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Intel's Robson controller will bring NAND to notebook motherboards. SnowGrass is the exact same technology but for desktops - Courtesy AnandTech
Solid-state storage finally comes into mass production; although prices are still sky-high

Last week at IDF, we reported that Intel's next major mobile platform, called Santa Rosa, will feature NAND flash memory technology in order to allow devices to startup and execute programs. This technology, dubbed Robson, will improve boot times, reduce paging and be used as a general buffer between storage devices and system memory. 

Interestingly, Intel also mentioned that Robson will have a version for desktop computers called Snowgrass. The technology is currently in the works and is planned to be released after Robson. Motherboard makers will have designs that contain a slot designed to take a Snowgrass NAND module. This opens the door for users to customize their motherboards with various sizes of modules for whatever purposes they choose, and also allows the ability to upgrade NAND as it gets less and less expensive.  Remember when L2 cache used to sit on the motherboard?

Intel's current Snowgrass specification calls for a modular design, but it now appears that motherboard makers have the option of integrating the technology directly on board. There is no word yet on capacities, but for Snowgrass or Robson to really have any value over the purchase of a faster hard drive, we would have to speculate that the cost of such a module cost less than a few gigabytes of system memory.  We would not be surprised if Robson and Snowgrass have similar price  points and capacities as USB NAND at the time of launch.  Today, 4GB pen drives using NAND flash memory cost approximately $100.

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startup times on desktop
By brownba on 3/13/2006 7:01:41 PM , Rating: 2
don't want to be a hater,
but I don't think reducing the startup times on a desktop really matters.
on a laptop - yes, I see the benefit.
but I suspect most desktop users turn their computer on in the morning then don't turn it off until night, sometimes longer.
yes, other benefits are listed for this technology, but I don't think reduced startup times should be one to tout.

RE: startup times on desktop
By KristopherKubicki on 3/13/2006 7:06:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's mostly for sticking your entire page file on something that isn't your hard drive but isn't your system memory either. I see potential for that.

RE: startup times on desktop
By Furen on 3/14/2006 12:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
How about getting rid of page files and throwing an extra gig or two of ram into systems instead... or actually making windows load less useless crap instead of looking for faster ways to load the crap.

I agree that it is useful in laptops because of the power consumption benefit, in addition to the faster boot-ups.

RE: startup times on desktop
By jkostans on 3/13/2006 7:35:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah could be good for those games that don't use a loading screen like morrowind oblivion etc. Might remove studdering which would be really cool.

RE: startup times on desktop
By drinkmorejava on 3/13/2006 7:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
It can see several possible performance benefits, but with 2gigs of RAM, I can run without a pagefile no problem. In fact, about the only time I get a benefit out of it is when doing major premiere or photoshop work: they steal all of my ram. Otherwise, it's just dead space on my hard drives. So the question becomes, expensive, slow NAND, or cheaper, fast RAM. If it comes down to $100 more and only faster startup times, I think I'll stay away. Now what I'm interested in are the hybrid hard drives.

RE: startup times on desktop
By Questar on 3/13/2006 10:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
I would absolutly love to boot from flash. Here Intel, take my $100.

RE: startup times on desktop
By MrKaz on 3/14/2006 7:04:10 AM , Rating: 2
I dont need it on the notebook,
i press the power botton and the system go to hibernation.

Besides i never reboot my computer more than two times a day.

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