture that has massive internal parallelism on the read circuits of the flash RAM cells to feed a high-speed interface to RAM? It might read on the order of a thousand bits in parallel at slow speed (say 1 Mb/sec on each line) and reassemble in to output at high speed (1000 Mb/sec = 125 MB/sec). Seems feasible to me.

Re:1 GB Flash is cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13814564)

Yeah but why not use NvIOpRAM [] instead? :D

In related news, (1)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | about 9 years ago | (#13814488)

Debian has released advanced software technology [] that has rendered the need to reboot obsolete, threatening the adoption of Intel's recent vapor into the marketplace.

I wonder if this is MRAM (1)

I kan Spl (614759) | about 9 years ago | (#13814511)

Not having RTFA, I wonder if this is somehow related to MRAM? Linky []

I know the ssrc [] (which I am sort of affiliated with) has been doing some research into it, and I think Intel may be involved with it...

Just a thought...

Re:I wonder if this is MRAM (2, Interesting)

I kan Spl (614759) | about 9 years ago | (#13814554)

Relpying to my own comment here, and having RTFA...

Wow. This *IS* MRAM.
From the MRAM site: []

MRAM is a memory (RAM) technology that uses electron spin to store information. MRAM has been called "the ideal memory" - potentially combining the density of DRAM with the speed of SRAM and non-volatility of FLASH memory or hard disk, and all this while consuming a very low amount of power. MRAM can resist high radiation, and can operate in extreme temperature conditions. It is likely that we'll see the first MRAM in applications that need such properties.

MRAM is being researched by the SSRC at UCSC [] . From my understanding of what they are doing they are using the non-volatile MRAM as sort of a L3 cache between the RAM and the processor. This stuff is wicked fast, so the response time from RAM to the processor is taken down something like an order of magnitude. If the OS could prefetch things from RAM to MRAM in some intelligent way they could get the system memory access time down, and speed up things overall that use lots of memory accesses.... things like Booting, and opening Acrobat....

This could be quite neet if they release it....


flash hard drive (1)

digitallysick (922589) | about 9 years ago | (#13814524)

thats what we need, flash memory is getting cheaper, look at the nano, and jump drives, soon flash harddrives, Id be happy with a 40 gig flash HD !maybe even a 20 to just store WIN on

Instant on computer of the past (1)

klack (823307) | about 9 years ago | (#13814527)


Caspian (99221) | about 9 years ago | (#13814528)

(The message to be displayed when the cache gets corrupt...)

*dodges tomatoes*

Let's hope theres a quick way to zap this saved (2, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 9 years ago | (#13814535)

state clean, or else this will become yet another avenue for viruses and DRM to stubbornly cling to user's systems.

Just use software suspend to a flash card (1)

sanermind (512885) | about 9 years ago | (#13814542)

You can use something simmilar to this now... just use software suspend 2 [] and save to a filesystem on a flash card in your pcmcia slot.

Built in obsolescence? (2, Insightful)

draxbear (735156) | about 9 years ago | (#13814544)

Isn't there a lifespan on NAND flash memory in terms of read/write. I'm wondering how they have dealt with this. I realize the amount of read/writes required is quite high, but this application is far beyond your typical memory key or camera situation in terms of activity.

It isn't the BOOT time... (2, Insightful)

jjeffrey (558890) | about 9 years ago | (#13814549)

My XP laptop boots in a time that seems pefectly fine to me, dosen't bother me at all.

What bothers me is the login time. The *worst* thing being that even when the desktop and taskbar appear, there is still another 30 seconds before the machine is usable.

This seems like a big usability problem to me - I don't think it should be there until it is ready, otherwise the user gets very frustrated trying to click on a button that just wont play while the hard drive continues to thrash around.

Also, I think that 30 seconds is a bit lond to load a profile...

Boot times (5, Insightful)

ashground (760276) | about 9 years ago | (#13814553)

Actually, yesterday I took a stopwatch to my computers to compare their boot times (comparing my new PowerBook G4 1670 with 1gb of RAM and my old Athlon 1700+ desktop with 768mb of RAM).

Both computers are running a similar load of software at boot. The PC boots with Palm Desktop, Rainlender, and a web server (Abyss) while the Mac boots with Quicksilver and a web server (Apache). Other than that, everything else is pretty standard--audio drivers, video drivers, tablet drivers, and so on. Most of these things are present on both computers. The Mac is a month or two old, the PC hasn't been formatted in two years or so.

Everything timed at home with a stopwatch.

First up--the amount of time it takes from pushing the power button until you have a usable login screen.
Mac--139 seconds
PC--38 seconds

Next--the amount of time it takes from entering your password until you have an idle workspace (on Windows, this was when things stopped loading in the system tray, on OSX this was when the Finder menu appeared completely).
Mac--50 seconds
PC--9 seconds

So, complete boot time (plus whatever time it takes to enter a username and/or password)...
Mac--189 seconds
PC--47 seconds

Finally--the amount of time from the time you click "shutdown" until your computer is powered off.
Mac--53 seconds
PC--11 seconds

So, the time it takes to do a complete reboot...
Mac--242 seconds
PC--58 seconds

Instant-on would be fantastic if it could recover from crashes. There's nothing more frustrating than waiting three minutes for my laptop to boot.

Reboot fixes and patents pending (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | about 9 years ago | (#13814555)

Every windows support help desk I've ever called up has invariably said did you try Rebooting ?

Also this *innovation* is merely a box booting off flash card - no moving parts, no spin-up time and truly random access (disks are random cylinder, but serial track access). Essentially this would mean that we have a new form of OS on a motherboard which is probably locked down with security certs and all that.

I'm not dissing the implementation - but as far as the idea goes it's a simple solution for a simple problem. Thanks to your (only if you are American) USPTO, it is already patented as well (twice) :-
And none of these are by intel - I suppose intel has already paid up ...
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