With 24GB of Memory, Does a RAMDisk Still Make Any Sense?

Discussion in 'SSDs & Data Storage' started by Wyodiver, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. Wyodiver

    Wyodiver [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,868
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Hi, all.

    I rarely go over 8GB of RAM usage. Would creating a RAMDisk be worthwhile?

    What got me thinking about it is from this link:

    https://fossbytes.com/how-to-use-ram-as-hard-drive-how-to-create-ramdisk/

    It's mainly hypothetical as most of my often played games are on SSDs.

    But, still, would it be worth a try?


    I haven't really heard anything about RAMDisks in years.



    Thanks all!

    W
     
  2. brucethemoose

    brucethemoose Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    181
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    I'd probably run extra RAM as cache for a HDD or slow SATA SSD, instead of using it as a drive.

    If it's non-critical data, you get particularly nice speedups by using it as a write buffer (with the caveat that you might lose a second of writes or so if the power cuts out). Not sure what program does that these days... I used to use FancyCache, and it was utterly fantastic, but it turned into expensive enterprise software called PrimoCache IIRC.
     
    Wyodiver likes this.
  3. Wyodiver

    Wyodiver [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,868
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Yeah, that would make sense. But even if this experiment looks like it's going to cost me a penny then I will give up on it. My SSDs are fine. I'm just looking for a way to tap unused resources.

    I am stuck at SATA 2, so it's a head scratcher.

    Thanks a lot, though!

    Wyo
     
  4. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    No, not worth it. Between SSD performance, and Windows (and every other major OS's) built-in caching mechanisms, a RAM disk for applications isn't going to get you much of anything.

    RAM disks do still have their place, such as running an embedded OS from read-only media, or holding a file that needs IOPS performance that even a high-end SSD can't handle (e.g., a large SQL DB). Nut outside of limited circumstances it's not worth the added complexity.
     
    Wyodiver likes this.
  5. DTN107

    DTN107 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    4,556
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Are you not using Google Chrome?

    6G3dvEsiR7ROX65jp__LDUUqf0USiyYVjsMov7hMnNo.jpg
     
  6. Wyodiver

    Wyodiver [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,868
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Well, just curious.
     
  7. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

    Messages:
    5,367
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Best course of action: with 24GB of RAM, set up a 4-8GB RAMdisk using this tool (it's incredibly tiny and incredibly useful, can even be used to mount ISOs if you want, very awesome and barely 600KB in size which is the epitome of tight efficient code):

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/imdisk-toolkit/

    In the options of that program is a setting that will allow you to move all your TMP/TEMP environment variable activities - every time a temporary file of any kind is created by and for the OS or applications - to the RAMdisk. Since TMP/TEMP files are obviously temporary by nature, even if the power were suddenly cut you wouldn't be losing anything at all really.

    The primary benefit to this: since RAM is so hella fast, even the fastest NVMe SSDs pale in comparison and so do the Optane drives too, anything related to making temp files - when applications are installed, when there's processing being done, etc - will have zero storage bottleneck to have to deal with.

    The secondary benefit: because temp files are constantly being created and deleted (they should be) it alleviates the need to add write cycles aka PE cycles to the SSD if you have one. Yes, SSDs are fast, but why bother doing thousands of cell writes for no good reason, that's why RAM exists, so make use of it since you've got so much of it to spare.

    You can also, if you're interested, move the browser caches to the RAMdisk as well (I always use R: for the drive letter and just call it RAMdisk, I also use NTFS compression on it since it's so fast and in today's world it can't hurt, in some instances it can almost double the effective throughput of even the RAMdisk which is typically 15GB/s or more). Since you said you have an SATA II based machine I'm going to presume it's a much older computer overall, so every little boost to your system performance in terms of the storage media is going to make a huge difference overall.

