Flash memory could slash boot time of PCs

By Derek Sooman on March 9, 2006, 7:02 PM
Computers utilising Flash memory as part of Intelís "Robson" Flash cache technology could slash the boot time of computers by 50%, and provide power saving benefits to Merom and Conroe based systems, it has been revealed.

According to Intel, the systems demonstrated used a 256 MB cache unit on the motherboard for frequently accessed files. Rather than reading those files from the hard drive, Flash memory provides faster access to data by making them available through a separate, faster channel.
Tests demonstrated by Intel of the technology at this year's Spring IDF show that the Flash cache brought a significant performance increase to the boot time of applications. Intel has said that it could in future integrate much greater amounts of Flash memory, which could be used to integrate portions of the operating system and other applications.

User Comments: 9

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Mictlantecuhtli said:
How many times would that Flash memory be usable? They have a limited amount of writes before dying.
Nic said:
Why not add an another 256MB and get 'Instant On'? :=).
crossfire851 said:
[b]Originally posted by Nic:[/b][quote]Why not add an another 256MB and get 'Instant On'? :=).[/quote]It would not increase the read/wright time only more storageWere they commparing this to a 15k rpm drive or 2.4kn rpm drive???
Nic said:
[b]Originally posted by Nic:[/b][quote]Why not add an another 256MB and get 'Instant On'? :=).[/quote]For anyone wondering, this is called sarcasm...
DragonMaster said:
They say it's frequently used files, so it means that they aren't stored off the HDD. Why don't they just use DDR for this? If power and backup goes out, the files just have to be copied again from the HDD.
ThomasNews said:
Seems like we need to be looking for better solutions than "add more RAM".
enasni said:
If it has a limited number of uses then whats to say that they just can't replace it via the net. Constant updates and renewals could do it, but then again what would something like that cost to keep in constant motion.
dipswitch said:
Just a few clarifications:1) Adding more flash memory will almost definitely increase the data rate, since the extra flash is placed in parallel to double the output rate.2) I believe the ultimate goal of Robson flash is indeed "Instant On"3) The improvement in access time for Flash over HD's is independent of the rpm of the HD. The key feature of Flash is it's time to first access (or random access), which is around 10 micro-seconds for NAND. Any Hard Drive, regardless of rpm, will take many Milli-Seconds before the first byte is available. Of course, the subsequent burst of data is much faster for HD, which is where the balance of size and speed trade off.4) And, finally, the endurance of Flash memory is about 100,000 cycles. So if the computer is turned on/off ten times a day, the Flash should last over 25 years. Note that the endurance, as Mictlantecuhtli points out, is an important spec nonetheless. Much of the flash available on the market has poor endurance since many new foundries, particularly from China, are flooding the market.-Flash Designer
DragonMaster said:
[quote] Seems like we need to be looking for better solutions than "add more RAM". [/quote]RAM's faster. Maybe they could keep a separate mem. controller or reserve some memory area for that?
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