Just Curious-Building an Instant Boot PC

I'm not exactly sure where this post fits, but since it's at least peripherally related to homebuilding I put it here.

To me, one of the "holy grails" of personal computing has been the "instant on" pc. Not a PDA, but a FULL fleged desktop or notebook that is fully available with applications and all at the flick of a switch.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the fact that the OS and other software are loaded from the HDD the main reason that it take today's computers so long to boot up?

If so, then I propose this: Why not store the OS, drivers, and other critial software on a super-fast programmable flash memory drive that is connected directly to the FSB. Flash memory is so cheap now, that this seems feasible. All one would need for this is about 2-4 GB, I would think.
Maybe the answer is to ditch magnetic storage altogether and convert to all solid-state hard drives. (Now that IS cost prohibitive, I realize).

I'm thinking it probably isn't nearly as easy as this, or someone would have done it long ago. If so, how do we get to the point of having instant-boot PCs? Or is it just impossible.
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  1. Quote:
    I'm not exactly sure where this post fits, but since it's at least peripherally related to homebuilding I put it here.

    To me, one of the "holy grails" of personal computing has been the "instant on" pc. Not a PDA, but a FULL fleged desktop or notebook that is fully available with applications and all at the flick of a switch.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the fact that the OS and other software are loaded from the HDD the main reason that it take today's computers so long to boot up?

    If so, then I propose this: Why not store the OS, drivers, and other critial software on a super-fast programmable flash memory drive that is connected directly to the FSB. Flash memory is so cheap now, that this seems feasible. All one would need for this is about 2-4 GB, I would think.
    Maybe the answer is to ditch magnetic storage altogether and convert to all solid-state hard drives. (Now that IS cost prohibitive, I realize).

    I'm thinking it probably isn't nearly as easy as this, or someone would have done it long ago. If so, how do we get to the point of having instant-boot PCs? Or is it just impossible.


    Solid state disks are on the rise and Vista has avenues open for caching large parts of the OS on flash segments in hybrid hard drives. Even then, things take time to load into RAM. It will be a long time before it's "instant."
  2. The reason Bill Gates and Steve Jobs put the OS on the Hard drive and not on a plug in fast boot ROM chip is for reasons of integration and OS upgrade .
    This is because when the OS is first released it is only half finished and so service packs and upgrades are required to actually complete the work.
    The upgrades need to be woven into the fabric of the OS, so a Rom is unworkable.
    If computers were designed for example with the ability to accept an OS loaded onto boot rom or memory stick. Booting completely instantly. Possibly sold in a bubble pack ( lots of unnecessary packaging again)
    Then I think Bill Gates could be even richer than he is, because this would completely stop the download of pirate versions of Windows.
  3. The reason Bill Gates and Steve Jobs put the OS on the Hard drive and not on a plug in fast boot ROM chip is for reasons of integration and OS upgrade .
    This is because when the OS is first released it is only half finished and so service packs and upgrades are required to actually complete the work.
    The upgrades need to be woven into the fabric of the OS, so a Rom is unworkable.
    If computers were designed for example with the ability to accept an OS loaded onto boot rom or memory stick. Booting completely instantly. Possibly sold in a bubble pack ( lots of unnecessary packaging again)
    Then I think Bill Gates could be even richer than he is, because this would completely stop the download of pirate versions of Windows.
  4. Agreed with gjimmy. There's a point where all the updates need to be done so you can't really do it on a ROM chip since its read only. It may be possible in the future (I wouldn't really say it near future since it may be longer) when new technologies are developed and/or when the they manage to get the speed of the ram and hard disk to more than 5x than what the fastest currently is.
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