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Ram drive information/questions

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October 29, 2011 10:20:08 AM

I've got 16 GB of Kingston HyperX ram which is obviously more than I need or even use for computing tasks. I've seen some good things about ram drives and so I got a couple questions.

If I make a ram drive, can I somehow bolster my OS boot speeds with the ram drive? I'm using a crucial M4 SSD as a boot drive right now but I've read that ram drives are a lot faster than anything else.

What's the best practical use for a ram drive, say 8 gigs or so? My programs like Office that I have installed on my SSD pretty much boot instantly, but I do have some stuff on my HDD like BF3. Any performance increases to be had there? Any and all suggestions helpful, thanks.
a c 82 G Storage
October 29, 2011 4:53:19 PM

Quote:
If I make a ram drive, can I somehow bolster my OS boot speeds with the ram drive?
No because the RAM drive doesn't yet exist when you boot your OS and all files stored in a RAM drive are lost as soon as you shut the system down.

You could copy the BF3 files to a RAM drive, but I doubt you'll notice a performance difference.
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a c 415 G Storage
October 29, 2011 5:58:34 PM

For the most part RAM drives are pretty useless on modern systems with lots of memory, because:

1) You still have to read the stuff from the hard drive in order to get it into the RAM drive (because RAM drives loose their contents on shutdown) - this means that the first use of a file still takes just as long.

2) Modern operating systems cache disk reads and writes in RAM anyway. Every MB you allocate to a RAM drive is a MB taken away from the disk cache. The disk cache itself is acting like a kind of automatic and transparent RAM drive.

There are certain limited circumstances in which a RAM drive can be useful. For example if you have an 8GB machine with a 32-bit OS, a RAM drive with the intelligence to access the memory beyond the 4GB limit would help. But in that scenario you're a lot better off just using a 64-bit OS and letting it manage that extra memory as a disk cache.

Another example is if you have a specific file that you want instant access to, even though you don't access it often and there's a lot of other disk activity that might force it out of the OS's RAM cache. Putting that file into a RAM drive would work well - but it's a pretty specific and unusual scenario.
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October 29, 2011 6:15:19 PM

I see, well that's a little disappointing but thanks for the answers.
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