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Last post Author Topic: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?  (Read 21256 times)

kyrathaba

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Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« on: August 25, 2011, 08:59:29 PM »
I installed RAMdisk driver-level utility and configured it for 2 GB.  Re-running NovaBench, my benchmark score rose from 382 to 425.  The computer seems to handle noticeably snappier, though perhaps that is merely my expectations affecting my perceptions.  Has anyone else used RAMdisk, or something similar.  Your results?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 09:03:40 PM by kyrathaba »

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 09:05:25 PM »
I'm showing RAM Transfer Speed (Hardware) of 2890 Mb/sec.  Is that good for these system specs?

Quote
Pentium DualCoreE5300 2.60GHz @ 2.6 GHz
MMX SSE SSE2 SSE3
6GB System RAM
Intel(R) G45/G43 Express Chipset

Stephen66515

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2011, 09:07:40 PM »
Sounds rather interesting, gonna download it and see how my machine takes it...it could do with a swift kick up the ass, and this might just be the answer (Seeing as I'm on a machine with 1GB of DDR2 and a 3.2Ghz single core processor and can't afford anything better lol)

Will see!

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 09:12:48 PM »
Be advised, I watched several YouTube videos on installing, and apparently it's quite critical that you disable your Page File entirely before installing Ramdisk and configuring it (disable Windows automatic handling of Page File size, and manually set it to 0).  Also, it was recommended, by consensus that you not check any of the checkboxes under the Options tab when you run the RamDisk configuration utility for the first time.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 09:19:32 PM by kyrathaba »

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 09:14:55 PM »
Stephen, another thing you could do is figure out which Windows services can be changed from Automatic to either Manual or Disabled.  Services can noticeably affect boot-up time and hog RAM.  Tweaking services, while requiring care (definitely set a System Restore point first), could definitely improve your experience on 1GB of RAM.  I've also read that Win7 Aero is a RAM-hog.

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2011, 09:18:39 PM »
On the other hand, if you only have 1 GB RAM, you might be better off NOT creating a RAMdisk.  My impression is that a RAM disk works best in addition to sufficient normal RAM, but I'm no expert.  I'll let others comment.

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 09:32:51 PM »
There's a user manual available for RamDisk.

Quote
The Driver has been written to WDM standards and creates a low-level disk object that Windows
Device Manager and Disk Management are able to "see" and manage.  You can partition, format,
mount a volume, and assign multiple drive letters to RAMDisk (but only if you would know how to
do those things with a regular disk, RAMDisk does not do it for you).

Upon successful Start of the RAMDisk, a kernel level driver (RAMDisk.sys) is loaded into the
Windows/System32/drivers folder.  This driver will be available to Windows each time RAMDisk
starts.  It is removed when RAMDisk is stopped.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 09:36:11 PM by kyrathaba »

MilesAhead

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 10:15:33 PM »
I used this RamDisk for awhile on my Vista64 PC.  It has 8 GB ram.  I only used it to run Firefox portable. If the HD was busy FF(was 3.6 I was using then but it's the same now) is a dog loading up.

I discarded contents on system shutdown. On startup I used an XCopy script I found on the web to copy the Firefox portable folder into the RamDisk.

It loaded quickly I'll say that.  But with Chromium I don't need a RamDisk for quick loading. I use FF as my secondary browser now.

If anyone wants to run FF portable out of this RamDisk I'm pretty sure this is the page I used as a guide:

http://www.wikihow.c...by-Running-It-In-RAM


vlastimil

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2011, 04:35:26 AM »
I have never used it and I do not see much use for it. In effect, it takes away some memory from Windows manager and dedicates it to a single purpose. It is now your task to select what to use the memory for. If you did not put anything there, I doubt it had any effect.

If your computer feels snapier, it could be due to to the disabled swap. With lots of memory, the swap is useless and it is one less thing Windows must manage.

nudone

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2011, 05:07:29 AM »
Maybe not as much fun as using a ramdisk but I think I get the same results by having Firefox (3.6 with lots of extensions) load in at startup and then minimise itself - so it's ready and waiting. The next important part is to keep FF open all day, minimise if need be (even to the system tray) just don't close it.

Does a ramdisk offer much more than this? If so, I'll have to try it, I mean, does a ramdisk make FF faster in actual operation and not just loading up?

