Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

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Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:30 pm

Hello again!

I have been messing around with the ability to store entire programs into the computers RAM and run them from there. Thus being like solid state storage, but many times faster. (The program gives you the ability to save stuff as an image of which the system will just reload into ram when the computer is reset, but I have not played with that function)

So here is some information for the spec geeks:
i7-2600k @ 4.1Ghz
16GB DDR3-1600 (9-9-9-20) 1.5v
6970 2GB (res: 1680x1050)
1TB WD Black
2TB WD Green
1TB WD Green
XtremeGamer audio
Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1


Benching (with HD Tune Pro) the 2TB Green drive (my game drive), I receive an average read speed of 88.8MB and 118.3MB max. Benching my RAM with Passmark, I get an average of 3,705.76MB read and 11,56x.xxMB max. 11.5GB per second.....mmm.

Now the setup. With ImDisk (freeware), I created a 12GB “partition” in my RAM with the command:

imdisk -a -t vm -s 12G -m R:

This mounts the R drive with 12GB of space. Do note that this DOES NOT instantly create a 12GB file in your RAM. Think of it as another hard drive. The space will only be used if you use it. From here I just formatted with NTFS and a file table of 4096bytes.
Now for speed time!

I played these games through the RAM first, tried a different game, then ran the previous game on the HDD. Mainly to remove any cached files from ram, vram, etc. The times were clocked by me starting the test (level load, etc) and by starting my stopwatch. I stopped the watch as soon as the level loaded. Also, all games were tested with maximum graphical settings.

* Crysis: Would crash at start running from RAM, but loaded the level Relic in 31.45 seconds by the HDD.

* Crysis 2: Loading Semper Fi Or Die, 14.7 seconds by RAM, 19.50 seconds by HDD. Mild improvement.

* Doom 3: Starting a new game. 14.81 seconds by RAM, 13.47 seconds by HDD. My guess is due to the decompressing of the .pak files, the RAM activity slowed this one down a bit.

* Hard Reset: Loading the main menu: 3.23 RAM, 6.49 HDD. Loading the first level to the Hospital: 15.09 RAM, 31.88 HDD. Chopped in half! Now that is some speedy loading there!

* Portal 2: Loading the main menu: 1.17 RAM, 6.22 HDD. Loading the level The Reunion: 13.10 for the RAM and 22.40 for the HDD. Again, not a bad increase in speed there.

* Call Of Duty 4 MW: Loading the level War Pig: 2.81 seconds for the RAM and 15.13 seconds for the HDD. This honestly made me laugh for the load bar shot across the screen before the ranger shield finished coming into view! Nice improvement.

* Skyrim: Loading a save point just south of Dragons Bridge: 16.03 for the HDD, 9.14 for the RAM.

* Shattered Horizion: Loading the level Slingshot with max bots: 20.51 for the RAM, 22.56 for the HDD. Not a heavy improvement at all.

EDIT: * Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3: Loading the beginning to Mind The Gap: 5.88 for the RAM, 28.13 for the HDD. Again, big improvement for this old engine.

EDIT:
Battlefield 3:
The time to load the menu to the game:
HDD: 16.36 seconds
RAM: 11.16 seconds

Loading "Thunder Run" and skipping the cutscene as fast as possible:
HDD: 31.55 seconds
RAM: 24.46 seconds

EDIT: I would like to test RAGE, but i lack the ram to copy the game.

I was trying to think of games that I had that took some time to load and test them. The results were nice to say the least.

If your wondering how I moved the Steam games, use Steam Mover. FANTASTIC tool.

When done, I unmounted the RAM disk by the command:

imdisk -D -m R:

This removed the drive from existence.

Any further questions, just ask me!

Game on!
~CC5
Last edited by ClickClick5 on Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:58 pm, edited 5 times in total.
i7-2600k (4.1Ghz), 16GB DDR3-1600, 6970 2GB, GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3, Recon3D Audio (PCI-E), WD 1TB Black (os/programs), WD 2TB Green (games), WD 3TB Green (movies/music), Win 8.1 Pro x64
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:09 pm

Interesting. Only if I had more than 4gb of ram :(.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:13 pm

What happens on power loss?

Are you including the time it takes to move data in and out of the RAM Drive in your calculations?
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:17 pm

indeego wrote:What happens on power loss?

Are you including the time it takes to move data in and out of the RAM Drive in your calculations?


If you dont have the program create an image of the partition (i did not) and the power is lost, so is the information that I can tell. I kept backups of all the data while I was testing, just in case.
The times given are just the times from the games loading. Starting the .exe and timing level loads.

EDIT: Loading the data onto the partition was as fast as my HDD could spit it out. The partition shows up in the explorer as a "normal" partition/hard drive/SSD and so on.
i7-2600k (4.1Ghz), 16GB DDR3-1600, 6970 2GB, GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3, Recon3D Audio (PCI-E), WD 1TB Black (os/programs), WD 2TB Green (games), WD 3TB Green (movies/music), Win 8.1 Pro x64
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:48 pm

with DRAM price dirt cheap why can't somebody come out with a reasonably priced ram drive board with battery back up?
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:58 pm

And I agree, having a drive use say the other PCIe x16 slot could be really nice with some cheap ram and battery. Like the old Gigabyte drives, but newer and faster.
That is all.

