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The first non-static "Santa Rosa" platform
ECS gives a glimpse into the future

When DailyTech stopped by ECS's Computex booth today, we found a notebook sitting by itself with no name tag or description whatsoever. We asked a few ECS reps if they had any inclination as to what was powering this mysterious 15.4" notebook, but no one knew its true identity -- that is until we grabbed an ECS Asia Pacific (APAC) Notebook Product Manager. He informed us that the nameless notebook was based on Intel’s upcoming Santa Rosa platform which replaces Napa.

Intel's Santa Rosa platform, which is due out in Q1 2007, supports Merom-based Core 2 Duo processors. Santa Rosa will also use a new wireless networking chip codenamed Kedron to replace the venerable Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG card. Kedron will be based on the 802.11n networking protocol and will be backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g. The Santa Rosa platform will also feature Robson technology. Robson allows NAND flash memory to be used on the motherboard to cache critical OS system files. As a result, boot times are decreased 4-5 times that over current systems.

It should be interesting to see how much battery life and performance can be increased by using Robson technology in addition to flash-based hard drives as demonstrated by Samsung. The future is definitely looking bright for us mobile users out there.

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Won't Robson run out of cycles?
By protosv on 6/6/2006 3:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
While Robson will provide faster boot times, isn't it true that NAND flash memory has a limited number of read/write cycles before sectors start to fail? Wouldn't an HDD, with its high number of read/writes only be able to effectively use the flash memory for a limited number of times before it becomse useless?

By epsilonparadox on 6/6/2006 3:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
If its just the OS on there, then it shouldn't matter unless you're constantly installing new OS.

RE: Won't Robson run out of cycles?
By TomZ on 6/6/2006 3:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
NAND flash typically has 100,000 write cycles, plus most of the time, a write-levelling algorithm is used to make sure that they are used evenly.

I'll bet the 100K number is just based on today's technologies and will improve going forward.

RE: Won't Robson run out of cycles?
By Phynaz on 6/6/2006 4:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think the 100,000 cycle number is old. If I recall it's in the millions now.

RE: Won't Robson run out of cycles?
By TomZ on 6/6/2006 4:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
Could be, but most references I saw talked about 100,000 cycles, e.g.,

I know that NOR flash commonly goes up to 1,000,000 cycles, however.

By retrospooty on 6/6/2006 6:46:25 PM , Rating: 2
Whats the difference... Lets assume you reload your OS 10x a day. If 100,000 writes is the rating, then your notebook's flash will last 27 years 100,000/365= 274/10= 27 years.

By DallasTexas on 6/6/2006 3:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
Good observation but a NAND controller (hardware) has ECC built in and a NAND file manager (installable) is able to do "wear-leveling" as implied above as well as block reallocation much like a HDD controller remaps bad sectors.

Also, faster boot is just one positive here. Faster application load, lower energy consumption and buffering will result in a significant platform level improvement. Super Intel technology here.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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