Shades

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2011, 05:28:07 AM »
As far as I know Windows really likes to manage a swap-file (pagefile.sys), no matter the amount of RAM it has available. So if you have enough, it is not a bad idea to configure the pagefile into this RAM Disk.

For the security-conscious (read: paranoid) user this has the advantage of wiping the pagefile each time the computer is turned off.

Some of the RAM Disk software is even smart enough to use RAM that is not addressable by a 32-bit O.S. (example: the not addressable part of the 4 GByte RAM in WinXP can be used by some of the RAM Disk software).

I would say that if you have more than 4 GByte of RAM on a Win7 PC, you could consider using a RAM Disk. Below that I doubt it has any (noticeable) effect.

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2011, 06:03:24 AM »
Quote
As far as I know Windows really likes to manage a swap-file (pagefile.sys), no matter the amount of RAM it has available. So if you have enough, it is not a bad idea to configure the pagefile into this RAM Disk.

And as a matter of fact, the original YouTube video tutorial suggested adding a Pagefile into the Ramdisk itself, which is what I did:

pagefileInRamdisk.png

« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 06:12:34 AM by kyrathaba »

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2011, 06:23:09 AM »
Disk Cleanup seems to run much faster now.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2011, 06:31:27 AM »
So you are using memory, to access memory, that's already in memory ... Why?

justice

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2011, 06:33:37 AM »
A pagefiles is where the files go when Windows decides they're not needed in RAM or when your ram is full and things need to be swapped out. Putting them back in ram is working against the OS and surely will mean the right information won't go in RAM making your computer slower? Ah I'm too slow.

http://lifehacker.co...-shouldnt-disable-it

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2011, 06:41:38 AM »
So I should return pagefile management to Windows, and let it manage it on my C drive, but it's okay to leave RamDisk on E ?

justice

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2011, 06:43:27 AM »
Yep

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2011, 06:49:27 AM »
The original YouTube video I watched suggested that allowing Windows to manage a pagefile worked against the efectiveness of the ramdisk, and suggested that disabling pagefile altogether would force the system to use the Ramdisk instead, which was supposedly faster/preferable.  But I take it that this is a bad idea?

I have re-enabled Windows management of a pagefile on C drive.  Will the RAMdisk still significantly benefit me?

pagefilePlusRamdisk.png
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 06:56:19 AM by kyrathaba »

vlastimil

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2011, 06:53:36 AM »
I would dump the ramdisk too.

And I would disable the swap if you typical memory usage on your 6GB system is less than 3GB (assuming you have 64-bit windows).

I have 8GB and swap disabled and all is perfect.

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2011, 06:55:57 AM »
But the RAMdisk just causes some hard drive space to be treated as extra memory, right?  It isn't hurting anything, and might possible be beneficial some of the time?

« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 06:59:54 AM by kyrathaba »

vlastimil

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2011, 06:59:49 AM »
No, quite the opposite. The swap causes the hard disk to be treated as extra memory. The Ram disk does the opposite. It blocks part of your memory and allows you to treat the memory as a disk.

That is why Stoic Joker was telling you "are using memory, to access memory, that's already in memory"  :).

justice

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2011, 07:01:09 AM »
But the RAMdisk just causes some hard drive space to be treated as extra memory, right
A ram disk causes some RAM space to be treated as a fast hard drive ;)

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2011, 07:04:19 AM »
I understand now (I think).

Both page file (hard disk space treated as memory) and a RAMdisk (memory space treated as some hard drive space) can be advantageous under certain conditions, right?

kyrathaba

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2011, 07:09:06 AM »
Do you guys agree with the following, taken from a page on Lockergnome:

Quote
Myth - "Disabling the Paging File improves performance."

Reality - "You gain no performance improvement by turning off the Paging File. When certain applications start, they allocate a huge amount of memory (hundreds of megabytes typically set aside in virtual memory) even though they might not use it. If no paging file (pagefile.sys) is present, a memory-hogging application can quickly use a large chunk of RAM. Even worse, just a few such programs can bring a machine loaded with memory to a halt. Some applications (e.g., Adobe Photoshop) will display warnings on startup if no paging file is present."

