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I recently started experimenting with a RAMDisk for web browsing and since it worked pretty well, I began wondering if any particular games would benefit from using a RAMDisk?

I realize games are very different from web browsing (and in many cases the graphics card is the limiting factor) and that it would only really make a difference where a game was creating a temp file for whatever purpose, and that most games are already programmed to use the maximum available memory anyway.

However this type of scenario has not really been possible on PC gaming until recently, where we are getting a standard 4Gb of ram on most new machines, and it's possible the unused RAM could be somehow put to good use.

This is the software I'm using (Win 7 64-bit with 4Gb ram):

http://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/vsuite-ramdisk/download.html

Edit: I already have a SSD

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This software doesn't make sense to me. The OS keeps items in RAM to avoid going to the hard drive. This software claims to keep items in RAM to avoid the "hd bottleneck". So essentially its doing the same thing. If the OS wants to boot the items this program stores in RAM it will regardless. In any case, I would say no just let your OS handle things, if you're really bugged by it splurge 80$ on an SSD. –  Brian Jun 22 '12 at 19:50
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PC development nowadays basically ignores RAM requirements; Windows handles all of it without issue. If a process needs more RAM, and it's available, it will get it. This "software" sounds like expensive junk. –  Frank Jun 22 '12 at 20:47
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Commenters! Know what a ramdisk is to avoid saying embarrassing things. :) –  SevenSidedDie Oct 7 '12 at 19:38
    
RAM is 10x to 20x faster than the fastest SSD. If you're running or a laptop or have a UPS then you don't have to worry about losing your data in mem. Most RAMdisk SW has the ability to save disk image to HDD on close. So if you need something to really scream run it on a RAM disk. From what I'm reading elsewhere Win is doing a good job of mem manaagemnet so save RAMdisk for unique situations. –  user35538 Oct 15 '12 at 22:30
    
nothing to do with SSD really. Basically a RAM disk uses RAM to simulate a disk, but by having less available RAM (which is now assigned to the RAM disk), the game won't load as much into RAM and instead read from the RAM disk, so basically, you're doing nothing (and then you have to go through the initial process of loading the RAM disk with data) –  Rodolfo Oct 16 '12 at 20:42

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you have the spare ram, it is definitely worth it to dedicate some of it to a ramdisk. I have an 8 Gb ramdisk for my computer. I also have a 60 gb OCZ Vertex 3 SSD. The Ramdisk (although severely limited in storage) is 70-100x faster than my ssd in some areas. My ssd has seq read/write speeds of ~11000 mb/s and ~14000 mb/s respectively. If you were to install a game onto my Ramdisk, it would load pretty much instantly (an exception would be a part where you need to log in). I play a game called "War Thunder". It took an average of 30 seconds to 1 minute to launch to the login screen, and then another 30 seconds to load the graphics engine and get to the "hangar" where planes are displayed. I dragged the game onto the RamDisk and it launched to the login screen in 4 seconds, logged in in 10, and entered the hanger 5 seconds later.

TL;DR Anything you can put on a ramdrive will open dozens of times faster than a identical game on a SSD. This is certainly true, unless the game is relying on a server to acquire large amounts of information. At this point, you need to wait for the server.

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Ramdisk is literally just pulling it off the hard drive. It can't be faster than accessing the hard drive. There's the physical bottleneck of the hard drive and data transfer speeds. Software can't bypass that. –  Frank Feb 20 '13 at 21:00
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It's pulling it off but leaving it on, little if any need to go back to the hard drive for what you've pulled. Get it? You are confusing RAM Disk with RAM Cache. –  user46274 Apr 3 '13 at 14:20
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People who don't understand the technology involved should not down vote good answers. +1 for speaking from experience and expert knowledge, something we're supposed to value around here! –  SevenSidedDie Apr 3 '13 at 15:41

This would help with things like map and texture load, as opposed to rendering. The problem is, you need to get the map/texture information onto the RAM drive and also point the game at it. Essentially, you would need to install the game onto the RAM drive every single time you booted your computer. Why does it not help beyond map loading etc? Because game developers are already optimizing the game based on RAM. A game will load as much into memory as it needs to provide a good user experience. Swapping to the hard drive is ideally minimized to only those occasions where absolutely necessary, or at points that don't impact the player too much. Truly exceptional programs will pull this off seamlessly where you don't even notice the swapping. So, a RAM drive could help if you want to hassle with it, and you have a game that doesn't have a large texture/map pack that can fit on RAM, while leaving enough RAM available to for running the actual game.

tl;dr - Get a solid-state drive.

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I already use a SSD. RAM is still far faster than SSD, even the fastest possible SSD on the market. I already made the point about games using the available memory by default. But I suppose your first point is right, it would have to be pre-loaded onto the RAMDisk before playing. I'm not absolutely sure about this but I have a feeling the Amiga had a RAMDisk that developers did use to speed up certain programs. The problem we had until recently was low RAM. Now that we are back to having a surplus, maybe this is something that we will see in future. –  warsong Jun 22 '12 at 20:23
    
It was fairly common 20 years ago on the PC. Because it made a difference back then. –  Alan B Jun 22 '12 at 20:56
    
@warsong You're correct ram is slightly faster than SSD, but it sounds like this software "fakes" a SSD by using RAM. So that argument is moot, it would be just as fast going to an SSD as going to RAMDisk's memory block. As AlanB mentioned back before SSD this would be useful, but with SSD its no longer needed. –  Brian Jun 22 '12 at 23:03
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Not quite, Brian. It's not faking a SSD. It's using actual RAM to hold data. It is not 'just as fast'. When the CPU reads from RAM, the speed difference is several times that of reading from the SSD. Compare the average RAM speed (even the avg RAM speed 5 years ago) with the highest SSD speed now. Even DDR2 RAM is still way faster than any SSD available now. –  warsong Jun 23 '12 at 10:58

protected by Community Apr 3 '13 at 15:13

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