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Author Topic: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?  (Read 2601 times)

MilesAhead

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Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« on: April 29, 2015, 07:05:31 AM »
I was doing the old Firefox Portable in a RamDisk routine again when I noticed even in a ramdisk FF 37.02 Portable isn't all that snappy.  So I deleted that and made one with Version 42.0.2311.90 of Chrome from PortableApps.com.

I made a 1/2 GB FAT32 RamDisk using DiskMaster Free and just dragged and dropped the ChromePortable folder from the HD into it.  This technique has the pita that if you want to make any durable changes like setting up forum cookies to auto logon, you have to do it running out of the HD folder.  But doing it that way rather than saving the image allows you to just chuck it when rebooting or shutting down.

The other consideration with chrome is limiting the disk cache.  I didn't want to make a huge ramdisk so I used these command line switches in the shortcut to limit the cache size to 20MB and locate it on the RamDisk:  --disk-cache-dir="r:\cache" --disk-cache-size=20971520

Also I took advantage of the RamDisk feature to locate the system Temp folder on it.  Hopefully applications know enough to check available disk space before trying to park giant temp files, like for m2ts muxing.  :)

So far it feels very snappy.  My main disappointment was I could not figure out how to copy extensions from the installed chrome to the portable.  But I don't have that many. I did it the hard way and just installed them into the portable run from the HD.



eleman

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2015, 07:15:22 AM »
The problem with Firefox is not that it frequently reads and writes to the disk. It almost never does, especially if you disable the cache on the disk.

The problem is it handles a huge amount of memory just to display the pages. The engine is inefficient and it leaks like there's no tomorrow. To be fair, it was even worse.

Anyway, as the working space used by Firefox approaches to 10 figures (in bytes), just occupying that large a space becomes a burden on the CPU. Hence we have the unresponsive Firefox problem.

Moving the application to ramdisk would not reduce its working space, so it would not have any appreciable impact on the responsiveness front.

Chrome is simply more efficient in terms of memory use, so, ramdisk-or-not, it would work faster than a Firefox.

I still use Firefox though, as (i) I'm hooked on the add-ons, and (ii) I'm not inclined to have another piece of software to report everything I do to the US government. I know Chromium is open source, but I don't trust Google period. And yes, I feel hypocritical while typing these on IE. But that's a story for another day.

MilesAhead

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2015, 07:41:03 AM »
^^ what your analysis neglects is the case where the HD is busy. Often a browser will not get off the dime if the HD is doing something non trivial.  That's the main reason for the RamDisk.  FF portable with cache set to 0 uses ram.  Like about 2 GB on my system.  That's where it gets its speed.  It seems like with each version increase the speed and responsiveness decreases though.  But it's a dog off the HD even when the HD is quiet.  If the HD is busy and you like FF it is better to just minimize it to tray if you don't like Ram drives.

Chrome is faster because it launches about 8 instances to do about:blank.
As soon as a page is there it's rendered.



MilesAhead

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2015, 10:45:44 AM »
I noticed chrome.exe does not really start up all that fast.  MxNitro, on the other hand.  Snaps open.  Unforutunatey it has been imumized against customization.  I can't even put my Bookmarks Toolbar as a toolbar.

But I decided to be even more decadent and copy the MxNitro Portable folder to my RamDisk.  The thing does fly.  But I'm starting to do a lot of typing to open pages.  :)

Curt

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2015, 12:25:07 PM »
-thanks for telling about MxNitro, I had never heard of it before! http://usa.maxthon.com/nitro/
--------------

I know nothing about RAM Disks, but your post made me so far look up http://www.makeuseof...-you-can-set-one-up/. At the risk of sounding decadent, my first question is, if you are using a physical or a virtual RAM disk?
 :tellme:
« Last Edit: April 29, 2015, 01:55:02 PM by Curt »

MilesAhead

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2015, 02:10:32 PM »
-thanks for telling about MxNitro, I had never heard of it before! http://usa.maxthon.com/nitro/
--------------

I know nothing about RAM Disks, but your post made me so far look up http://www.makeuseof...-you-can-set-one-up/. At the risk of sounding decadent, my first question is, if you are using a physical or a virtual RAM disk?
 :tellme:

Heh heh.  I am using physical.  I allocated 512 MB formatted as FAT32.  So far the only quirk I've found in DiskMaster Free is even if you uncheck the option to put the system and/or personal Temp folder on the RamDisk, it does it anyway.  It names the RamDisk Temp and there's a Temp folder.  I guess they just assumed nobody would opt out of it.  :)

This mxNitro, I can see not getting pulled into a zillion extensions, but there should be some basic stuff like:
Putting the Bookmarks Toolbar as a Toolbar
some method of Ad blocking
more sophisticated download management
some kind of built in SpeedDial.

Even if not implemented all that well I am so used to looking at the thumbnails sometimes I forget the url of the site I want to go to.  Having to type everything in is a bit much.  But at least if there was a Bookmarks Toolbar you could set up folders and a "open all in folder" would be something to speed up launching groups of sites.

