Experiment: Can Adding RAM Improve Your SSD's Endurance?

Test System And Benchmarks

System Hardware
HardwareDetails
CPUIntel Core i7-3770K (22 nm, Ivy Bridge, D2), 4C/4T, 3.5 GHz, 4 x 256 KB L2 Cache, 8 MB L3 Cache, w/ HD Graphics 4000, 95 W TDP, 3.9 GHz max. Turbo
Motherboard (LGA 1155)Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H WiFi, Chipset: Intel Z77 Express, BIOS: 1504
Memory
2 x 8 GB DDR3-1600 CL10-10-10-27, Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10
GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 7870 Flex, GPU: Pitcairn (1000 MHz), Graphics RAM: 2 GB GDDR5 (2400 MT/s), Stream Processors: 1280
System Drive
Samsung PM810, 256 GB, SATA 3Gb/s, MZ5PA256HMDR
Power Supply
Seasonic X-760, SS-760KM Active PFC
Drivers
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
Drivers and Settings
AMD Radeon DriverATI Catalyst 12.8 Suite for Windows 7
Intel Chipset DriverChipset Installation Utility Ver. 9.3.0.1019 
Performance Benchmarks
Adobe Photoshop CS 6 Version: 13 (64-Bit), Photomerge 7x JPG 18 Mpx images generated with Canon EOS 7D
auto-mode 
Autodesk 3d Studio Max 2010Version: 10 x64, Rendering Space Flyby Mentalray (SPECapc_3dsmax9), Frame: 248, Resolution: 1440x1080
FilezillaDownload OpenOffice
15 files 148 MB from FTP
Microsoft Visual Studio 2010Compile Chrome project (1/31/2012), with devenv.com /build Release

Benchmarks

We ran the following three benchmarks on our test system, first with 4 GB of RAM and then with 16 GB. After each run, we measured the amount of data written to the SSD using hIOmon.

  • Autodesk 3ds Max 2012: Ten pictures are rendered, each of them sporting a resolution of 1440x1080 pixels.
  • Adobe Photoshop CS6: The well-known editing app is run in automatic mode and stitches together seven partial pictures of 18 megapixels each, resulting in a huge panorama.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010: Google Chrome is compiled from source code.

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134 comments
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  • lunyone
    How is RAM at "Historic Lows"?? RAM in 2012 was about half the price today. I bought 32 gb's of RAM in late 2012 for $100 on sale. Today it's about >$200 for similar set.
  • jimmysmitty
    49803 said:
    How is RAM at "Historic Lows"?? RAM in 2012 was about half the price today. I bought 32 gb's of RAM in late 2012 for $100 on sale. Today it's about >$200 for similar set.


    Considering that 4GB of DDR2 used to cost ($250) you can easily get 32GB of DDR3. And it will go down again with DDR4 since DDR4 should have 16GB sticks in mass.
  • CommentariesAnd More
    I did feel the difference when I added 8GB RAM to my rig. It was in my pocket , not the SSD though. :P
  • agnickolov
    I've happily been running with 12GB for over 2 1/2 years now, upgraded from initially only 6GB. I probably won't be going for 24GB though, since my system is rather old running an i7-920. However, 16GB or maybe even 32GB is definitely in the cards for the next build. If only Intel were to release a CPU worth upgrading to, 4.5 years later the current Haswell i7s are not even twice faster...
  • rdc85
    IMO more test needed to see better picture, like test when gaming, light browsing office, watching movie, etc..

    I think the test in this article all high memory usage apps, the average reduction of disk write may be lower/none in light workload...

    And also what the effect if the page/swap files is moved to hdd (not in the ssd) in some computer configuration (like mine)....
  • lunyone
    149725 said:
    49803 said:
    How is RAM at "Historic Lows"?? RAM in 2012 was about half the price today. I bought 32 gb's of RAM in late 2012 for $100 on sale. Today it's about >$200 for similar set.
    Considering that 4GB of DDR2 used to cost ($250) you can easily get 32GB of DDR3. And it will go down again with DDR4 since DDR4 should have 16GB sticks in mass.

