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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.

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