I suggested on Maxthon forums mxNirto subforum that the ability to put the Bookmarks Toolbar as a Toolbar seemed like a miminal feature.  After all, the thing imports my bookmarks and recognizes it.  I don't think I ever got a reply.  

mxNitro things I just noticed:  no spell check, when I hover the mouse on the smileys I get no tooltip.  Wow!!  Talk about Spartan(and no I don't mean the new MS Browser.)   I'll have to start composing in an editor with spell check and pasting.

« Last Edit: April 29, 2015, 02:17:05 PM by MilesAhead »

tomos

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2015, 03:34:28 PM »
^ I had it downloaded but, after all that, will probably leave it in it's box.
(btw I've finally given up on FF/PM variations - for Windows 8.1 at any rate: now trying SRWare Iron. Very happy so far :up:)
Tom

Curt

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2015, 03:37:40 PM »
my guess was that Maxthon could get more Google-money for this freeware, if add-blocking was impossible.
The missing tooltips was too annoying for me, so MxNitro has left my PC. It lasted an hour. Now, SRWare Iron? Looking forward to hear more from Tom, in time.
------------

I am surprised by your modest 512MB allocation, Miles. I expected at least a GigaB. And with a temp-folder included, my unqualified guess would have been 2GB! But as I said, I know nothing about all this.




MilesAhead

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2015, 04:05:18 PM »
^ I had it downloaded but, after all that, will probably leave it in it's box.
(btw I've finally given up on FF/PM variations - for Windows 8.1 at any rate: now trying SRWare Iron. Very happy so far :up:)

I did Iron a couple of years ago.  At least then there were enough incompatibilities to make it annoying.  Mainly chrome extensions would not install out of the box since the paths were different.

I don't know why chromium stopped working with Flash.  I used those snapshots for a couple of years.  Anyway, on this Laptop it can be annoying waiting for FF to load just to check something.  I still have it as default browser.

MilesAhead

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2015, 04:28:02 PM »
One thing that is funny for a browser that has no extras(MxNitro)..  If you hover the mouse on google results it will load the page in a panel about 1/2 the size of the browser or larger.  I guess it could save a lot of opening in new tabs.  Just move the mouse down the results.

If they all do this now I didn't notice.  :)

4wd

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2015, 09:48:41 PM »
K-Meleon is still around, v75RC02 as of 29/03/2015 - quite a capable browser.

MilesAhead

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2015, 05:43:04 AM »
K-Meleon is still around, v75RC02 as of 29/03/2015 - quite a capable browser.

I use the Portable as a lightweight browser when I'm doing something else resource intensive.. like MBAM or SAS scans.

f0dder

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2015, 06:26:10 AM »
I personally can't see much advantage of putting the browser executables on a ramdisk - they're small enough to load fast even on a mechanical HDD, and (for most people's usage patterns) once the browser is loaded, it stays loaded most of the day.

What can make sense is storing the browser cache on a ramdisk (I wouldn't disable it even if I had a 100mbit connection - latency and throughput to a local disk is a lot faster than any network connection) and, even more so, the firefox profile. Firefox does a fair amount of small reads and writes all the time while you're browsing to various SQLite databases (cookies, browsing history, website offline storage, et cetera).

I would recommend SoftPerfect RAM disk - it's fast(*), free, stable and no-nonsense. It supports persisting the contents to disk, and doing so at regular intervals, making it optimal both for %TEMP%(**) and for keeping data around.

(*): yes, there's noticable speed differences between ramdisk products.
(**): some installers expect %TEMP% to be persistant across reboots...

Hopefully applications know enough to check available disk space before trying to park giant temp files, like for m2ts muxing.  :)
They generally don't :) - if you want %TEMP% on a ramdisk, you should dedicate a sizable chunk, and be prepared to do one-off reverts especially for installers. 1gig works pretty OK for me, additionally storing firefox profile and WebSiteWatcher bookmarks.

[/quote]
The problem is it handles a huge amount of memory just to display the pages. The engine is inefficient and it leaks like there's no tomorrow. To be fair, it was even worse.
"Leaks like no tomorrow" hasn't been true for quite a while, leaks are mostly caused by poorly written addons. The engine isn't inefficient either, but there's tradeoffs... Firefox can get unresponsive if you're trying to load a zillion tabs at once, since it happens in one process, whereas Chrome launches a new process for each tab. So yeah, Chrome is more responsive in that scenario, but also ends up using a heavy chunk of memory.

Anyway, as the working space used by Firefox approaches to 10 figures (in bytes), just occupying that large a space becomes a burden on the CPU. Hence we have the unresponsive Firefox problem.
That sentence makes no sense :)
- carpe noctem

MilesAhead

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Re: Chrome Portable in a RamDisk = decadence?
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2015, 09:24:23 AM »
One thing is for sure.  MxNitro is not ready for prime time.  On DNS lookup error instead of posting a 404 error it just dies with a fatal error msg.  A bit fragile for my taste.  :)