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.
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.