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Intel to Speed Hard Drive Access

Intel is working on a disk caching system that will not only offer faster access to the data on your HDD, but also reduce the power consumption. The mechanical nature of the HDD makes it the slowest area to access data from, and has not kept pace with the advancements in other commodities.

Codenamed “Robson” by Intel, the idea is to use flash memory as a large buffer for the HDD in conjunction with an intelligent pre-fetcher. Microsoft is trying to get HDD manufacturers to add this ability to their HDD’s, but Intel is proposing to add it to the motherboard. Whether this would be as a slot for the memory to be added or built in has not been determined yet.

What you end up with is a system that accesses the HDD less frequently, saving power, and the data being accessed from the cache is much faster than accessing it from the HDD. Synthetic benchmarks are all well and good, but Intel also demonstrated how Robson might perform in a real-world scenario. During the Digital Home Keynote, two gamers loaded up Battlefield 2. Both were systems equipped with Pentium 955 Extreme Edition CPUs and ATI CrossFire X1900s. One system implemented Robson, the other was stock. The system with Robson booted Battlefield 2 and loaded the level nearly 30 seconds ahead of the standard system.

With that kind of performance, they can’t get this technology out fast enough.


Posted by Jeff


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