Boot ups given the boot?

The wait for speedy startups may soon be over. New nonvolatile memory technology enables PCs to forgo boot-up by returning users to where they left off. Researchers say the technology is for real and they have criticized memory makers for being slow to move to the new technology.

Despite quantum leaps in PC processing speed, computers can still take several minutes to load their operating systems and let you get to work. The Achilles' heel of the start-up sequence has been waiting for software to load into the RAM, which forgets everything when the power is shut off.

That waiting period, when it's multiplied by hundreds of users, adds up to significant lost productivity for IT managers, according to Rich Wawrzyniak, senior analyst at Semico Research. Wawrzyniak also said that PC memory's inability to retain data when power outages occur can also cut into productivity. But researchers developing new materials to replace silicon-based RAM say that "bootless" PCs could be on the shelves within a few years. Sharp Laboratories of America last week signed a licensing agreement with the University of Houston (UH) to move "thin film memory" out of the lab and into the fabrication plant.

In 1999, Alex Ignatiev, director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at UH, discovered that he could greatly modify the ability of a material called perovskite to resist or conduct electricity by using a very low-power current. Alternating perovskite between its low and high resistive condition gives the "on or off" state necessary to store binary information, which is the basis for computing. Ignatiev said the material also retains its state without a power source, a nonvolatile property that RAM has sorely lacked.

Until then I'll carry on with my laptop's hibernation feature... it could be quite a wait ;)

News source: Wired News

View: PCs to Kick Rebooting Habit

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