Windows Vista's SuperFetch and ReadyBoost Analyzed


SuperFetch takes care of buffering applications proactively; ReadyBoost provides the additional memory space to do so. Both new features cannot make systems faster than they are; which means that power-hungry applications do not benefit from them. SuperFetch uses available main memory space that may have been unused under Windows XP, and ReadyBoost utilizes a mature and cheap technology by means of USB 2.0 Flash memory devices to provide additional memory capacity for the SuperFetch feature. With only a little "learning", Vista will know which applications are most important for you, and it will preload them into available main memory and onto the ReadyBoost device. In short: Vista succeeds in utilizing existing resources and technology to provide more balanced performance.

The results are impressive: Using both features, Windows Vista shows off how it can effectively reduce application launch times to provide a better performance experience with your everyday software. At only 512 MB RAM, application launch times decrease from 9 seconds (OpenOffice Writer 2.1) and 10 seconds (Outlook 2007) to 2-4 seconds only. Adding our 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash stick helped to shorten launch times for these applications to 2-3 seconds only. The next conclusion is that Windows Vista with only 512 MB RAM is no fun at all, because applications start much faster only by having 1 GB of RAM. In fact, both Outlook 2007 and OpenOffice Writer 2.1 start even faster on a fresh Windows Vista installation than on our SuperFetch-trained and ReadyBoost-enabled system at only 512 MB.

Having 2 GB of RAM reduced application launch times even more, but now we're talking about fractions of a second. But again: If you study our results carefully, you'll realize that it makes sense plugging an unused high-speed USB 2.0 Flash device into a USB 2.0 port: Application responsiveness at lauch does still benefit!

Although the technology helps to make best use of what you already have, we recommend having at least 1 GB of RAM before you even think of installing Vista. Enthusiasts and power users should not start the Vista voyage with less than 2 GB RAM, because you'll not only want to provide memory space for SuperFetch; you should also think of your running applications. Give Vista as much memory as you can, and it will thank you by serving you quicker.

Join our discussion on this topic

  • Trashing the harddrive every time you close a big app... to load in a bunch of "guesses", that get thrown out and over written by the next big app you load, is a waste of resources and puts 2 times the wear and tear on your harddrive.

    Think about it. You have a house. You move in some furniture. You don't like the furniture, so you take it out. While you are deciding what next to put in, a little magic fairy guesses what furniture you might like, buys it on your credit card, and pays movers to move it in.

    You're still at the store, you finally decide what furniture you want... you buy it, pay movers to deliver it, and find your house full of crap furniture you didn't want that the fairy guessed you wanted. Maybe he got it right, but more than likely he got it wrong. You have to throw out this furniture, which takes a little time, and then move in your furniture.

    It would of been cheaper and faster if the magic fairy had done nothing and left your house empty until you decided what next you wanted to do.

    This happens over and over, every time you close one app, and open another.

    If you are grandma and have lots of ram you're not using, because all you do is run wordpad and one IE window, superfetch works great. Wooo, look, paint just opened right up. But if you are a power user who pushes their ram to the limit all the time and has fifty million windows open... or a laptop user on batteries... superfetch sucks ass and should be disabled.

    Power users, do the right thing, shoot the fairy and take back your credit card.