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

(Image credit: 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.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).