We've been finding out all about Robson, the technology that will bring flash memory storage onto your motherboard.
Intel calls it a 'platform accelerator' and whilst initial implementations will be for notebooks, it will eventually arrive on the desktop too. Robson works with Vista's ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive technologies.
These two Vista technologies use flash memory to cache data rather than writing it to the hard drive. Since flash is faster and lower power than hard disk storage, this results in better performance and better battery life. Intel claims that Robson can half the time it takes to load an application and also halve the time it takes to resume a Vista machine from standby.
The Vista implementations can also use other forums of flash storage - such as USB keys or flash built into 'hybrid' hard drives, but Intel says that Robson offers the best mix of performance, cost, and reliability. It works with any SATA hard drive and will come in a variety of form factors for integration, such as ExpressCard, PCI Express and motherboard integrated.
Robson can technically work with Linux and Mac, if the software support is built in. Most modules will come shipped with 1GB of NAND flash, which appears to be the optimum amount for Vista. Intel will sell the technology to system builders, and will probably also sell it as an add-in technology.
Robson is scheduled to hit at the beginning of next year, to co-incide with Vista.