    How does this relate to my statement? I know RAM was expensive when they first came out, but over the last 6-8 months time frame RAM has more than doubled in price, so your point is just moot as far as this article is concerned, IMHO.
  • Soma42
    Is this not just reflecting the reduction of the page file? I would think that by reducing the page file down to a minimum size you would achieve the same effect. You can probably turn it off at 16GB ram, maybe even at 8GB and really increase your SSD life.
  • vinhn
    Yeah, last year, 2x4GB RAM were around ~$45, not it is ~$70. Not that I am complaining, it is low but not historic low.
  • smeezekitty
    I don't suggest putting your swap file on your SSD. It will eat up the write cycles as well as valuable gigabytes.

    Put it on your data drive instead. Although it is slower if you have enough RAM it won't be a problem.
  • smeezekitty
    Maybe this article will make 16GB not be considered such overkill now.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Hi Manuel

    I have 24GB of RAM in my workstation at work. I don't have an SSD, just two HDDs. What I've done to get a NOTICEABLE improvement in responsiveness is to create a 4GB RAM drive (I use RAMDisk from Dataram,) set it up to be present at boot and set both my user and system temp environment variables to point to the RAM drive.

    Most importantly, I've set my swap file to 16MB and put the swap file on the RAM drive too.

    Both reads and writes are down from both HDDs. Do you have time to test this type of arrangement and perhaps update the article please because I feel that this setup is a very good use of a large amount of RAM?
  • zcoot
    I was planning to get a SSD glad I saw this, might grab another 8GB of memory
  • csf60
    Very interesting article.
  • Someone Somewhere
    What arrangement of sticks did you use? The 'Test System' section only refers to 2x8GB, which can't really do 4GB.

    Also, I see there being a difference between single and dual channel.
  • knightmike
    CTRL + ALT + Delete > Start Task Manager > Performance

    After web browsing with 10 tabs open, playing World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike: GO, I have 3562 total, 1318 cached, 1421 available, and 122 free. That's 60% used and 40% available.

    Can somebody with 8 and 16GB post their results with similar usage? It would be interesting to see if the cached value changes.
  • dark_wizzie
    But for regular tasks that don't take up all of the ram... this won't help?
  • Afrospinach
    919443 said:
    I don't suggest putting your swap file on your SSD. It will eat up the write cycles as well as valuable gigabytes. Put it on your data drive instead. Although it is slower if you have enough RAM it won't be a problem.


    Why bother getting an SSD if you are going to not use it? Wearing out is usually rather exaggerated in its relevance.
  • daglesj
    Been running my 8GB system with a small 64MB swapfile on a non system HDD for quite a while. I only keep the 64MB swap for those older apps that still like to know one is there.
  • Divyanshu Sah
    i dont have any ssd but ya ram is incresing the speed of my pc.
  • CommentariesAnd More
    How about RAMDisk ? Seems like I am buying 12GB of RAM.
    I am , I seriously am.............................
  • usertests
    Should have included 8 GB, and -maybe- 32 GB.
  • gamerk316
    duh? More RAM = less paging = more performance and lower use of the HDD.

    Also remember, its not the amount of unused RAM that matters, its the amount of continual free space. If I have a 1MB data structure, I need 1MB of contiguous free RAM to store it. You could, in theory, have a Gigabyte of RAM free, but if you don't have that 1MB block, you need to store data on the HDD to make room.
  • dgingeri
    I have some SSD write reduction tactics for you: 1. lots of RAM used for a RAMDrive for your temp files. I'm running 48GB with 16 reserved for my temp RAMDrive. added bonus: temp files are cleared every time you reboot. 2. use a separate, small, cheap, slower SSD specifically for your swap file. This reduces the writes to your main drive. even with 48GB of memory, I do get activity on my swap file. I use an old OCZ Apex 60GB drive for my swap file to reduce the writes to my main Vertex 4 256GB drive. 3. an enterprise level SATA RAID controller. I have a 3ware 9750 controller with 512MB of write cache. It's great. While it may be hard to justify a $400 outlay for a controller of this type, it does make a huge difference in use. It does delay the boot time a bit, though, as it takes about 30 seconds to initialize. 4. put your games on a different SSD from your main OS drive. This distributes the wear across multiple drives, making them all last longer. Since drives perform differently under different conditions, in theory, using different drive for different purposes can improve your performance, like using a drive that handles compressible data well for your OS while using a drive that handles uncompressible data well for your games should afford some significant increases in performance. I haven't tried this one yet, as I kinda ran out of money for my upgrades after my last memory upgrade.
  • CaptainTom
    The thing is it will still take 5-10 years of heavy use to wear out the SSD. At that point someone will be using a whole other build (Maybe even with the next great thing like Always on RAM-Disks...).