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Sep 8, 2011

Windows 8 Boots in 8 Seconds

How’s this for fast? Windows 8 boots in as little as 8 seconds due to a new fast startup mode that Microsoft introduced and first demoed today. Check out the video embedded below for the demonstration of Windows 8’s amazing start-up time. Any faster and it would be instantaneous. 

And in case you were wondering, that’s 8 seconds from the moment the user hits the power button on a device that’s been completely turned off. 

Windows 8 boot on steroids is the result of start-up optimizations which involve “upgrading” cold start-up with additional features of a power-saving state designed to put some components of the OS on the hard drive. 

“Our solution is a new fast startup mode which is a hybrid of traditional cold boot and resuming from hibernate,” revealed Gabe Aul, a director of program management in Windows.

This means that when customers will shut down Windows 8 machines, the operating system won’t close all user sessions as well as the services and devices in the kernel session. 

“Now here’s the key difference for Windows 8: as in Windows 7, we close the user sessions, but instead of closing the kernel session, we hibernate it. Compared to a full hibernate, which includes a lot of memory pages in use by apps, session 0 hibernation data is much smaller, which takes substantially less time to write to disk,” Aul added.

With Windows 7, the software giant overhauled the way that the platform was handling drivers, and boot times improved significantly. 

Of course, not to the impressive level of Windows 8 boot performance, but still. I should stress that the Redmond company has once again revamped the mechanism that allows the operating system to load drivers for Windows 8. 

“Another important thing to note about Windows 8’s fast startup mode is that, while we don’t do a full “Plug & Play” enumeration of all drivers, we still do initialize drivers in this mode,” Aul explained. 

“Those of you who like to cold boot in order to “freshen up” drivers and devices will be glad to know that is still effective in this new mode, even if not an identical process to a cold boot.”

Back in June 2011, I wrote an article noting that Windows 8 could deliver boot times of as little as 5 or 6 seconds, if the right hardware configuration is there. 

It appears I was right on the money, and I still believe that Windows 8 systems could boot in 6 seconds or less on machines equipped with SSDs and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).

“This new fast startup mode will yield benefits on almost all systems, whether they have a spinning HDD or a solid state drive (SSD), but for newer systems with fast SSDs it is downright amazing. Check out the video below to see for yourself,” Aul said.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Gets Launched in South Africa

Recently, Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion and wireless carrier Vodacom announced the release of BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone on the market in South Africa.

This is the thinnest BlackBerry smartphone to date, measuring only 10.5mm thick, and is also the first smartphone in RIM's Bold lineup to put together a touchscreen display with a QWERTY keyboard. 

The new handset sports the popular BlackBerry Bold design, while packing new technologies, including support for NFC (Near Field Communications), which enables users easily pair it with NFC-enabled accessories, or read SmartPoster tags. 

BlackBerry Bold 9900 features a beautiful design, with an easy-to-use QWERTY keyboard, and packs premium materials, such as a brushed stainless steel frame that enhances its looks. 

“We are excited to bring the first BlackBerry 7-based smartphone to our customers in South Africa with the BlackBerry Bold 9900,” Vodacom’s Managing Executive – Sales, Zunaid Dinath, said.

“We believe our customers will enjoy the smooth and integrated communications experience, responsive interface, stylish finish and blazingly quick performance found in this premium smartphone.”

The new BlackBerry Bold 9900 sports Liquid Graphics technology, a dedicated GPU and a fast 1.2GHz application processor, so as to provide users with the performance levels they expect from a high-end device. 

The mobile phone comes with a 5MP camera on the back, with support for HD video recording, as well as with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, microSD memory card slot to add up to 32GB of additional storage space into the mix, and built-in GPS receiver. 

Not to mention that the new device runs under the BlackBerry 7 OS, with adds improvements to the web browser and can deliver far better performance levels than previous OS releases. 

“BlackBerry 7 OS also includes a number of other pre-loaded applications and integrated functionality for increased productivity and collaboration right out of the box,” RIM notes.

AMD Confirms FX-Series CPUs Will Launch in Q4 2011

An AMD representative recently confirmed that the company's first desktop FX-Series chips based on the high-performance Bulldozer architecture will arrive in Q4 of this year, and not Q3 as initially though. 

This information was released by John Fruehe, the Director of Product Marketing for Server, Embedded and FireStream products at AMD, in the comments section of one of its blog posts were it announced the first shipments of 16-core Interlagos CPUs.

“Interlagos is a server part, there is no desktop variant. The client version of Bulldozer is Zambezi and it will launch in Q4,” said Fruehe.

The company representative refrained himself from providing any other details regarding the launch of these chips, but a report that came to light yesterday pointed out that AMD is looking at an October release.

If the October timeframe is indeed true, then AMD's FX-Series processors could arrive one month before Intel's next-generation CPUs based on the Sandy Bridge-E architecture.

Bulldozer is the code-name given to AMD's upcoming high-performance architecture that has been in development for over four years now.

Unlike the company's previous designs, Bulldozer will use a new approach that relies on a modular architecture. Each module includes two processing cores, as well as other components, and these can be paired together to form CPUs with up to eight computing cores.

