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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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Fast Hibernate
By Yungblood on 3/14/2006 9:19:34 AM , Rating: 2
If the size was large enough, could this not be used as a "fast hibernate" for desktops in the future? Intel are finally becoming power concious after all.

RE: Fast Hibernate
By heulenwolf on 3/14/2006 10:39:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, it could be used for hibernate. Windows XP sets aside as much hard drive space as you have physical memory when hibernation is enabled. The drawbacks are:
1) You can't use that space for anything else
2) At 512 MB and 1 GB sizes, the advantage of the NAND Flash's quicker response time is overcome by its slower transfer rate relative to hard drives - a hard drive will restore your session much faster
3) Matching (or exceeding) your memory size becomes a significant expense as standard RAM sizes increase. As others have stated, you may be better off getting that much more ram for greater performance and using standby instead of hibernate.

These disadvantages are all contingent upon future OS's doing things the way XP currently does. If Vista redesigns hibernate, for example, then some of these disadvantages may become obsolete.

The one advantage NAND maintains in this scenario is that it takes less power to restore your system from NAND than from a hard drive.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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