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Curious about RAM disks

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December 17, 2012 2:56:08 PM

This is just a thought I had, it's nothing I'm planning to attempt or anything. Anyway, I don't understand much about RAM discs, but I was thinking would it be possible to have a system with a very large amount of RAM (32+GB) and then simply save a game onto a RAM disc instead of an SSD and get even better performance/load times in the game? This is just a curiosity thing and I'm wondering if anyone has tried this?

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December 17, 2012 3:10:18 PM

You have to remember that a RAM drive is volatile memory, so you lose all data on it when your computer reboots or loses power.

You can put a game on there and some people have done this. But you will have to do this each time you restart. Most people will use a RAM drive for cashing (swap file). There is software you can get though which handles the backup & restoration of the ramdisk contents before & after reboots.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAM_drive
a b } Memory
December 17, 2012 3:11:59 PM

^ Not True.

What I Use:
http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/softwar...
Free for creating a Ramdisk upto 4 Gigs, $19 (price went up) for creating a larger ramdisk.

.. Ram disk is about 10 Times faster than a SSD
.. Will slow down boot time as a large chunk of data must be read into the Ramdrive on windows load - And offloaded to Disk when system is shut down.

Not a Gamer, so can not specifically answer the question. The Ramdisk will have a significant increase in loading a large "Game map" during play (increase Sequenquential performance). If file is small (located on SSD) and typically takes only a sec then may not be worth it. If File being loaded is currently stored on a HDD, probably see a big boost.

.. If you only have Win 7 Premium you are limited to 16 gigs Ram total, so for a large Ramdisk (say >8 gigs) you would need the higher verion.
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a b } Memory
December 17, 2012 3:20:30 PM

You are going to have to copy the whole game to RAM before you can start playing which is going to take a while.

With 32GB RAM (or even 16GB), you can simply leave the game on HDD and let the OS cache game data on an as-needed basis. This is much faster than copying the whole game since only the data the game needs gets loaded from HDD only the first time it gets accessed and then the OS handles further accesses to that data from cache. Almost the same net result without any of the extra work.

While games may take 20-40GB on HDD, less than 10GB of it is likely to get accessed on a typical gaming session so 16GB should be enough to cache most game data with the game running and some more RAM to spare.

I have 16GB RAM and unless I do some memory-intensive stuff between two gaming sessions, there is hardly any HDD access when I reload the last game I played because everything is still in the cache.
a c 347 } Memory
December 17, 2012 5:47:48 PM

I use a RAM Drive, specifically RamDisk 11 Plus - http://www.superspeed.com/desktop/ramdisk.php and IMO I wouldn't use it to install 'games.' While the loading times indeed are faster they're surprisingly not as 'fast' as you'd think. Example - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&... Worst is if you use Steam and your games are beyond your RAM's capacity not to mention the risk of losing saved games and progress.

Now what a RAM Disk is really good for is Caching and Rendering, in my case I run test SQL and there's no doubt it blows a large RAID 0 SSD array away, but if for 'any' reason your PC locks or e.g. 41/63 then all of that data is 'poof' and gets reverted back to the last 'saved' state either from your last reboot or backup. It doesn't sound bad unless the last backup was 'hours' ago and e.g. any coding (your work) you did was lost.

Example of my 8GB RAM Drive partitioned from 32GB of RAM which does add ~1 minute to both the shutdown & start-up times but to me isn't any big deal vs 75% faster SQL jobs (20+ minutes shaved off).



Frankly, I have a couple games on my SSD and all of my Steam on my RAID 1 HDD array and I'm perfectly happy. Though 'serious' gamer's generally have a dedicated and transportable single large SSD, and a good choice is the newer Samsung 840's.
December 17, 2012 6:08:36 PM

I actually have a folder on a SSD, dedicated to RAMDISK images.
Using the "mklink" command in windows, I can redirect SPECIFIC game files/folders onto RAMDISK images, which I then swap as needed with 4GB image files.

For instance, I have one disk image dedicated entirely to a ".Minecraft" folder, it really smooths out the game. I have a few images, 4 total just for Battlefield 3's "Xpack" folders, which contain the Expansion pack maps.

For most games, storing game data onto a RAMDISK only helps the FIRST load when you start up the game.
Even when I had BF3 installed on an SSD, the loading times after a fresh boot was terribly slow, just over a minute per new map load. Using a RAMDISK to load maps, they loaded within 15 seconds of a cold start. Takes only 10 seconds to swap disk images.

***It will NOT improve your FPS in the games themselves! Only a few games which use massive texture streaming will be effected, I think RAGE is one of those games. And minecraft will be smoothed out as well. Not a long enough list to warrant RAMDISK's for the miniscule FPS improvement...

***The RAMDISK being volatile is irrelevant for game data, the image is stored onto a saved image file, the game installation data itself never changes, so volatility is irrelevant. Unless you get a new game update, and forget to resave the image before shutdown, you will have to re-download the patch. Otherwise just click save image to update.
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