    You can use portable applications and software too, that's what I do. I have a 4GB RAMdisk set up (using that ImDisk Toolkit, as I have 16GB of RAM in my laptop now), and I have Firefox Portable, FirefoxESR Portable, Chrome Portable, Brave Portable, and a half dozen other portable apps that run directly from the RAMdisk itself. The RAMdisk is set to mirror it's contents to an image file on my SSD every 10 minutes but in almost a year of this setup I've never had one issue of any kind, never lost one byte of data. I just bought: a Samsung 860 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD for my primary drive, and I have a Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 120GB card in the slot, along with a 750GB Hitachi 7200 rpm drive in the UltraBay too, no need for an internal optical drive and yes it's a ThinkPad T420s hence the UltraBay reference).

    I have a 1GB static page file on the 860 EVO, a 1GB static page file on the 850 EVO, and a 1GB page file on the Hitachi (at the very beginning of the drive, the fastest possible access point), and it runs like a dream without any issues whatsoever. The multiple page files mean the OS can easily make use of them at any time with multiple drives in operation - even as fast as SSDs are if it's busy doing a read or write operation for data files, it can't be used for the page file so, multiple drives with multiple pages files spread across them means the overall system is much smoother and more efficient in operation.

    There's a lot that can be done with a lot of spare RAM, I assure you, but most people don't bother to do it. That's their loss, I suppose, I've been using RAMdisks since the early 1980s when I used to boot my Amiga 500 from a RAMdisk which is something that even today's best computers can't do and the Amigas could do it natively. :)
     
  8. Wyodiver

    Wyodiver [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,868
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004


    Thanks! I'll definitely look into it.
     
  9. Neapolitan6th

    Neapolitan6th Gawd

    Messages:
    566
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2016
    Great stuff, looking forward to messing around with this!
     
    Wyodiver likes this.
  10. likeman

    likeman Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    If your main drive is an ssd or even more so a NVME ssd I would not really bother with ram drives, you be lucky if QD goes past 3 normal use even then the ssd Will be humming along like nothing is happening seems more like a niche thing to do running a ram disk to make stuff open more instantly than what they would already do off a ssd (more useful if you doing video editing and you want scrub/main file on ram)

    Your very unlikely to burn throw the p/e cycles for normal use and temporary files are not aggressively made (note reads don't count towards used p/e as for most part reads are unlimited )

    Using the page file on a hdd is miles slower then just leaving it on the ssd if your activity using page file anyway then you need more ram in the first place (temporarily files are not written as much as you say they are not enough to actually count towards used p/e cycles) if it was not for quirks of applications or more so Games I would not have a page file enabled at all (I just have it set to 1gb max so keeps applications happy when they allocate it and don't crash )
     
    Wyodiver likes this.
  11. Luke M

    Luke M Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    267
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    In a way, the more RAM you have, the less useful a RAM disk is. That's because with abundant memory your stuff won't get kicked out of the OS disk cache (which uses all your free memory). It's therefore not necessary to force things to stay in RAM by putting them in a RAM disk.
     
    Wyodiver likes this.
  12. likeman

    likeman Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    Even with a ram disk the ram disk is only for read boosting of loading of files or say large files (4-8k video editing) it does not do caching, if you run out of ram Due to using a ram disk you start using page file to offload stuff in ram in turn slowing system down due to page file use and extra cpu use

    If you want faster load times use a Samsung ssd and use rapid mode but it's more effective on writes then reads ( effective is amd use the new StoreMI and whatever Intel version is)
     
  13. SvenBent

    SvenBent 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,151
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008

    Please no.
    having the sansung software do the same thing as windows does is not an improvement. to the cotnrary running rapid mode slow you down.
    and yes i am expecting you are showing my test now with software that uses uncached read and writes that got a huge boost because sansung does not acknwoeldge the flag and cache it anyway.
    basically just cheating in benchmark. that is an old trick back from the dos day.
    Real world testing sansung rapid mode is slower then just letting windows handle that ram for diskcache


    OP
    Gotta realise that moving ram to ramdisk moves ram out of the diskcache. so unless you have a very specific load ramdisk does not help much if at all. you are just moving your "speed" around
    Also what you might think is memory usage might not be memory usage. most ppl think that what they see in taskmanager is ram usage which it is not
    You ram/memory model is way more complex than used/unused ram
     
  14. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,162
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2015
    One of things I do to just use the extra ram is to run chrome in incognito mode which automatically writes to ram vs disk. I've noticed a speed improvement just from this alone.

