Intel's TurboMemory (aka Robson): Taking Another Look

Apple's recently upgraded MacBook Pro lineup features many new or upgraded features, but one feature many expected that is not present is Intel's TurboMemory (aka Robson NAND Flash Caching).

For review, Intel's TurboMemory is a technology that embeds flash memory onto a motherboard to allow for theoretically twice as fast boot times and speed improvements to frequently used files/applications as well as increased battery life.

However, TurboMemory's effectiveness has come into doubt recently, with benchmarks showing little to no performance improvement (1, 2). As such, HP today announced that it will not be including the technology on any of its Centrino Pro notebooks. From ZDNet:

Steve Doddridge, senior notebook technology consultant for HP Personal Systems Group for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), added: "We looked at the baseline system performance of a standard system (with 1GB of RAM) without any Robson or ReadyBoost type of technology added, and we then compared that to the same system with Robson, and the same system but just with an (equivalently sized) SD card or USB stick."
[...]
The greatest improvement came as a result of adding more actual RAM to the system. "We added 1GB of RAM and saw a much higher improvement in performance compared to using any of the ReadyBoost or Robson technology," Doddridge said. He added that: "If you have enough system RAM in the system already, ReadyBoost doesn't give you a lot."

One of the key upgrades today was a boost to 2GB of RAM standard across the MacBook Pro line.

While it is premature to categorically say that Apple is not going to use TurboMemory in any of its machines, the speculation that had surrounded Apple's use of the technology may be less grounded then initially thought.

Related Forum: MacBook Pro

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