Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:16 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "The most visible part of Windows Vista is the Aero interface, and while we can't deny that it looks very swish we find it very hard to get excited by a shiny new GUI. Instead, we're looking forward to new Vista hardware, which includes a new use for the humble USB memory key and much, much more. So what will the ultimate Windows Vista notebook offer?"
Order by: Score:
RE
by Kroc on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:41 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Featuring one half of ten minutes battery life!
I kid.

Reply Score: 5

Scary
by merkoth on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:52 UTC
merkoth
Member since:
2006-09-22

FTA: SideShow uses a secondary screen and a cut-down OS - which we assume is a form of Windows Mobile - so you can check email, look up a phone number or check your schedule without the need to start Vista.

Two MS OSes in just one laptop...

Just kidding ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Scary
by lifo2 on Wed 24th Jan 2007 13:47 UTC in reply to "Scary"
lifo2 Member since:
2006-07-13

That means you will have to pay for the two licences ?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Scary
by merkoth on Wed 24th Jan 2007 17:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Scary"
merkoth Member since:
2006-09-22

That means you will have to pay for the two licences ?

Since it's been labeled as a Windows Vista feature, I don't think so.

Reply Score: 1

funy
by Drawnstories_studios on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 22:07 UTC
Drawnstories_studios
Member since:
2005-12-12

that'd be pretty funy if I saw a little screen next to a desktop. ready access to the future of computing!

Reply Score: 1

Hmm....
by Cass on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 23:20 UTC
Cass
Member since:
2006-03-17

Love the SSD card idea, like the harddisk and flash combo for longer battery, keep the rest ...

Reply Score: 1

Is "ReadyBoost" as good as it seems?
by h3rman on Wed 24th Jan 2007 00:29 UTC
h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

You simply plug in a USB Flash drive (...) Windows Vista adds an extra option, to earmark the drive for ReadyBoost.
Designate the key as ReadyBoost memory, and Windows uses it as a system resource, making it dead simple and cheap to add 2GB or 4GB of memory to the melting pot. (...) it's pure genius for a desktop PC where you can simply plug a key in the back and forget about it.


When I heard about this, I thought it was an interesting invention by MS. Wel, it obviously is interesting. A bit like moving your swap-partition to the flash drive instantly.

However, RAM is not flash. Flash "wears out" significantly, when there are such frequent read-write actions (which happens when you use it like RAM/swap), as someone pointed out to me in a discussion on whether the Linux kernel would be capable of the same thing. So it seems not to be a very effective solution; slower than real RAM too.

Maybe after all it is worth the investment, if you really do want Vista and have it run faster, of just opening up the machine and adding some real RAM.

Reply Score: 5

CowMan Member since:
2006-09-26

The situation will be more "un-ideal" that that. USB is too slow for 'swap-use'. MythTV compiles liked to dump 2 or 3 gb of stuff into my 1gb of RAM, so one-time I decided to try adding a 2gb USB key as a swap drive.. slow as hell. The only redeeming quality was that it continued to compile.
Increasing the swap partition size on the hard drive resulted in way better performance. Hard drives are pretty cheap these days, too.

Reply Score: 2

Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

Of course you have to use such "inventions" to accelerate Vista. But if you're using a real operating system with able developers, there is just no need for such nonsense.

Reply Score: 4

Rayz Member since:
2006-06-24

I'll be curious to see what you say, when the idea is copied onto other operating systems.

Reply Score: 3

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

They (IMHO) won't be able as there is probable an MS Patent Application already in the USPTO's InTray.
Unless, you are Novell...

Reply Score: 1

rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

Why in god's name would you want to copy this idea onto another system? Using flash as RAM is really high on a the list of things you don't want to do. It's a far better idea to (gasp!) fix the VM and swap algorithms to properly handle high memory loads. Of course, given that Windows has been swap-happy for the last decade or so, even on large memory systems, I'm not holding my breath on that happening...

Reply Score: 5

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

If that's the case, then if you turn that off, it'll be the same as a linux box (I use Ubuntu currently) opening OpenOffice, slow as hell. I have never found any version of Linux (using KDE or Gnome) to be faster at any given task than Windows XP, they are all bloated. Big Apps take time to load, and other OS's face the same problems

Reply Score: 3

dmdavis Member since:
2005-07-06

Sure, I'm with you in not being a Windows fan. But Microsoft has added an interesting, potentially useful feature that can improve ones system, and that's pretty cool. Let's give credit where credit is due. If a Linux developer had first implemented this idea, they wouldn't get this kind of reaction. Anything that furthers computer technology and can make things run better is a good thing, I think.

Reply Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Let's give credit where credit is due. If a Linux developer had first implemented this idea, they wouldn't get this kind of reaction

Give credit where credit is due? But this has been possible under Linux for ages! And I suppose FreeBSDs and such can do it just as easily!

Reply Score: 1

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

When I heard about this, I thought it was an interesting invention by MS. Wel, it obviously is interesting. A bit like moving your swap-partition to the flash drive instantly.

*Cough*MS, invention*cough*

In the days of minicomputers, there used to be three types of "memory"/storage: RAM for the computer to store the OS and programs and work on data, hard disks to store the results of work, and so-called "fixed disks" to store swap/paging data. These "fixed disks" had one head for every cylinder (a group of tracks formed by each vertically-aligned sector on all platters of the disk), whereas hard disks had one or two heads for every platter. The fact that there was one head for every cylinder, of course, made them faster than hard disks.

