RAM disk (i.e. Asrock's XFast RAM) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-25-2013, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone here using RAM disks? Notice any increased performance over SSD? The transfer speed should be much higher, but how do you handle shutdown/sleep/restart with utilities like XFast RAM? Any setup tips from someone who's happy with it?
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-25-2013, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4th-horseman View Post

Anyone here using RAM disks? Notice any increased performance over SSD? The transfer speed should be much higher, but how do you handle shutdown/sleep/restart with utilities like XFast RAM? Any setup tips from someone who's happy with it?


Here's my $0.02 (from experience)...

RAM disk, which has been around for many years, is best suited for fast I/O buffering of temporary data. Example uses:

- a high-speed temporary workspace, i.e. super-fast "scratch disk" area for Photoshop.

- a super-fast cache area for things like temporary internet files and pagefile/swapfile to reduce OS latencies inherent to slower system media forms (spinning platter hard disk drives in particular).

The main point to remember is that RAM disk is volatile, meaning that the data placed in it will be erased if the system is shut down or rebooted (which is why its usefulness in high-speed read/writes is necessarily limited to temporary/non-critical data). For this reason, you can never run your OS from a RAM disk.

Many RAM disk utilities, however, can overcome the RAM volatility by saving the information in RAM as an image file on a HDD or SSD before the system shuts off, and then (after the OS is up) reload the data from the saved image file back into RAM on startup. The downside, though, is that these steps add to the time needed for the system to shut down and to start up. So a system reboot will take longer to complete if imaging is enabled for RAM disk data retention on power-ups/restarts

Also, you do not need any special system hardware to set up a RAM disk. Again, this stuff has been around for years. ASRock, as far as I can tell from a quick look at your link, has brought nothing new to the table. (Please correct me if I am wrong!)

Here's my RAM disk setup:

System mobo:
Asus M4A88TD-EVO/USB3 (from 2010, has a maximum limit of 16GB DDR3 RAM)

System OS:
Windows XP Professional x86, SP3

RAM:
4 x 4GB DDR3-1333 DIMMS (can't remember manf. or model)

So here I have a system that includes 16GB of RAM, but since I also run a 32-bit operating system, the OS can't even use 4GB. So I have more than 12GB of "wasted" memory.

Enter the best RAM Disk solution for 32-bit OS Windows systems, IMHO:
http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk

Note: There's a free version, but RAM disk creation is limited to 4GB. If you purchase RAMDisk Personal edition, for $18.99 you will be able to access all the available RAM (outside of what the OS uses).

There are other RAM disk products, including quite a few freeware versions. Here's a good link, which lists 12 products and provides speed benchmarks:
http://www.raymond.cc/blog/12-ram-disk-software-benchmarked-for-fastest-read-and-write-speed/

I use the RAM disk a a workspace to cut HD MPEG2 video. While my edited video is in the RAM disk space, I then use a program called CCExtractor to read closed-caption data from the edited video and then create a .srt subtitle version in text format.

When I did these tasks using HDDs as my source and destination areas, editing and sub creation took quite a while. Now I have SSD as my source area, and RAM disk for my destination area... and the speed difference is jaw-dropping.

I'll write more later, and include output reports from the video editor (VideoRedo) and CCExtractor showing the speed difference between "HDD -> HDD" versus "SSD -> RAM disk".
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-26-2013, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Theimpaler View Post

I'll write more later, and include output reports from the video editor (VideoRedo) and CCExtractor showing the speed difference between "HDD -> HDD" versus "SSD -> RAM disk".

Thanks Vlad. That would be interesting to see

I'm interested in tweaking some things I use daily to see how well this would perform. My SSD is pretty fast, but I believe as far as current system architectures are concerned my RAM is much faster. It also doesn't hurt that I came by a good deal to double up on my ddr3 1866 capacity through craigslist.

Also, the asrock mention was only for the number of users here that support the brand. The utilitiy is free bundled software, not a hardware advancement (I believe).

I probably should have also mentioned that while this pertains to my htpc that this isn't purely htpc related, and if that is bothersome please disregard the thread entirely
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-26-2013, 12:07 PM
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Interesting. I wonder if SoftPerfect RAMDisk is a good fit for me? I have 12GB of RAM and frankly I don't think it is a waste. What my concern is not how well the RAM disk performs but how much CPU the software use and how it affect my boot / shutdown while staying dormant. I like to keep my system as simple as possible.

I absolutely want to stay away from AdWare or any software that phone home to mothership.
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-26-2013, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4th-horseman View Post

Thanks Vlad. That would be interesting to see

I'll try my best to do the tests tonight and have the results posted by tomorrow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4th-horseman View Post

I'm interested in tweaking some things I use daily to see how well this would perform. My SSD is pretty fast, but I believe as far as current system architectures are concerned my RAM is much faster. It also doesn't hurt that I came by a good deal to double up on my ddr3 1866 capacity through craigslist.

