Saturday, August 13, 2011

Booting up: Three cheers for computers that start instantly. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

Apparently sometimes progress takes ~30 years; check the article link below for more details, and ponder how much energy could be saved if people who routinely leave their PCs on today (in part due to frustration about long start-up/shut-down times) switch to PCs with which start-up/shut-down is ~instant

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the IBM 5150—the first IBM personal computer, whose architecture was so widely copied that it become the basis for the entire PC industry. As you can see in this YouTube video, which shows the 5150 alongside a Compaq machine from the mid-1990s, the 5150 took about a minute and a half to boot up. The much more advanced Compaq machine takes exactly the same time. As recently as 2009, the story was the same—a typical Windows machine was still spending about 80 seconds to boot up.

It's time to rejoice, because all that's in the past. Computers these days can go from completely off to working within 30 seconds, and in some cases much faster. Apple's MacBook Air loads up in 16 seconds, and machines based on Google's cloud-based Chrome OS boast boot times of under 10 seconds. Even Windows computers are fast—with the right set-up, your Windows 7 laptop can load just as quickly as a MacBook.

Booting up: Three cheers for computers that start instantly. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

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