So this idea is just the same idea, reimplemented with modern technology.

Reply Score: 3

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

>>When I heard about this, I thought it was an interesting invention by MS. Wel, it obviously is interesting. A bit like moving your swap-partition to the flash drive instantly.

>*Cough*MS, invention*cough*


Sorry for that.
I was trying to be nice to Microsoft for a change.
Figure that wasn't necessary. ;)

Edited 2007-01-24 07:33

Reply Score: 3

r3m0t Member since:
2005-07-25

ReadyBoost does not make a USB drive act as RAM, nor as swap. It caches something or other (not sure what), but even if you disconnect the USB drive without doing it from the ReadyBoost interface, the computer continues to work perfectly.

Apparently most USB flash drives have a fast area and a slow area. ReadyBoost only uses the fast area, so not every USB drive is compatible, and not all of the capacity will be usable.

Finally, an MS blogger claimed that they had considered the possibility of wearing out a flash drive, and toned down the aggressiveness of the caching to reduce the number of writes.


Still, I think the technology is pointless.

Reply Score: 1

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

ReadyBoost does not make a USB drive act as RAM, nor as swap. It caches something or other (not sure what), but even if you disconnect the USB drive without doing it from the ReadyBoost interface, the computer continues to work perfectly.

Fine, but.. isn't all that merely semantics?
USB Flash isn't RAM, nor can it ever behave like that. It's flash. Call this thing external swap, call it anything you like, but something must be going on in that USB drive?

So I agree with you: to me too, it's an increasingly pointless idea. Just get some more RAM, most people have no idea what to ask for their birthdays anyway. ;)

Reply Score: 2

USB ram is a dumb idea
by unclefester on Wed 24th Jan 2007 08:18 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

USB flash ram is cheaper than proper ram. It is much slower to read and write. The problem is also that flash ram has a limited read/write lifetime. Using it as a hard drive with very frequent rewrites will shorten the life of the stick considerably.

Reply Score: 1

usb flash RW
by REM2000 on Wed 24th Jan 2007 10:34 UTC
REM2000
Member since:
2006-07-25

I either watched a program or have seen this question brought up when Readyboost was annouced. The Microsoft engineers have an Algorithm to reduce wear and tear on the USB key.

I think this was a really clever idea, the main target for this technology is notebook computers, which usually have a low amount of RAM and more importantly slower hard disks (Also usually a lot less in capacity, although that doesn't really matter). Offloading some of the virtual memory to a 17 2GB USB Key sounds like a great idea when you wish to squeeze a little more performance out of a laptop.

Desktop computer do not need apply, as these usually have large fast hard disks and plenty of RAM, if not plenty of RAM then a RAM upgrade is more cost effective than a couple of USB keys anyway.

Reply Score: 1

SP1
by DeKoning on Wed 24th Jan 2007 11:07 UTC
DeKoning
Member since:
2006-01-21

More here: <a href="http://apcmag.com/5098/microsoft_kick_starts_vista_sp1"></a&...

Edited 2007-01-24 11:08

Reply Score: 1

ReadyBoost?
by WereCatf on Wed 24th Jan 2007 11:30 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

Swapping memory to a USB mem stick isn't really such a huge ground-breaking feature, IMHO. As many have pointed out, flash memory does wear out quite quickly if it used a lot. And the speed? Well, I'd suppose even a normal laptop hdd performs faster than a regular USB stick, plus it has more capacity, so what is really the point? Windows will use it anyway for swap. And on a desktop pc? Well, I know for sure that my hard drives are way faster than any of my USB sticks.

I'd rather say this is more of a clever PR trick: this sounds like a really cool feature to people who don't really know all the details and just hear the words "just plug your USB stick in and you get instantly more memory!". And of course, this seems like a totally new invention that is only possible with Windows. But in reality, it's been possible for ages..I, myself, have had to use USB flash as a temporary swap under Linux quite a good while ago already.

Reply Score: 2

Linux
by unavowed on Wed 24th Jan 2007 11:38 UTC
unavowed
Member since:
2006-03-23

On linux you can use any partition or file for the purposes of swap: if your USB disk's first partition is represented by /dev/sda1 you just need to do: mkswap /dev/sda1; swapon /dev/sda1 and there you have it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Linux
by WereCatf on Wed 24th Jan 2007 12:17 UTC in reply to "Linux"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

That works, but it seems to me that Windows still allows you to also write files to the flash, ie. not use the whole thing. So a more proper way would be to create a certain size swapfile there (with f.ex. dd if=/dev/zero of=usb.swap bs=1024k count=300 that'd create 300M swapfile) and active swap on it. That'd leave the rest of the stick still usable for anything else.

Reply Score: 1

Sounds good...
by load_mic on Wed 24th Jan 2007 13:39 UTC
load_mic
Member since:
2005-12-13

This all sounds great but does anyone have an idea of the weight and battery life of this thing?

Reply Score: 1

Ultimate Vista Laptop Offer!
by twenex on Wed 24th Jan 2007 14:40 UTC
twenex
Member since:
2006-04-21

Complete with voucher for a free upgrade to MacOS X, Haiku, AmigaOS, the Linux distro of your choice or Windows XP!

Edited 2007-01-24 14:41

Reply Score: 2

hmm...
by helf on Wed 24th Jan 2007 17:34 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

Unless I'm *horribly* mistaken, readyboost is NOT putting swap/page on a usb key. It's caching files that are used often to it. Thats a *tad* different...

Reply Score: 2