Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/171500/ram-is-cheap-so-why-dont-we-run-everything-from-it/
RAM modules are cheaper than ever before, so why aren’t we running our entire operating system off super speedy RAM banks?
I knew this would end up on HTG.
I thought I remembered another article on this a while back, hmmm, guess I'm getting old.
A great idea. We definitely should everything from RAM.
RAM is not so cheap. The cheapest 8GB of RAM on New Egg is $54 or $6.75/GB. I just bought an 8GB Micro SD card at Walmart for $8 or $1/GB. Larger SSD drives are even cheaper per byte, with 240GB for $150 or $0.62/GB.
A factor of 10 in the price.
It seems that the answer is 'Because using RAM means that it would cost more'. Is that correct?
Cost aside, is it actually possible to use RAM instead of SSDs or HDDs?
Say you had a SSD of 100GB, and you were impatient so you decided to load it into a 100GB RAM-disk at boot so that the computer ran as fast as possible after boot.
Would boot take longer?
If so, why?
Actually, you can already do this, and you have been able to do this for a long time with Linux. There are even guides for Ubuntu on how to make your own squashfs image to boot your entire system to RAM without the need to even have a hard drive, unless you want to store stuff, like your /home folder. The process involves installing and configuring your / filesystem and then using squashfs to compress it into highly compressed image, and configure Linux to boot with that image.
I mean really, this whole excuse about needing a lot of RAM is highly ridiculous. I've done this for old machines with nearly no RAM to heavily speed them up. It works wonders for old desktops.
Yes it's more expensive
">You can do the same with battery backed storage (no need to copy initial data into it since it will keep its contents as long as the backup power stays valid).<"
You could do it by buying a unit that has battery back up to use as a drive which would save the time of loading it each time you start up, but, if you Have the 100 gigs of ram to spare to load it all on a ram drive and just load every time you start up, your start up time would take what ever time it took your computer to load it all to memory before it's usable. I'm sure you've noticed how in older machines even when you go from the logon screen to desktop, there's always something still loading when your just ready to roll with what ever it is you wanted to do. Well that times what ever your loading is going to be your load time.
And I see @mmstick1 has pointed to Linux which has for years sent out CD's and DVD's that could reside in modern memory and run happily. And dosn't take any longer to load.
I mean heck, there are even people who go to BestBuy and Apple stores with their Ubuntu USB Flash to RAM discs and they stick their USB flash drive in and boot Ubuntu, then take it out and walk off and watch as employees and customers are highly confused. They reboot the machine and there's no trace Ubuntu was there, so they get even more confused.
Easiest way to run Linux from RAM that I use is to boot up Knoppix & type, "knoppix toram" at the prompt. Poof! You're running in RAM!