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Hardware Technology

Intel Slashes Computer Startup Times 435

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the an-end-run-around-the-bsod dept.
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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Intel Slashes Computer Startup Times

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  • I wonder (Score:4, Insightful)

    by venya (757733) on Monday October 17, 2005 @11:59PM (#13814278) Homepage
    Hmm... I hope this doesnt require big changes to computer architecture...
    • by Monstard (855195) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:02AM (#13814295)
      I hope this is real and not vapor-ware. I've been waiting for instant start for 20 years.
      • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:07AM (#13814334) Homepage
        Man, you need to upgrade your hardware if it takes THAT long to boot your system!
        • by saskboy (600063)
          Things like Digital Cameras would benefit from this instant start technology. Really there's no reason I can fathom why they don't start instantly already. It's a blessed camera for gosh sakes, the only variables when it "boots" is how much memory is available. I'm sure people lose good pictures all the time because they don't anticipate the 3 seconds for the zoom lens to pop out, and the computer to get ready or do whatever it does.
          • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @01:58AM (#13814770)
            Most of the boot time of a camera isn't memory loading, its hardware initialization and calibration.
            • by new500 (128819) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:23AM (#13814860)
              You complain about the zoom extending. Uhu, have you looked at compact multi-element zoom designs? 12 or more elements, many or even most of which geared independantly is not uncommon. The longer the zoom - comsumer guys want optical 10 times zooms, which would be unheard of in a professional lens for many other considerations (predominantly aperture speed and distortion characteristics) and that means even more complicated designs, even allowing small lenses are easier and simpler to design. Now try shifting all those elements _accurately_ with a tiny low voltage low torque servo (see why it's low torque here - too fe2w turns possible in such a small space to get a focus throw long enough to try to do this quickly and accurately and repeatably*). This is why my piezo-wave-effect ring-motor driven Nikkor zoom is several times more expensive of itself than almost any digicam.

              Got the idea?

              To the above poster - i sure hope there's not much calibration going on when i boot my Nikon. Unless it's to compensate for working temperature effects, if i've spent time and effort having a lens tuned to how i like it (yes this doesn't just happen, it's common) i want it to be left alone at that spec. Now that even modest digicams such as the Fuji F10/11 boot instantly and respond extremely quickly, there's simply no excuse for slow electronics and (electronic) shutter save at the real budget segment.

              * even some (sadly many) professional photogs insist on continuing the myth that because the lens / sensor is small, everything remains sharp because the DOF (depth of field) is greater in those conditions. Er, DOF is a psychological effect which is a function of the print enlargement factor, print size, viewing distance and airy dic resolving limit - so the assumption is not true at equivalent apertures, hence the need even in very small "format" cameras to _still_ focus accurately, in OP's case, sadly, slowly too. The effect observed is anecdotally true however at small print sizes like 6" by 4".
              • Having worked in firmware, I'm sure there is. While I haven't done cameras, I have done scanners. Light levels, color levels, gain, dc bias, etc. All of those things need to be calibrated on the fly, and recalibrated occasionally. Temperature effects on the circuit boards caused problems on some of my projects. I'd be surprised if 2/3 of the startup time wasn't necessary cal.
                • I'll give you circuit cal. In particular i mentioned temperature calibration (a real issue for many photographics situations) But not in the way i specifically mentioned, which certainly wasn't a generic comment. "Light levels, color levels, gain, dc bias, etc" Of the first two on the list how on earth do you calibrate without reference sources? When i switch on my cam, it has a lens cap on and shutter closed, so that i guess allows the CD to reference a dark frame. However when i calibrate a (handheld) lig
      • by Sloppy (14984)
        I've been waiting for instant start for 20 years.
        Uh.. 20 years ago, you probably had it. My VIC-20 took less than a second from powerup to the READY prompt. My Amiga 500 was slower, but still a lot faster than anything modern. My Amiga 3000 was even slower, because I had it do more. My 5-year-old Linux boxes are even slower to boot than that.

        Computers just keep getting slower. I'm afraid to see how slow a new dual-Opteron machine is.

    • Re:I wonder (Score:2, Funny)

      by jthorpe (545911)
      It won't - it's just a new advanced marketecture from Intel.
    • Re:I wonder (Score:2, Interesting)

      by michelcultivo (524114)
      And how long does it take to boot Mac OSX?
  • by cdrdude (904978) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:00AM (#13814287) Journal
    The real reason more informatin will be revealed later is that their computers are still booting up!
  • Hmmm....... (Score:5, Funny)

    by _Sharp'r_ (649297) <[sharper] [at] [booksunderreview.com]> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:01AM (#13814291) Homepage Journal
    So are we going to all be expected to hibernate our Robson's now?