OH, I played skyrim in the RAM last night for about an hour. The time it takes to bring up a menu and game play stutter were reduced near to 0. Very nice change!
Last edited by ClickClick5 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i7-2600k (4.1Ghz), 16GB DDR3-1600, 6970 2GB, GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3, Recon3D Audio (PCI-E), WD 1TB Black (os/programs), WD 2TB Green (games), WD 3TB Green (movies/music), Win 8.1 Pro x64
Check out my site for trance mixes and other goodies! linserv.biz.tm
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:49 pm

I'm kind of puzzled here. Those load times don't seem to be that much higher over a mechanical hd. I don't see how it would be much faster than an SSD.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:19 pm

Yeah, especially since it sounds like it was compared to a slower (2TB Green) drive.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:24 pm

It's not a "virtual" RAM drive, it's a "real" RAM drive! ;) I've been using them on and off since my Commodore Amiga days. I think with all the excitement over SSD, we sometimes forget to take into account that the data still needs to be processed.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:26 pm

Anarchist wrote:with DRAM price dirt cheap why can't somebody come out with a reasonably priced ram drive board with battery back up?


Gigabyte tried something like this a few years ago. I think it was called the i-Drive.

Edit: it's the i-RAM. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-RAM
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:18 pm

ram drives are mostly useless for most applications. Windows already buffers anything it loads into memory. What you are doing is making the the first load faster, but you are wasting the ram because now there are two copies of the same data in memory. It's nothing more than a curiosity.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:20 pm

Yeats wrote:It's not a "virtual" RAM drive, it's a "real" RAM drive! ;) I've been using them on and off since my Commodore Amiga days. I think with all the excitement over SSD, we sometimes forget to take into account that the data still needs to be processed.


Pretty much. I found that with games that have highly compressed files, the RAM method was slower. I tried iTunes and it would boot almost as fast as chrome. And iTunes is on the 1TB black.
It all depends.
i7-2600k (4.1Ghz), 16GB DDR3-1600, 6970 2GB, GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3, Recon3D Audio (PCI-E), WD 1TB Black (os/programs), WD 2TB Green (games), WD 3TB Green (movies/music), Win 8.1 Pro x64
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:22 pm

Yeats wrote:
Anarchist wrote:with DRAM price dirt cheap why can't somebody come out with a reasonably priced ram drive board with battery back up?


Gigabyte tried something like this a few years ago. I think it was called the i-Drive.

Edit: it's the i-RAM. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-RAM


it's nothing like the Idrive, I drive used battery backed ram to store data. The only similarity is the ram part.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:45 am

shank15217 wrote:
Yeats wrote:
Anarchist wrote:with DRAM price dirt cheap why can't somebody come out with a reasonably priced ram drive board with battery back up?


Gigabyte tried something like this a few years ago. I think it was called the i-Drive.

Edit: it's the i-RAM. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-RAM


it's nothing like the Idrive, I drive used battery backed ram to store data. The only similarity is the ram part.


Kinda like saying the only similarity between 2 cars is they both have engines.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:46 am

shank15217 wrote:ram drives are mostly useless for most applications. Windows already buffers anything it loads into memory. What you are doing is making the the first load faster, but you are wasting the ram because now there are two copies of the same data in memory. It's nothing more than a curiosity.


Depends on the program. The 32-bit version of Photoshop CS5, for example, benefits greatly from using a RAMdrive as a scratch disk.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:22 am

Yeats wrote:Kinda like saying the only similarity between 2 cars is they both have engines.

Which might as well be true, so your point is still invalid.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:03 am

Anarchist wrote:with DRAM price dirt cheap why can't somebody come out with a reasonably priced ram drive board with battery back up?


I've been asking the same thing since SSDs start getting big. I still would really like a PCI-E x16 I can just pop some DDR3 in and go with.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:43 pm

I'm more concerned about the permanence of the data on the drive, you say you use Steam Mover to move games from the HDD to the RAM Drive, prior to removing the RAM Drive do you use Steam Mover to copy the games back to the mechanical?
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Mon Dec 26, 2011 4:14 pm

Jon wrote:I'm more concerned about the permanence of the data on the drive, you say you use Steam Mover to move games from the HDD to the RAM Drive, prior to removing the RAM Drive do you use Steam Mover to copy the games back to the mechanical?



Oh yes. I would move it to the ram, then when done, move it back to the HDD. All by one button click.
i7-2600k (4.1Ghz), 16GB DDR3-1600, 6970 2GB, GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3, Recon3D Audio (PCI-E), WD 1TB Black (os/programs), WD 2TB Green (games), WD 3TB Green (movies/music), Win 8.1 Pro x64
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Mon Dec 26, 2011 4:37 pm

I'm still not seeing how this would be better than an SSD. Far less moving of programs, no worries about power savings, using all of your RAM to cache..... only moderately more money. Shoot, 60 and 90 GiB SSD's are well under $100 now. I picked up a SATA3 (6Gbps) 120 GiB for $120. On a MB/$, its still a better deal.
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Re: Virtual RAM drive == YES!!!

Postposted on Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:11 pm

TheEmrys wrote:I'm still not seeing how this would be better than an SSD. Far less moving of programs, no worries about power savings, using all of your RAM to cache..... only moderately more money. Shoot, 60 and 90 GiB SSD's are well under $100 now. I picked up a SATA3 (6Gbps) 120 GiB for $120. On a MB/$, its still a better deal.

For certain applications it should be significantly faster than even a SSD. I'm assuming the tests the OP ran didn't show much improvement because of CPU overhead to process the game textures etc. was the bottleneck, not the hard drive. With RAM you also eliminate any concerns about limited write cycles wearing the SSD out (but again, this isn't much of a concern if the primary use is loading games).

I agree, in this specific case (reducing game level load times), it doesn't seem to be worth it.
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