This Windows 10 PC has an insanely fast boot time of just 4.9 seconds

(Image: © YouTube via TomsHardware)

One of the 'holy grails' of computing is achieving an instant-on PC. We're not quite there yet—it still takes time to go through the POST routine and boot to the desktop. At the same time, the era of instant-on computing may not be all that far off. Our friends at Tom's Hardware built a desktop PC that boots to Windows 10 in just 4.9 seconds.

That time was recorded from a cold boot, not a system restart. Check it out: 

We've certainly come a long way from the days of twiddling our thumbs waiting for Windows to fully load. If you've ever serviced a PC for a friend or family member, you might have seen startup routines that register several minutes, the result of a combination of way too may startup programs, malware, and just plain old hardware.

To Microsoft's credit, Windows 10 boots pretty fast as it is, especially on a brand new PC. Cold booting to Windows 10 in under 5 seconds is still atypical, however, and requires the right combination of hardware and BIOS tweaks. Specifically, TomsHardware achieved the sub-5-second time using a single 4GB memory module and an expensive 960GB Intel Optane 905P solid state drive.

Most users probably aren't interested in spending nearly $1,300 on a storage drive for a faster boot time. On the plus side, Windows 10 does really well with SSDs in general—the same PC recorded a 5.53-second cold boot with a 1TB Samsung 970 Evo SSD, and 6.1 seconds with a 500GB Samsung 860 Evo.

There's quite bit of steps involved to see those kinds of boot times. The Tom's Hardware article details them all, while throwing out a challenge to beat its time.