"In modern operating systems, including Windows, application programs and many system processes always reference memory using virtual memory addresses which are automatically translated to real (RAM) addresses by the hardware. Only core parts of the operating system kernel bypass this address translation and use real memory addresses directly. All processes (e.g. application executables) running under 32 bit Windows gets virtual memory addresses (a Virtual Address Space) going from 0 to 4,294,967,295 (2*32-1 = 4 GB), no matter how much RAM is actually installed on the computer. In the default Windows OS configuration, 2 GB of this virtual address space are designated for each process' private use and the other 2 GB are shared between all processes and the operating system. RAM is a limited resource, whereas virtual memory is, for most practical purposes, unlimited. There can be a large number of processes each with its own 2 GB of private virtual address space. When the memory in use by all the existing processes exceeds the amount of RAM available, the operating system will move pages (4 KB pieces) of one or more virtual address spaces to the computer's hard disk, thus freeing that RAM frame for other uses. In Windows systems, these "paged out" pages are stored in one or more files called pagefile.sys in the root of a partition. Virtual Memory is always in use, even when the memory required by all running processes does not exceed the amount of RAM installed on the system."


Myth - "Moving the Paging File to a different partition on the same drive improves performance."

Reality - "Moving the Paging File (pagefile.sys) to a different partition on the same physical hard disk drive does not improve performance. Simply using a different partition on the same drive will result in lots more head-seeking activity, as the drive jumps between the Windows and paging file partitions. Even though moving the paging file in this case can have the positive effect of defragmenting it, the loss in I/O performance out weighs any gains. It is better to simply defragment the paging file using PageDefrag and keep maximum I/O performance by leaving the paging file where it is with a single drive setup.

Notes - However you can enhance performance by putting the paging file on a different partition and on a different physical hard disk drive. That way, Windows can handle multiple I/O requests more quickly. When the paging file is on the boot partition, Windows must perform disk reading and writing requests on both the system folder and the paging file. When the paging file is moved to a different partition and a different physical hard disk drive, there is less competition between reading and writing requests."


Myth - "Putting the Paging File on a RAMdisk improves performance."

Reality - "Putting a Paging File in a RAM drive is a ridiculous idea in theory, and almost always a performance hit when tested under real-world workloads. You can't do this unless you have plenty of RAM and if you have plenty of RAM, you aren't hitting your paging file very often in the first place! Conversely, if you don't have plenty of RAM, dedicating some of it to a RAM drive will only increase your page fault rate. Now you might say "yeah, but those additional page faults will go faster than they otherwise would because they're satisfied in RAM." True, but it is still better to not incur them in the first place. And, you will also be increasing the page faults that have to be resolved to exe's and dll's, and the paging file in RAM won't do diddly to speed those up. But thanks to the paging file in RAM, you'll have more of them. Also: the system is ALREADY caching pages in memory. Pages lost from working sets are not written out to disk immediately (or at all if they weren't modified), and even after being written out to disk, are not assigned to another process immediately. They're kept on the modified and standby page lists, respectively. The memory access behavior of most apps being what it is, you tend to access the same sets of pages over time... so if you access a page you lost from your working set recently, odds are its contents are still in memory, on one of those lists. So you don't have to go to disk for it. Committing RAM to a RAMdisk and putting a paging file on it makes fewer pages available for those lists, making that mechanism much less effective. And even for those page faults resolved to the RAMdisk paging file, you are still having to go through the disk drivers. You don't have to for page faults resolved on the standby or modified lists. Putting a paging file on a RAMdisk is a self-evidently absurd idea in theory, and actual measurement proves it to be a terrible idea in practice. Forget about it."

vlastimil

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Re: Anyone else using Ramdisk in Windows 7?
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2011, 07:16:22 AM »
Page file (swap) is advantageous when you run a lot of programs at once and the sum of the memory required by the programs is bigger than available physical memory minus memory used for other purposes. I'd say if sum of the memory required the programs > 50% of your physical RAM. It does not hurt much to leave it enabled (just in case) and a reasonable size is 2x your physical RAM. But with the amount of memory people have in their systems now, I see little need for it. Swap was invented in the old times, when memory was very expensive to allow programs to use more memory than there actually was.

Ram disk is beneficial if you need a small, super-fast hard disk for a special purpose. For example when compiling a very large project, where the compiler creates and accesses a lot of temporary files. In other cases, it hurts, because it blocks Windows from using the memory you dedicate to it. It is better to simply leave the applications running.