Intel Turbo Memory Gets Lukewarm Welcome from Mobo Producers

Despite of various demonstrations of how additional NAND flash cache can improve performance of modern computers and take advantage of Microsoft Windows Vista additional capabilities, mainboard makers are still reluctant to install appropriate hardware on their products.

Intel Turbo Memory (previously code-named Robson) technology allows Microsoft Windows Vista to pre-cache certain types of data and speed up its loading by using special NAND flash-based cache. The new operating system features an array of technologies, including SuperFetch, ReadyBoost, ReadyDrive, and ReadyBoot that can take advantage of the flash cache, which can also be located on a system's hard disk drive. But Intel Turbo Memory does not come for free. At this point makers of mainboards can either install a special Turbo Memory 1GB module for desktops, which costs $23, or install a special type of Intel's I/O controllers and a flash memory chip. The latter option would cost motherboard makers considerably less: up to $3 for a south bridge and from $7 to $10 a 1GB flash chip or chips.

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News source: Xbit Labs

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16 Comments

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If flash memory was more fast that HD then you can put the virtual memory pointing at flash unit, you don't really need any new technology to do it.

My brother has a new laptop on pre-order with 1GB Robson Turbo memory option for $40. Should be here in the next week or two so I am curious as to the performance it will offer.

"Intel Turbo Memory", AKA leaving your PC on standby for instant booting. :laugh:

Well, for laptops it would make some sense I suppose? Maybe not.

this reminds me of the L3 cache chips we used to put on older motherboards. i like the sound of readyboot. power up and you're already there. :P

I believe that was L2 Cache. Not 3. My second build was a P-75 with 512 L2 that had a slot on the MB. That thing kicked arse back in the day....

Yeah, it's the same idea, but it's going over the PCIe 1x slot, I think those old slots where different, they sat right next to the cpu and used the same bus or w/e. Anyways, this should give you a boost in performence. We'll need to see benchmarks, but one area where it should help is in cutting down the work your HDD does, if you have a good size of this flash, you can load the pagefile and other things into it, then your HDDs can take a rest more.

I found the "ready boost" to be marginal at best. When I put Vista on my laptop, with a gig of ram, then used
a 1 gig sandisk flash drive, the performance benefit was maybe at best 1-2%. After installing 2 gig of ram,
the performance increase was HUGE. Running a few programs then rebooting, and letting vista cache everything,
then installing a 1 gig flash drive, I saw no "boost" to Vista at all.
Is the embedded flash ram suppose to work similar to the tag ram back in the old 386 days?
I think the old saying is still true. There isn't anything better than real ram.

...

It really depends on the flash media you have used. You really need some decent flash media to see the difference. Also, more RAM would be more beneficial than a flash drive which is a lot slower.

You need a fast flash USB key to get better performence. Nothing will beat more RAM though, but these internal readyboost/turbocache cards will give you better performence than a USB key. The idea is the same, but the turbo cache cards sit on the mobo, using a PCIe 1x slot iirc. This is basically a intel stop gap type setup until more hybrid HDDs with large flash cache become norm, or everyone switches to SSD drives when they become cheap.

Readyboost AND Readyboost.... thats a lot of Readyboost....!
These articles really need to be proof read before they go up on the front page...

*EDIT* Changed