Are there any limitations on creating numerous RAM disks?

Started by David

Hi Team,

I'd be looking to create 16 2GB persistent RAM disks to be used with a specific piece of software (PixInsight). Looking at the available information, it seems that your software can do this. Can you confirm? Main system will have 128GB DDR4 RAM (3600mhz clock speed to tie in with AMD's infinity fabric for Ryzen CPUs).

Are there any known issues with Corsair vengeance RAM? 16GB pieces * 8.

Are there any specific RAM latency settings that need to be employed, or the RAM disk software will work, irrespective of the physical RAM's latency settings.

Are there any known issues with x570 motherboards?

Are there any known issues with Gigabyte Aorus master x570 motherboards?

Cheers,
Dave
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image
Ann

Re: Are there any limitations on creating numerous RAM disks?   04 November 2021, 12:06

If I understood you correctly and you are planning to create 16 RAM disks 2 GB each, it should be possible provided that you have enough available drive letters in your system. But it's probably better to create one 32 GB RAM disk with 16 folders on it instead.

Hardware specifics don't really matter because RAM Disk runs above Windows HAL (hardware abstraction layer). As long as Windows can see and access this memory, RAM Disk will be able to use it too.

We offer a fully-functional 30-day trial, so please test RAM Disk before buying a licence, to make sure it does what you want and works well on your system and with your setup.
Many thanks for the super fast response. I'm still mulling over configuration settings for PixInsight, which can take full advantage of parallel file processing. I probably will have to do 8 x 4 GB RAM disks, as I'll be intending to create swap drives on 3 different NVME drives, and 2 SSDs.

Do I create the folders manually, or via your software? I note that I can create temp, cache folders etc when setting the RAM disk up in your software.

I'll probably grab the trial over the coming few days and test on both of my laptops, as the PC that I am building for PixInsight isn't finished yet (still need a bunch of hardware before it's even ready to be built).
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image
Ann

Re: Are there any limitations on creating numerous RAM disks?   04 November 2021, 12:18

That sounds good. Several customers use our RAM Disk as Adobe Photoshop scratch disk, so it should speed up PixInsight as well.

It's probably easier to create folders from the RAM Disk software directly, however if you are going to use image files for persistent storage, this option will not be available. The reason for that is RAM Disk can automatically create new folders on a volatile RAM disk that is not connected to an image file. Whereas if there is an image file, the folders and data are retrieved from there.

Just a couple of notes and a note of caution:
  • If you want to use the RAM disks as temporary file storage (i.e. PixInsight cache or short-time storage) then image files are not necessary. Every time the system boots you will have empty RAM disks available for use.
  • If you want to use the RAM disks to store the results of your work, then they will need to be backed up by image files, so that the contents are preserved between system reboots.
  • When using image files, they may suddenly become corrupted e.g. in case of a power loss or a system crash. We recommend creating frequent backups of the image files to ensure no data are lost.
Yes, PI swap disks are like Photoshop cache. I own Photoshop (CS6, I see no need to pay Adobe a virtual rent every month lol), but I don't really use it with large image files. PixInsight however, is a different beast. Stacking 200 odd 16MB subs requires grunt.

So, volatile RAM disks created with your software will remain after reboot, etc? I don't like to leave my PCs on 24/7, it represents wasted energy, a fire risk, and reduces the MTTF for hardware even in sleep/hibernation mode. Having to set up RAM disks manually every time I boot up a PC is a p.i.t.a as you can appreciate. That 's why I was thinking of persistent RAM disks. I don't really need to keep the data, it'll all be temporary data, created when using a variety of PixInsight's tools. I am happy to have volatile disks and lose the data, but just don't want to have to recreate the RAM disks all the time. If I create volatile RAM disks using your software, will they remain after each reboot of the system, etc, (sans the data of course)?

No need to back up swap disks etc, it's all just temp data. In the interim, I'll have a 2TB SSD and a 8TB Seagate Ironwolf pro. Down the track I'll be looking at a 2nd Seagate driving and creating a RAID 1 redundancy volume. A long time down the track, I'll get a NAS (that ever important issue of lack of money - too many hobbies, not a well paying enough job lol!).

I've given it some more thought and will probably just use 4 * 8GB RAM disks to keep things a bit more manageable and simple. I've been mulling over ideas for months.
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image
Ann

Re: Are there any limitations on creating numerous RAM disks?   04 November 2021, 12:38

In that case a set of volatile RAM disks is all you need. In this context 'volatile' means that data on those disks is not preserved, but of course the settings for the disks themselves are preserved, and the disks are created automatically on each launch.

It works is really simply:
  1. When the system boots, the driver will allocate memory for the disks and assign drive letters to them.
  2. If the creation of any folders is specified in the settings, these folders will be created too.
Upon shutdown, everything disappears, and on the next boot the process repeats. Basically, with this setup you will always have empty RAM disks available for use with optionally created folders. Anything written to them will be gone on shutdown or reboot as it only exists in RAM.

You will see that there is a choice of boot-time disk and logon-time disk in the settings. For most purposes a boot-time disk is better as it is created earlier in the system boot and is available to any application or service immediately.

Just to give you an idea, we use our RAM Disk for compiling and testing all our software. All temporary files and intermediate compiler output go there. Each time the system boots, there is an empty drive ready for us to use. It works very well and is really fast.
Many thanks. That perfectly answers my questions.

Amazing support. Very impressed (I come from an IT background myself, having worked for Toshiba, Apple, DYMO and a small ISP as a web/mail/network admin).

I will try and grab the trial tonight and test it etc. I am pretty sure that the software will suit my purposes. I simply need swap disk space (both from NVME, SSD 2.5" and ram disk) for PI to enable parallel processing to speed up tasks with the various tools in the software.

GNU/Linux is my preferred operating system, but unfortunately, I'll lose the GPU acceleration for the Nvidia GPU's CUDA cores for a particular tool called starnet++. So, for at least now, MS Windows is the default operating system for this new PC.

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