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Turbo Memory

The new generation of the mobile Centrino Duo platform acquired a few completely new features. one of them is the component called Turbo Memory (codenamed Robson). Its addition to the today’s mobile platform became one more Intel’s response to the launch of Windows Vista operating system (besides the improvement of the graphics core in order to speed up the Aero interface). Intel Turbo Memory is intended to speed up HDD operations thanks to an additional cache using regular NAND Flash memory.

In fact, Turbo Memory is none other but a controller connected to the PCI Express x1 bus that features 512MB or 1GB of Flash memory. However, the OS doesn’t see this controller as an additional hard drive. It is designed to work exclusively with ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive Technologies available in Vista. These technologies perform read and write caching of the most frequently requested files, which should theoretically speed up the disk subsystem performance during OS and applications loading and on exiting the Hybernate state thanks to short NAND Flash access time.

I have to say that ReadyBoost function may be available to Vista users even without the Intel Turbo Memory controller, it may be enabled with a regular USB-Flash drive. However, Intel’s technology boasts higher bus bandwidth between the Flash memory and the disk subsystem. Moreover, Turbo Memory modules are much more economical.

However, you shouldn’t think that ReadyBoost technology speeds up the system dramatically. For example, the tests performed in desktop systems revealed that it is really efficient only when there is very little RAM and slow hard disk drives installed. Neither of these is the case in contemporary notebooks. But Intel Turbo Memory still is very beneficial especially for mobile platforms. Its major advantage is not the increased performance, but extended battery life. Flash memory disk cache lets you use the HDD less frequently and hence the overall system power consumption lowers.

 
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