How good are RAM disks for storing Caches and other temporary files?

Sahul October 13, 2011
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What is your opion on RAM disks? Has anyone tested them for problems?
I read an article on Lifehacker about transferring Caches to a RAM disks to reduce wear on SSDs.

  1. Smayonak
    October 14, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Whether or not you should move the cache/page file/temp file/etc depends on the generation of SSD drive you're using. Before manufacturers implemented modern wear leveling in SSDs, a live page file would eat through the limited write capacity of an SSD in literally days. Fast forward a few years and you have drives that are designed to withstand 100,000+ writes per block. I have been told by credible sources that this translates into ten years of standard usage, including an active page file.

    However, there are many reasons why an SSD user may wish to use a RAMDrive. Specifically, any usage pattern that is extraordinarily heavy in writes may require the use of a scratch drive, something a virtual or physical RAMdrive can function as. Essentially, a scratch drive basically is a drive setup to absorb a heavy number of writes. Heavy Photoshop users frequently combine their SSDs with an extra platter drive in order to spare the solid state excessive writes.A physical RAMDisk is oftentimes a lot less of a hassle than a virtual drive. This is doubly true, if you're using XP as your operating system, although it must be mentioned that there's really only one affordable RAMdisk on the market: the Gigabyte i-RAM RAMDrive. It costs around $70 on eBay, requires DDR RAM and maxes out the SATA 1 bandwidth at around 150 megs/second transfer. Basically, it shows up as a spare drive in your device manager, so the cache, page file and temp directories can easily be moved onto it. Of course, any drive can function as a scratch drive, not just a RAMdrive.In comparison, a virtual RAM drive is kind of a hassle in XP. It can also lead to a large number of complications in both Windows 7 and XP. It won't tolerate power outages because, unlike a regular hard drive, once the power goes out it will suffer 100% data loss. It also doesn't speed up your performance very much. Using your SSD to store the page file feels much faster than a virtual RAMdisk.

    Unfortunately, I've run off at the mouth a little, but hopefully there's some useful information in here.

  2. Mike
    October 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    If you have enough spare RAM to create a RamDisk there is nothing wrong with this approach.

    I suggest to start some RAM intensive application at best a current generation game (into the actual action, not only the menu), then TAB back into Windows and look into the Task Manager (or better Resource Monitor) to see how much unused RAM you have. 
    If it's bellow 2GB I don't think it really pays off creating a RamDisk.

    Other then that your pagefile and other caches are well placed on your SSD. Caching is mostly about large sequential writes and small random reads ~ both belong to the strengths of SSDs.

    I suggest to read through the following article.

  3. Mike
    October 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    If you have enough spare RAM to create a RamDisk there is nothing wrong with this approach.

    I suggest to start some RAM intensive application at best a current generation game (into the actual action, not only the menu), then TAB back into Windows and look into the Task Manager (or better Resource Monitor) to see how much unused RAM you have. 
    If it's bellow 2GB I don't think it really pays off creating a RamDisk.

    Other then that your pagefile and other caches are well placed on your SSD. Caching is mostly about large sequential writes and small random reads ~ both belong to the strengths of SSDs.

    I suggest to read through the following article.

  4. Mike
    October 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    If you have enough spare RAM to create a RamDisk there is nothing wrong with this approach.

    I suggest to start some RAM intensive application at best a current generation game (into the actual action, not only the menu), then TAB back into Windows and look into the Task Manager (or better Resource Monitor) to see how much unused RAM you have. 
    If it's bellow 2GB I don't think it really pays off creating a RamDisk.

    Other then that your pagefile and other caches are well placed on your SSD. Caching is mostly about large sequential writes and small random reads ~ both belong to the strengths of SSDs.

    I suggest to read through the following article.