The first desktop chips built using this new architecture were expected to launch in June of this year, but AMD had some troubles with the initial versions of these processors and were forced to postpone the launch for August or September of this year.

However, the new information provided by Freuhe suggests they won't be able to conform to this launch date.

Windows 8, Always a Codename, Never a Brand

Windows for the first half of 2011, and before that, even though the use of the Windows 8 moniker has already widespread, including in Redmond. 

It was Steven Sinofsky, President, Windows and Windows Live Division, who first confirmed that Windows 8 was the official codename of Windows vNext, although at the point of the confirmation, this detail was somewhat common knowledge. 

It appears that a number of people indicated to Mary-Jo Foley that Windows 8 could be a codename and nothing more beyond that. 

Sinofsky himself stressed the fact that Windows 8 might never end up as the commercial brand for the next version of Windows. 

There’s no telling what path the software giant will take when it comes down to the branding strategy for the next generation of Windows, but apparently it’s indicating that Windows 8 is actually “Windows 8.”

The inverted commas, used in the title of the latest post on the official ‘Building Windows 8’ blog and spotted by Paul Thurrott, seem to infer that Windows 8 is more of a codename and less of a brand. 

Branding-wise, Windows 8 is too similar to Windows 7. As I’ve said before, Microsoft has great expectations from Windows 8, nothing short of revolutionizing PCs, existing devices and next-generation form factors. 

With a goal set so high, the company needs a new brand to emphasize this major leap in evolution, as opposite to focusing on continuity, as Windows 8 would be interpreted in comparison to Windows 7. 

I wonder whether Microsoft’s tendency to compare Windows 8 to Windows 95 means that there’s a chance that the company might be considering a branding strategy that will produce a moniker such as Windows 12. 

Time will certainly tell, but I for one am not expecting the software giant to announce the official brand for Windows 8 until very late in the development process, when the operating system is nearly complete.

Apacer Technology Presents 16 GB RAM Module

The DRAM market has been going through a continuous decline for about a year now, or longer, and this means, among other things, that Apacer's newest product will sell for considerably less than it would otherwise have.

Apacer is a company known for, among other things, creating many memory products for a variety of purposes.

Unfortunately, this means that it has been suffering the consequences of continually falling spot prices for memory chips, the same as so many other companies, those that didn't back out of the field altogether that is.

Due to a combination of oversupply (caused by rapid manufacturing process advancement) and low demand, DRAM modules have been selling poorly.

This led to today's conditions, when even 8 GB kits are sold for the metaphorical pittance, especially compared to a year before (or two).

The main consequence of all this was the raising of the standard RAM capacity on PCs from 2 GB to 4 GB.

Another thing that some might notice is that all other implementations of random access memory have been edging closer to a new standard capacity.

The server market is one where RAM modules have always had a somewhat larger capacity limit.

Apacer now showed this by reportedly creating a new server LRDIMM (load-reduced dual in-lane memory module).

Said LRDIMM is of the DDR3 variety and has a full capacity of 16 GB, as well as an operating frequency of 1,333 MHz.

Furthermore, an aluminum heatspreader is present, there to disperse whatever heat may gather up, although the low voltage (1.35V) won't really cause overmuch caloric energy in the first place.

Both Intel-based servers and machines with CPUs from Advanced Micro Devices will be able to benefit from this latest invention on Apacer's part.

Unfortunately, no pricing information was provided in the aforementioned report, nor was it specifically said if the item is already shipping or just getting ready to do so.

AMD Sees Newly-Released 16-Core Chips as Priority

AMD may have hoped to succeed in launching the Bulldozer during the third quarter of 2011, but even with the formal release of the Interlagos, the Bulldozer is still not coming out in time. 

When Advanced Micro Devices issued a certain press release yesterday, part of the consumer base no doubt rejoiced. 

Basically, the Sunnyvale, California-based company announced it had begun shipping the first Bulldozer processors. 

Unfortunately, the downer to the news was the fact that only one chip, the 16-core Opteron 'Interlagos', was shipping to key partners. 

Apparently, as reports now have it, the company was forced to scrap its plans to push availability in the July-September period and settled for the fourth quarter instead. 

The reason Interlagos appeared first is because it is seen as a sort of priority by AMD. 

That said, various technical issues interfered with the timely completion of the AMD Opteron 'Valencia' 4200-series server units, so prospective customers have to wait until the fourth quarter of 2011. 

"Priority is shipping Interlagos right now, the industry's first x86 16-core. We have several large deals we are working to fulfill with Interlagos," said Phil Hughes, a spokesman for AMD's server division. 

"We expect to be launching 'Interlagos' in Q4, a little later than we had hoped, but still in time for server deployments in 2011," added John Fruehe, the director of product marketing for server, embedded and FireStream products at AMD. 

Speaking of the fourth quarter, there is a certain other product line that will make its appearance then, the so-called 'Zambezi' desktop series. 

Like their server cousins, they were meant to come out sooner (around June), but the initial versions proved problematic. 

Recent revelations thus mean that, ironically, even postponing the launch until August or September wasn't enough. The unlocked Llano APUs with the K moniker should debut in Q4 as well.

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After a day of test, finally starting today we're moving to a new home, previously this blog address was "dannzfay.blogspot.com" move to "dannzfay.com"

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