#1 By: Chris Hoffman, September 2nd, 2013 06:40
Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/171432/ram-disks-explained-what-they-are-and-why-you-probably-shouldnt-use-one/
Your computer’s RAM is still faster than even modern solid-state drives. RAM disks take advantage of this, using your computer’s RAM as a lightning-fast virtual drive. But you probably don’t want to use a RAM disk, anyway.
#2 By: Naman Sood, September 2nd, 2013 07:16
Puppy Linux uses RAM in a pretty extensive way. When you boot up the system (and you have more than 512 MB RAM), Puppy doesn't load the OS directly, but it loads the OS to RAM, so you can remove the Puppy live disc if you want to say, watch a movie on your crashed PC....
#3 By: Moses Arthesi, September 2nd, 2013 08:49
I use ramdisk to install everyday-use-but-slow-startup-program and always use program, usually portable. Have a large memory, even with windows cache still leave a large memory. So set aside some for ramdisk really make memory utilization better in my everyday computing.
To prevent data loss, I set Dataram RAMDisk to regularly write ramdisk content to harddisk. And use hibernation or sleep function to prevent longer bootup time. Just reboot the laptop every several days.
Libreoffice load fast enough just like MS Office. Cyberfox (64bit Firefox custom build) load and perform real fast with the profile load from ramdisk.
As long as non of my computing work suffer from memory deficit (never happen till today), ramdisk does improve my computing experience.
In linux (using Archlinux) installing profile-sync-daemon also make Firefox load and perform faster.
#4 By: Meow, September 2nd, 2013 09:54
This is obviously one of so many reasons that Windows is but full of flaws in design. Many Linux distros mount tmpfs to /tmp by default, and you can almostly mount "ramdisk" to wherever you want, thus make a good use of high I/O speed of RAM.
#5 By: mithila, September 2nd, 2013 10:20
Well ,I use a 10 GB hybrid RAMDisk as the temporary file location and also as the cache for browsers
saves lot of time when moving files
No loss of data as it's temporary !
#6 By: Daniel Mathews, September 2nd, 2013 11:32
It's not that I really disagree with anything in the article. But I do use a small ( less than 1GB) RAM disk (that saves itself to the hard drive every 5 minutes) for program development work rather then messing up my hard disks with experiments/failed programming attempts/etc./etc./etc. And I've been doing this for many years and am quite happy with the results.
#7 By: BEBE, September 2nd, 2013 11:56
I have a question I hope someone can answer.
My computer does not have virtualization capabliities.
Could I use a ram disk instead of creating a virtual drive to run items in a "safe like mode"?
Thanks for any help
#8 By: Jason Brown, September 2nd, 2013 12:09
I haven't used a RAM disk in over a decade, but this article got me thinking about it again. I wonder how well it would work to set up a RAM disk with my Dropbox folder located on it. That way, when I'm working on a large image file and frequently saving my changes (as I often do), my saves would go a lot quicker and I'd be back to work while Dropbox backs up my changes to the Cloud in the background.
I must experiment.
#9 By: George Harper, September 2nd, 2013 13:05
But surely if dropbox cannot find the folder location, you would have to set it up every time you boot your PC!
Also isnt there a risk it could delete everything there if it cannot find the folder?
#10 By: Naman Sood, September 2nd, 2013 13:22
Virtual CD drives aren't limited by hardware virtualization. I've installed it on an old P4 many times (no HW virtualization).
#11 By: Ben Yates, September 2nd, 2013 13:23
Thanks for this article. It sure seems to be a reply to my earlier post on SSDs about my missing the old-fashioned Ramdisks.
But I wasn't speaking of using a PCs precious main RAM, that is volatile, for this.
The Ramdisks I'm familiar with weren't main memory and were battery-backed, maintaining their contents even while the computer is off and charging their batteries while the PC is on. Today's computers usually maintain power even while off, making this a nice solution. They were super fast. But they've fallen out of favor over the past years.
#12 By: Jason Brown, September 2nd, 2013 13:41
You're right, of course. The Dropbox site gives warnings to that effect under the topic of setting up Dropbox on external USB drives.
Dropbox may not be the best choice- though I'm sure other online syncing tools could fit the bill. Or possibly I could use a local sync tool running in the background to keep the RAM disk synced with a Dropbox folder on the hard disk. That's a fair bit of extra data transfer going on, but it still might speed up my workflow by relegating those transfers to the background. Hmm...
#13 By: John0904, September 2nd, 2013 13:47
I too have my browser cached as well as the browser installed on a RAMDisk. And in case of failure of a bad RAMDisk save, I have the drive backed up just in case. I use to have it as the temporary file location but if the RAMDisk fails to start with Windows, some startup programs freakout (errors) and won't load.
#14 By: George Harper, September 2nd, 2013 13:54
It depends, The extra workload may actually slow it down, as you will have to load files from the hard disk to the ram and then put it back on the hard disk again. It will probably not make any difference in the long term.
#15 By: Keltari, September 2nd, 2013 14:15
This would work, but its inefficient. With every save, Dropbox will start uploading the entire file, as Dropbox doesnt do block-level changes.
#16 By: Jason Brown, September 2nd, 2013 14:36
I'm not sure I follow you. The way I'm envisioning it, the data would be loaded from the hard drive into the RAM disk on reboot (something that happens about once a week for me). Subsequent writes to the RAMdisk would then be synced (one-way) back to the hard drive every time I save a file and then synced online from there. Only the initial "Save" command blocks me from continuing to work. The transfer from RAM to hard disk and cloud storage would be happening in the background and are not particularly CPU intensive.
Since most of what I work on does not max out either the CPU or memory consumption, the RAM disk operations should not slow anything down significantly. Maybe if I was doing 3D rendering operations or video effects, but my work case is more along the vein of digital art creation and image editing.
Essentially, what I'd be doing is creating the equivalent of a "background save" function (like Office uses) for apps that don't natively support it.
#17 By: Jason Brown, September 2nd, 2013 14:39
True, but I'm already doing that right now with my Dropbox folder located on my hard disk. I've got plenty of upstream bandwidth to burn and Dropbox doesn't charge transfer fees.
#18 By: George Harper, September 2nd, 2013 14:52
Oh! I see, sorry I didn’t understand what you meant…
#19 By: BBTony, September 2nd, 2013 19:48
RAM drives were used in the past to get around size limitation problems installing Windows 98. The DOS installation Diskette needed to expand a compressed folder larger than the 1.44MB Capacity of the FDD in order to load all the files needed to install Windows 98 IF you neede to Partition and format the C drive. You couldn't write it to the C drive as you were using that to install Windows. Also COMSEC the Command.com prompt performed better loaded into RAM Drive. so for me it is a legacy instrument needed back in the day when size really was an issue
#20 By: Joop Kiefte, September 3rd, 2013 02:32
Most live-cds use RAM disks though... I think that's probably the reason they are used for most heavily these days...
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