    Great post on ram drives Tiberian! I too remember them from the 1990s--but ram was expensive then. We only used it for benchmarking to see how fast a system could really transfer a file. Then we'd use that as our target when optimizing the hd. Smartdrv did a pretty decent job too when it was a pure cache hit.
     
    d3athf1sh likes this.
  15. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

    Messages:
    24,683
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    Windows does a pretty good job of caching itself these days.

    If you have A LOT of RAM, there are some special circumstances where it could make sense to use a RAMdisk, but in general it's more trouble than it is worth.

    I've had 64GB in my desktop for th elast 4 years, after I decomissioned my old server, and had all this spare RAM and nothing to do with it, so I slapped it in the desktop.

    I used to play Red Orchestra 2 A LOT, and got frustrated that even with a top notch SSD, I couldn't reliably load maps fast enough to freely choose the class I wanted, so I used DataRam's Ramdisk software to create an image of the entire game, and all of it's user folder files, and symlinked those to the RAMdisk. After that, I was always the first in every map, and had some freedom to choose the more popular classes.

    The benefit here is you force the software to load it all into RAM in advance, and don't have to wait for that first read off of the non-volatile disk for it to be cached.

    I haven't used a RAMdisk in quite a few years though. In most cases it just doesn't buy you anything.
     
  16. margrave

    margrave [H]Lite

    Messages:
    91
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2018
    Yeah, don't bother. RAM disk is a 1980s solution to a problem that no longer exists. Skip it.
     
    daglesj and Wyodiver like this.
  17. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

    Messages:
    5,367
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    You do realize that this place, this [H]ardForum along with [H]ard|OCP, is an enthusiast tech site, right? Meaning the stuff I described earlier is precisely the kind of stuff people like me and the enthusiasts that populate this forum/site are into doing to absolutely maximize every last 1/100th of a percent of the performance that our hardware and our software is truly capable of, right?

    Right? :D

    Computers will never ever ever be fast enough for most of us around here, even if everything we did daily ran from RAM at 35GB/s raw bandwidth it's still too slow. :p
     
  18. TheBloodEagle

    TheBloodEagle n00bie

    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2014
    Can't remember exactly but I do recall a product on Steam that can auto-cache games onto a RAM drive (place all or most of the games folder/file content). I think it would be fun to experiment and try it out. Found it:

     
  19. likeman

    likeman Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    Its not a question of getting more performance it's that there is no point to it as does not gain you anything really more that a ssd already provides (even just a sata based ssd) , ram disks are not preloading common used data Into ram like StoreMI/fuzedrive, Intel optain or alike does they all use learning to see what needs loading into RAM and ssd/optain ssd caching (assuming hdd is your main drive)

    even Windows own service superfetch from Vista upwards preloads common used files into ram, (something tells me in my mind that it disables automatically on ssds because the ssd can read fast enough to make it really pointless to preload, I have to check on my 2 systems as one windows 7 and 10)

    If you need ramdive I can see its useful scrubbing time line on a 4k/8k video as even a ssd can sometimes not keep up (or some sort of SQL database use) but not for running day to day programs, games or temp files (witch might be needed when doing updates) as your cpu is the limit (when you have a SSD) not io limited
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  20. Wyodiver

    Wyodiver [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,868
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Ya know, I think I'm going to give the whole RAMDISK thing a pass. It really is an iffy solution to a nonexistent problem.

