Strategies for using RAM Disk

Started by kencl

Strategies for using RAM Disk   26 October 2012, 12:08

Hi Folks,

I had my eyes opened WIDE to the potential of RAM Disks by this video. Just in time too, as I'm currently deciding on components for my next build. Seeing how awesome RAMDisks can be, I'm going to double my RAM to 32Gb and use Win7 pro rather than home premium - arg sad.

So, here's my strategy. I'd appreciate your comments on it:

1) Use one 1Gb, volatile RAMDisk, mounted on boot, as the windows Temp folder.

2) Use one 20 Gb, non-volatile image, saved to the SSD (C:\ as I can only afford 1 SSD for now smile, mounted on login where I will install either frequently restarted programs (e.g Firefox) or slow loading programs (e.g iTunes and Adobe Acrobat). Program data will be configured to be stored on the SSD or a spinner as appropriate (e.g iTunes music files play fine even from my 5400 RPM spinner).

With this strategy, the only time that the image will need to be saved (updated) is after install/uninstall, or update, or in the case of Firefox (which sets persistent cookies, form data, bookmarks etc), once before the Disk Image is dismounted or the system shutdown (which occurs nightly). However, if I understand the options correctly, it looks like I only have to choose between never updating the image, or doing so at regular time intervals. Is that correct? If so, could I update the image manually with this procedure: a) set it to never update, then b) when I want to update, change it to update every 20 minutes then after it has been updated c) set it back to never update?
SoftPerfect Support forum - Andrew avatar image

Re: Strategies for using RAM Disk   26 October 2012, 12:46

Number 1 is a good strategy.

Number 2 may work too, but you need to make sure that installing certain programs on a RAM disk gives you good benefits and doesn't cause any issues. Installing applications on a RAM disk is rather a grey area and is not always a god path to take.

For the 20 GB non-volatile image, you need to tick "Save contents to image", which means on shutdown and manual unmount, the changed blocks will be saved back to the image file. Note though, that it will take longer to log on, because the RAM disk will have to read 20 GB from your SSD to RAM. Then, any changes you have made will be written back upon shutdown. I also recommend to using FAT32 file system if none of your files exceed 4 GB, as it works faster with differential writing.

Re: Strategies for using RAM Disk   26 October 2012, 12:56

Oh, ok, great. Won't writing a 20 Gb file, even to SSD (I'm leaning towards the Samsung 830), take a while? Long enough, in fact, for Windows to get impatient and ask me if I want to kill the program before the write is complete?
SoftPerfect Support forum - Andrew avatar image

Re: Strategies for using RAM Disk   26 October 2012, 14:11

The RAM disk uses differential writing, which means it will only write data blocks that have changed since last read. Depending on the volume of changes on the disk, it will still be well below 20 GB.

Yet if Windows asks you to kill the application, try using a boot-time volume rather than logon-time volume instead.

Re: Strategies for using RAM Disk   26 October 2012, 14:30

This is getting better and better smile

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