Most of us would agree that one of the most tedious aspects of using a PC these days isn't so much tapping our fingers on our desk during application or game load times, as modern PCs can do this fairly quickly; rather, it's turning it on each day and watching it step through the BIOS and boot phases, followed by some HDD thrashing and pausing as it makes its way into Vista or XP over a 30 to 50 second period (which feels a lot longer, ugh).
Purchasing a solid state disk certainly helps a lot, providing you don't mind the fact that they still cost a hell of a lot more over traditional mechanical drives, yet carry with them significantly less storage capacity. However, even the use of an SSD isn't as effective as one other option that a lot of you may not even know about.
ASRock is now promoting the technology as their own exclusive 'Instant Boot' feature, but after reading over their official news release, I struggle to see how it differs to what some of us already know as being S3/STR mode, or Suspend To RAM. This power saving mode is available on nearly all modern day motherboards and combined with Vista or XP it allows the user to put their system into 'sleep' mode which effectively shuts the system down almost instantly.
But the best bit comes when you turn it back on, a small trickle of power keeping the RAM modules alive with the data held in place allows the system to quickly wake up again, bypassing the BIOS altogether and bringing up the desktop almost straight away, just like turning on a household electrical device and being ready for action. I have been using this feature on my ROG Blitz Formula for several months now and it is a true god send. I only wish I knew about its existance earlier.
I can also report from experience that there are no ill side effects in using this method to start up your system each time. You just have to make sure the power hasn't been cut to the PSU whilst in sleep (S3/STR) mode, otherwise the necessary data held in your system RAM gets wiped and a full restart is then required.
Why a lot of you may not have heard of this mode before is because oddly, to this day a lot of motherboard BIOS' seem to come shipped with their default power save mode set to S1 standby, preventing the ability of putting the system into a complete sleeping state where power is cut off to everything bar the memory on the motherboard which retains an exact image of what's needed to wake the system up promptly and near instantly.
ASRock has put together a neat little video with two systems side by side; one booting from scratch and the other booting with their Instant Boot feature. You can see just how beneficial it is to make use of this technology if you find yourself shutting your system down a few times a day. Though, there are those of us that leave our PCs on 24/7 just to avoid the waiting when it comes time to fire it back up, but maybe you'll consider changing your habits and saving some power once you see how well it works.