    Why does this sound like a CowboyNeal joke to me?
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:02AM (#13814298)
    Would we get a Robson Crusoe?
  • Apple? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by great throwdini (118430) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:02AM (#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?"

    ...one can dream.

  • by cxreg (44671) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:02AM (#13814303) Homepage Journal
    you're booting too often
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
      • Newer versions of Windows require very little rebooting; the remainiing things that require a reboot aren't routine tasks for the vast majority of users. Only MAJOR applications, in general, require a reboot. WindowsUpdate patches and such virtually never require a restart. My current uptime (XP) is just over 28 days, and I've installed and uninstalled lots of things in that time. No crashes in months and months and months either, and I frequently use VS6, Access/Excel, Photoshop, and a few other large apps
    • Perhaps.
      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 b
    • 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.
    • by twitter (104583)
      If this kind if thing is a concern, you're booting too often.

      And "quick boot" won't help. The reason you are booting too often is because the OS you use is buggy and unstable, probably the one with an "insane" goal of 30 days uptime that currently has to be booted daily.

      You also suffer from a single screen GUI, so you can't easily work on more than one thing at a time.

      My laptop six year old laptop stays up longer than that. I take it down to get around buggy bios which sometimes won't work the vga ou

    • by Comatose51 (687974) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @01:03AM (#13814588) Homepage
      Windows XP user, can't help it.

      I kid, I kid.

      I reboot maybe once a week. However, I also work in IT and a reboot really does solve a great majority of problems on the platform. It's not so much the OS as other programs. The worst part is that Windows doesn't have an unconditional kill so some process just never dies and never lets go of all the files and handles. So when you go to restart the program, it fails because a previous instance is still hanging onto the files/handles. So we have to reboot the machine.

      The thing that drags when we reboot our big Dell workstations isn't so much loading the OS as loading other programs and the SCSI detection process. Then there's the log in script that runs. Robson will only really help with a small chunk of the total boot-up time. As our computers get more networked, I expect network lag to drag us down as well during boot-time.

      • by quantum bit (225091) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @01:40AM (#13814713) Journal
        The worst part is that Windows doesn't have an unconditional kill so some process just never dies and never lets go of all the files and handles.

        Yes it does. Killing a process from task manager is the same thing as kill -9. When the process dies it unconditionally releases all file handles, mutexes, and any other resources that it had open.

        The only time that won't work is if the process is stuck in a system call somewhere (i.e. in the kernel). That usually means buggy device drivers which unfortunately are all too common in the Windows world. It could also be a bona-fide kernel bug, though those are fairly rare (but I do know of one way to cause a vfs lockup on any version of NT -- including fully patched 2k3 server -- without admin rights).

        I see the same thing happen all the time on Linux. For example if a process is stuck trying to read a file that's on an nfs server that has become unreachable, not even kill -9 will get rid of it. Even *BSD sometimes gets unkillable processes in cases where the underlying hardware has gone to lunch. I see it sometimes with flaky CD burners, for example.
        • Yes it does. Killing a process from task manager is the same thing as kill -9.

          ROTFL.

          Unix "kill -9" will terminate any process, regardless of the process' attempts to keep going. Windows task manager will kill almost any, but not all processes, most of the time. But when you really need it, it turns out you hit that "almost" part.

          The difference is, in unix type systems, SIGTERM and SIGKILL are handled by the OS and the process is only informed of them (so it can try to shut down properly), in Windows, the pr
          • by quantum bit (225091) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:43AM (#13816605) Journal
            The difference is, in unix type systems, SIGTERM and SIGKILL are handled by the OS and the process is only informed of them (so it can try to shut down properly), in Windows, the process is being asked nicely to close. Windows process is free to ignore these events.

            No, no, and no. It's true that in the "Tasks" or "Applications" tab, hitting End Task will send a request (WM_QUIT) to exit. That's not what I'm talking about. I mean the Processes tab. That is handled by the OS; it routes through Win32 first but ends up at NtTerminateProcess (ZwTerminateProcess). Go read the API reference or even the DDK if you don't believe me. Maybe in the dark days of Win9x that was true, but the NT kernel is a real OS, no matter what other crap you layer on top of it.

            There are only three states a process can be in where it's unkillable.