    Thanks a lot for the feedback, though.
     
  21. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

    Messages:
    5,367
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    In other words, you don't get it.

    I get it. :D
     
  22. likeman

    likeman Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
  23. Wyodiver

    Wyodiver [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,868
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004

    Hiya, I've read that "Rapid Mode" is useless, chews up SSD space, and kind of is a way to lose data. As I know that I don't know everything, I could be wrong. Can you explain your case for it?
     
  24. JargonGR

    JargonGR Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    313
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    I was also looking into ways to take advantage of my 64GB RAM that rarely exceeds 14GB of usage and only when I am using several Creative Cloud Apps at the same time (Big PSDs, Illustrator, Bridge and of course After Effects / hog) along Office, Font Management and many browsing windows with lots of tabs.

    My motherboard came with Ramcache and RamDisk software but have not tried using it yet mainly because of reports from users of no tangible benefit.

    My main SSD is a Samsung 960 Pro and I don't feel that program launches are any slow.
     
  25. likeman

    likeman Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    seams that samsung RAPID mode works on the lines of SenseMI (learns what LBA blocks need loading into ram) samsung RAPID mode does not use any sort of SSD caching its soly ram so does not write any more data then normally (just preloads commonly used LBA blocks into ram and keeps recently created files in ram as well)

    you get some bonkers numbers when you do benchmarks as RAPID mode as any newly created files are left in the cache so you get ram speeds results instead of ssd results (the data is still written to the ssd) as it tinkers with direct read/Write access and intercepts them so they can be accelerated

    on some systems it can cause issues when RAPID mode (BSOD on the samsung rapid driver) probably incompatible with some antivirus or software or device driver (you won't know until you try it)
     
    Wyodiver likes this.
  26. likeman

    likeman Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    can't enable RAPID mode on NVME ssds like any of the 900 samsung ssds (as far as i know) as they are fast enough as they are (or that they can't tinker with the direct IO access on NVME ssds)

    ramdisk are only useful for large datasets that require it so your right your not going to see any meaningful benefits loading programs and games into it if you already have a NVME SSD or even to a point a SATA based SSD as your normally CPU limited when running games and programs
     
  27. JargonGR

    JargonGR Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    313
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    Yeah, I did not even bother testing it after doing my research.

    The only thing I am interested is an Intel Optane 905 or 900 for system drive when prices drop and then 2X 4TB SATA SSDs again when they drop in price. I might grab a 1TB 860 EVO that I can pass on to my son's PC later on though just for installing games (just casual steam gaming ). It will take a while for prices to reach the point that I can dump 18TB HDDs in favor of SSDs and that is for my main PC. I have roughly another 25TB in several WD Hard Drives in another system but those are movies mostly so I don't care about speed.
     
  28. likeman

    likeman Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    yep for mass storage HDDs are the way to go , i would probably just go with one large SSD and one (or more) large HDDs, a 1TB SSD should do for most purposes at the moment, ssds above 1TB are a tad prohibitively expensive a the moment compared to a HDD you can get considerable more
     
  29. JargonGR

    JargonGR Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    313
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    10-12TB HDDs (I recently got a WD Gold 10TB) aren't exactly cheap either but considering the amount of space offered they are a good option and I was pleasantly surprised with the speed of the WD Gold vs WD Greens and even some REDs I have been using for years.
     
  30. thomaslfessler

    thomaslfessler Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    142
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    The 4k performance of a Ramdisk can't be beat, even on an aging x58 based system the numbers are darn impressive. I'm running 56GB of RDIMMS that can be grabbed on ebay for $40 each on a good day. I keep my code in GitHub compile on a raid-0 ramdisk and would never go back.

    Checkout a ramdisk vs a 970 pro.
    window 7-9-185.50 PM.png
    window 7-9-185.54 PM.png
     
  31. likeman

    likeman Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    again is just specific usage cases where ram drives are useful