Intel Rapid Start technology coming to Linux (unofficially)

Intel’s Rapid Start technology is a system that allows recent Windows computers to resume from deep sleep in 6 seconds or less. Soon you may also be able to achieve the same thing on a PC running a Linux-based operating system.

Intel Rapid Start

Rapid Start is basically a combination of hardware and software — with most of the software action taking place at the firmware level. Intel works with PC makers to enable support for the technology on Windows computers, but developer Matthew Garrett has figured out how to get Intel Rapid Start to work on a Linux system.

He’s already submitted a patch that could end up in the next Linux kernel (version 3.11) which would enable support for Rapid Start — although users might still need to customize some disk partitions to get things working on their computers.

Here’s how Intel Rapid Start works: When you close the lid on a laptop with Rapid Start, your data is saved in RAM. After a certain period of time, that data is silently moved to a solid state drive and the computer enters a deeper sleep level in order to save power — but it’s not quite as deep as hibernation. Then when you press the power button, the data is recovered from the SSD and you can pick up where you left off.

What Garrett’s figured out how to do is allow the same thing to happen on a PC running Linux. One catch is the system requires a solid state drive. It won’t work at all on computers which only have hard drives.

That makes some sense, since SSDs are generally much faster than HDDs. But you’d probably get some amount of a speed bump if you could use a Rapid Start-like setup on a system with a hard drive as well.

It could take a while before it’s easy to set up a computer running Ubuntu, Fedora, or another GNU/Linux operating system to use Intel Rapid Start. But now it looks like it’s at least possible.

via Phoronix

  • BoloMKXXVIII

    While I am glad this technology is finding its way into linux, I am not sure it will benefit me very much. I have one laptop in which I have an SSD installed. I have not timed it but it already boots very fast.

    • Poto

      Ya, Rapid Start requires an SSD anyway (on Windows too). I just shutdown nowadays when I have an SSD. You can’t go much lower power than that.

      I guess this will benefit those who don’t want to reopen the software they last were using to the last state it was in. Also, those who have hybrid drives because they need the larger and cheaper storage. I know I’m getting space issues on my 256 GB SSD due to multiple virtual machines and large data files numeric software uses/generates.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jean-Luc-Aufranc/100000690503162 Jean-Luc Aufranc

    When I switch to suspend mode in my Linux desktop (about ~10W power consumption), it just takes about 2 seconds to resume. I wonder how rapid start technology improves that.

    • Poto

      As the article says, it’ll improve it by going into a deeper suspend state but not quite hibernate. That’ll save even more power and not add much to the resume time.

      Also, this is for notebooks.

      • John Morris

        Better RTFA before I say something and sound dumb. Ok, it is like I thought… it IS hibernation. Only they don’t call it that and because Microsoft is dumb they let the BIOS do the heavy lifting instead of depending on eternally buggy Windows driver support. Exchanging it for eternally buggy ACPI BIOSes. Yea!

        What I got from the article is they don’t trust Microsoft to get hibernation right but apparently they trust them now to at least make suspend work. So they let Windows suspend then the BIOS wakes up after a preset time and instead of restarting the OS and letting it decide to hibernate the BIOS just does it on it’s own. Then on power up it restores RAM and everything else and then lets Windows wake up from suspend, it never having been told about the loss of power. Many old APM based machines did something pretty similar, with hibernation being mostly a BIOS based feature requiring a dedicated hibernation partition. The wheel turns.

        About the only benefit I can see is that since the BIOS does it they can write out and recover the normally untouchable areas the SMBIOS uses. And if the OEM & Intel are really clever they might be able to bypass some of the BIOS’s hardware initialization steps on boot up by simply loading the stuff back from the hibernation file.

      • Logos

        Hibernate never really worked reliably on both Windows and Linux. It’s so bad even some distros disable it by default.

        With the new Connected Standby feature in Windows 8, maybe the strict hardware requirements for it will make it reliable and there wouldn’t be much need for traditional standby and hibernate anymore.