            1. "Access denied". This happens on some system processes because they run as the user SYSTEM (equivalent to root), where your task manager process is not. The security descriptor on those processes is set so that nobody except SYSTEM (not even Administrators) can kill them. They can be killed by running task manager as SYSTEM. There are various methods to run a process under the system account; the easiest is by using the "at" command to have the scheduler service start it. Newer versions of task manager also have a list of processes it will refuse to kill, but you can still kill them by using pskill [sysinternals.com] or some other third-party utility that has no such restrictions.

            2. Process is stuck in the kernel somewhere. Happens when system calls never return, which isn't supposed to happen. Often due to bad drivers -- even with flaky hardware it SHOULD timeout eventually. I've seen add-on firewall software that hooks the TCP stack and can cause this condition. Sometimes you can get one unstuck by kicking the kernel in the head (i.e. removing or stopping the offending device), otherwise a reboot is the only way to clear it. Unless you're running a checked build with a remote serial debugger, but not many people outside of driver developers do that.

            3. Process has a debugger attached. In this case, simply kill the debugger instead.
    • Ever switch on a laptop? I've got a T42 and I swear laptop hdd's are like 10 times slower that desktop hdd's. I think something like this would be nice.
    • by hazem (472289) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @01:48AM (#13814737) Journal
      My box at work is a win2k. I come in, turn it on, and then go make a liter of tea. When I come back, it's just popping up to leg me log in. I log in, then go down to the vending machine 4 floors down (walking both ways) to get a snikers or something and come back. Right about that time, it's finally doing all it's post-login stuff and I'm ready to work. That's a good 10 minutes out of my day.

      I don't know what I'll do if they make the damn thing boot up immediately. My boss would probably expect me to start working too.

      Not all progress is a good thing!
    • You care about your energy use?
  • by dj245 (732906) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:03AM (#13814305) Homepage
    Stuff that will be revealed at a later date, if market conditions warrant its release.
  • My theory (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:03AM (#13814307) Homepage
    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.
  • From TFA (Score:5, Funny)

    by mincognito (839071) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:03AM (#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.
    • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:43AM (#13814498) Homepage
      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.com], 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.

      • by NotAnotherReboot (262125) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:16AM (#13814832)
        Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but Acrobat 7 finally fixed the issue of loading a bazillion plugins at startup that almost no one uses. I believe it now dynamically loads them as needed.

        Load times for Acrobat 7 vs. Acrobat 6 are clearly far less. The fix often mentioned is to delete/move non-key plugins from the Acrobat plugin folder, but their solution finally fixes the problem in an elegant way.
  • by BondGamer (724662) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:07AM (#13814333) Journal
    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.
  • by ZombieRoboNinja (905329) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:10AM (#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...
  • Faster to? (Score:4, Funny)

    by SWroclawski (95770) <serge.wroclawski@org> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:13AM (#13814357) Homepage
    If I were using Windows, I could start my computer in seconds.

    And have it then crash in... seconds.
  • Has anyone RTFA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ricardo (43461) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:15AM (#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.
  • by Chrismith (911614) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:15AM (#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.

    • 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.
  • ...it'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?

  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:22AM (#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.

    • 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?
    • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:47AM (#13817183) Homepage Journal
      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.

      The reality ain't so hot. In the meantime, your network connections have dropped. Your Kerberos ticket or domain login has expired. Your clock has drifted but your NTP client hasn't noticed that it hadn't been running in hours.

      There's nothing earth shattering that can't be explicitly dealt with, but the problem is that there are a million and one little things that you'd never think of that have to be accounted for. It'd be like you waking up from a year-long coma, and realizing that you'd lost your job and your girlfriend even though it only felt like you'd been away for five minutes.

  • DOH! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:25AM (#13814420) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

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

    Mystery solved.
  • 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 se
  • Uses for fast boot (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clickme (563404)
    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...
  • 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 pe
  • Debian has released advanced software technology [debian.org] that has rendered the need to reboot obsolete, threatening the adoption of Intel's recent vapor into the marketplace.
  • by Caspian (99221) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:50AM (#13814528)
    (The message to be displayed when the cache gets corrupt...)

    *dodges tomatoes*
  • state clean, or else this will become yet another avenue for viruses and DRM to stubbornly cling to user's systems.
  • You can use something simmilar to this now... just use software suspend 2 [suspend2.net] and save to a filesystem on a flash card in your pcmcia slot.
  • by draxbear (735156)
    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.
    • If you figure that the Flash will survive up to 100,000 write cycles, then if you rewrite it ten times a day, it'll last 27 years. I doubt your boot configuration will change that often. And 100,000 cycles is a lot lower than the "rated" lifetime of modern Flash, not to mention that the "actual" lifetime can be a lot longer with appropriate load-leveling and error recovery.
  • 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
  • Boot times (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ashground (760276) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:57AM (#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.

