Computers, Home Cinema, How to Guides, Smart Home, Windows

Building a Windows HTPC: Part 6 – Maximise Responsiveness With Intel Rapid Start and Smart Connect

intel-bios

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In the last part of our guide, we walked through configuring the UEFI BIOS on a typical HTPC. The example we used was from an ASUS motherboard and whilst you’ll find broad consistency on configuration options from manufacturer to manufacturer, vendors will develop bespoke features that may prove beneficial to an HTPC owner.

Whilst I’m not going to repeat the last chapter with a full rundown of the Intel NUC’s Visual BIOS (as they brand it), I do want to spend a little time highlighting two specific features – Intel Rapid Start and Smart Connect. These features are available on a number of Intel motherboards – check Intel.com for a list of supported devices.

Intel Rapid Start

Responsiveness is critical to a strong HTPC solution – when you hit the remote button, press a key or tap the touchscreen (depending on your hardware) you want your HTPC to be awake immediately and delivering your command.

Intel’s Rapid Start feature is designed to minimise the delay between your command and the Intel NUC responding when it is in Hibernation (also known as an S5 Sleep State). Intel boasts that when Rapid Start is enabled, the computer will wake from Hibernation almost as quickly as from Sleep (S3 Sleep, for the technical) with the benefit of drawing almost zero power when in that hibernation mode.

To enable Intel Rapid Start, we need to change some settings in the NUC’s BIOS before creating a separate hibernation partition on our SSD. Once that’s complete, we can get the Intel Rapid Start application downloaded, installed and configured. Before getting started, I should say that Intel Rapid Start should only be used with solid state disks, rather than conventional, mechanical hard drives.

Step 1: Configure the Intel NUC BIOS 

Boot up (or restart) the Intel NUC and press F2 during the initial start-up (known as the Power On Self Test, or POST) to enter the NUC’s Visual BIOS.

BIOS1

Click on Advanced Setup and then click Power.

BIOS2

 

You should see check boxes for Intel’s Smart Connect Technology and Rapid Start Technology. Make sure both are checked.

BIOS3

 

Press the F10 key to save your BIOS Settings and boot into Windows.

Step 2: Create a Hibernation Partition

With the BIOS set-up, we now need to create a separate partition on our SSD which Intel Rapid Start uses for Hibernation data.

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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.
  • niuguy

    Holy crap this article is wonderful. Thanks!

  • Alex

    Can you still power on the PC with the IR remote? Having to use the power button would make this feature much less attractive on an HTPC…

  • Ronny Horton

    I have look through your guide up to this point where it says to open command prompt. If you don’t have and OS installed, how can a command prompt be open. Plus you talk about windows 8 at this step and configuring a Hibernation partition. I understand how to create the partition but my question is why you talk about windows 8 when in step 7 you install windows 8. I’m just a little confused at this point. Do you mean to configure rapid start and smart connect then start the OS installation and creating the Hibernation partition prior to installing the OS. Your guide talks about windows 8 before it even is installed.

  • John Smith

    thx a lot

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