    • Re:Boot times (Score:4, Informative)

      by amadeusb4 (531146) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @01:23AM (#13814662) Homepage
      To reduce boot, login and shutdown times, upgrade to Tiger (10.4). Here are times for mine(PB G4 with 768MB running 10.4.0):
      • boot to login = 29 sec.
      • login = ~25 sec (extended by startup items like iCal and stickies)
      • shutdown = 11 sec
      These numbers are a huge improvement to 10.3.9 running on my cube but then again the cube is nearly 5 years old.

      Regarding the non-volatile booting, I would like to point out that my C-64 was already doing that.

    • One thing kind of disconcerting about my Powerbook G4 1.2(something) is that it hangs on the "Apple Logo" screen for what seems like forever (more than 30 seconds). I'm always wondering if it has hung, although the rational brain tells me this logo is covering up both the firmware and the kernel boot process. Once it gets past that, the user mode starts up lightning quick.

      However, XP just rules the roost for fast booting. I've heard people accuse Windows of "cheating", but I think the fact is that they comb
    • Re:Boot times (Score:4, Informative)

      by nick this (22998) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:05AM (#13814788) Journal
      Yes... osx boot times completely suck. That's why I only reboot after updates.

      Time from opening lid of powerboot to idle desktop: 2-3 sec.
      Time from closing lid of powerbook to glowing white "sleep" light: 4-5 seconds, but doesn't much matter.

      I wouldn't want to be called an apologist or anything, but my laptop seems *way* faster to me than my xp box, just because my pb is essentially instant-on, what with the quick sleep times. It is annoying when you have to do a full boot though. Although 10.4 is some better in this regard than 10.3. Guess it's dictated by usage. Perhaps they spent time optimizing sleep times, not boot times, in that they expected people to sleep more often. Dunno.

      • Re:Boot times (Score:3, Informative)

        by prockcore (543967)
        That's why I only reboot after updates.

        I'm even worse. I tend to leave the Software Update "The new software requires your computer to reboot now" window sitting in background for days. Sometimes it stays open until Apple releases a new update that also need a reboot.

        It's also the biggest reason I hate Safari... a browser update shouldn't require a reboot. WebKit shouldn't be that tied to the OS.
    • Re:Boot times (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TimmyDee (713324) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:37AM (#13815067) Homepage Journal
      I'm sorry, I realize this is a non-scientific comparison, but this is anything but scientific. You're comparing a laptop, which likely has a 5400 rpm drive, to a desktop, which likely has a 7200 rpm drive. One of the major limiting factors at bootup is the disk. With so much seeking and reading going on, a difference in disk speed will be a huge hit to the laptop -- any laptop.

      Also, comparing Mac OS X 10.3 to XP SP2 (as you failed to note in your original post) is also a bit bunk. Apple completely rewrote the boot sequence for 10.4 and, as a result, has dramatically decreased boot time.

      Oh, and one more thing, you PowerBook has more memory. Memory tests happen at startup. The extra 256 MB of RAM may add a few seconds to the boot sequence.

      I admit I'm an Apple fan, but we need to have a level playing field if we're going to compare these things.
  • 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 simp

  • Dual Boots (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whogben (919335) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @01:13AM (#13814631)
    I think this could be most interesting with regard to dual boots - especially with regard to Mactels with Windows onboard. You can switch operating systems without rebooting, or without going through all the loading and calculation involved with rebooting. Virtual PC has a "Save PC state on shutdown" option which already does this. When you quit virtual PC, everything its doing is simply stored, and recalled very fast when you reopen this. Implementing this for x operating systems on your Mactel can't be impossible. Each OS stores itself and then restores the one you want before terminating itself - you could switch from Linux to OS-X to XP in as little as 20 seconds each change!
  • by Goth Biker Babe (311502) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:42AM (#13815638) Homepage Journal
    Up to about 1996 my regular computer was one that booted virtually instantaniously. It's just that it didn't run Windows, Mac OS or Linux. RISC OS (as mentioned on Slashdot a few days ago) was/is in ROM/FLASH and was there the moment the machine started. I held off moving over to a PC/Linux basically because of boot times. Admittedly with linux you just leave the machine on so it's not an issue but Windows was/is a real pain.
  • Yaawwnn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stumbles (602007) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:25AM (#13815785)
    Well LinuxBIOS has been getting boot up times in the 3 second range for a while. Nothing new move on. http://www.linuxbios.org/index.php/Main_Page [linuxbios.org]

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