I too am always looking for good deals on PC parts. I'll have to consider CL or ebay to find exceptional deals since the price of RAM has been increasing lately. Just out of curiosity, what specific tweaks are you considering?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4th-horseman View Post

I probably should have also mentioned that while this pertains to my htpc that this isn't purely htpc related, and if that is bothersome please disregard the thread entirely

In my case, RAM disk helps me edit content that will ultimately be viewed on my HTPC, so there is some HTPC relevance. In fact, lots of AVSers generate content for HTPC viewing, and maybe this thread could help them process their data faster. For example, an optional final step for my HD editing would be to mux my edited HD MPEG2 file (.mpg) with the subtitle file (.srt) into an MKV container. For this I use MKVMerge GUI (part of the MKVToolnix set of software), which is already fast in muxing input and generating .mkv output from one hard disk to another hard disk. Typically, muxing 7GB of 1080i HD MPEG2 video with .srt subs takes about 3 minutes when using hard disks. If I had my input on SSD and put the MKV output on RAM disk, I suspect that it would take considerably less than 3 minutes of time. How much less? I don't know yet... but stay tuned! biggrin.gif

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post #6 of 14 Old 06-26-2013, 02:45 PM
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Benchmarks on RAM disks are great. You can use one as an SSD cache eek.gif

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post #7 of 14 Old 06-26-2013, 11:19 PM
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Okay, here are the results of the RAM disk speed increase for MPEG2 editing, subtitle extraction, and muxing MPEG2 + subtitles into a .MKV file.

*EDIT*
Here are the relevant system specifications:

System mobo:
Asus M4A88TD-EVO/USB3 (from 2010, has a maximum limit of 16GB DDR3 RAM)

CPU:
AMD Athlon II X250 3.0GHz dual core processor

RAM:
4 x 4GB Corsair Vengeance LP (16GB total) 1333MHz DDR3 240-Pin Desktop Memory, Model# CML8GX3M2A1333C9

System OS:
Windows XP Professional x86, SP3


And here are the results smile.gif


I. TRIMMING A CLIP FROM RAW MPEG2 .TS FILE USING VIDEOREDO (3 TESTS)

1. Source file from Seagate 1TB HDD (7200RPM), VRD output file put in a 2nd Seagate 1TB HDD (7200RPM)


2. Source file from Seagate 1TB HDD (7200RPM), VRD output file put in a 12GB RAM Disk (DDR3-1333)


3. Source file from Crucial M4 256GB SATA3 SSD, VRD output file put in a 12GB RAM Disk (DDR3-1333)



II. SUBTITLE EXTRACTION FROM MPEG2 CLIPS USING CCEXTRACTOR GUI (2 TESTS)

1. Subtitle extraction and .srt file generation on Seagate 1TB HDD (7200RPM)


2. Subtitle extraction and .srt file generation on 12GB RAM Disk (DDR3-1333)



III. MUXING EDITED MPEG2 + .SRT SUBS INTO .MKV CONTAINER FILE (3 TESTS)

1. Source files from Seagate 1TB HDD (7200RPM), MKV output file put in a 2nd Seagate 1TB HDD (7200RPM)


2. Source files from Seagate 1TB HDD (7200RPM), MKV output file put in a 12GB RAM Disk (DDR3-1333)


3. Source files from Crucial M4 256GB SATA3 SSD, MKV output file put in a 12GB RAM Disk (DDR3-1333)

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post #8 of 14 Old 06-27-2013, 04:43 AM
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What about the total time it takes from start until that new MKV file is somewhere where it won't disappear when you reboot?

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-27-2013, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

What about the total time it takes from start until that new MKV file is somewhere where it won't disappear when you reboot?

Total time in that case is longer than simply outputting the MKV directly into its final destination, which would most likely be a large capacity HDD (which is what I do with an MKV batch encode for full season edits). But if your workflow involves several steps (as mine does), the RAM disk is ideal for intermediate workspace.

In contrast, if your workflow is, say, rip a BD to HDD followed by MKV encapsulation of only the main movie with Handbrake which is then ready for archiving to permanent storage... in that case then, RAM disk would not be useful, without question.

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post #10 of 14 Old 07-10-2013, 12:06 PM
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I've never bothered with a Ram Disk - wondering if I should use it to cache my HDD on my scratch disc ?

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post #11 of 14 Old 07-10-2013, 12:38 PM
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99.9% of the time, you are better off just directly adding more ram to the system. If you are supporting a legacy app that requires a 32-bit OS and can't use PAE or the app needs more than 4GB, you might have a use case. If just you want to see really big disk benchmark numbers, spend the money on a coding book and write a program to show really big numbers on your screen. It will be just as meaningful.
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-12-2014, 03:16 PM
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Dude, for the love of god there are a million ways to use all that ram. Try downloading Linux Cinnamint. It's free and it feels a lot like windows 7. Otherwise for the love of God upgrade my friend!!!

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post #13 of 14 Old 02-12-2014, 03:58 PM
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Dude, for the love of god there are a million ways to use all that ram. Try downloading Linux Cinnamint. It's free and it feels a lot like windows 7. Otherwise for the love of God upgrade my friend!!!

Wow, digging up a six month old thread to rag on someone for your first post. eek.gif

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post #14 of 14 Old 02-12-2014, 05:02 PM
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I use Asrock's XFast RAM for my windows swap file location (SSD for boot drive).

It runs crazy fast and I have not had any issues at all.

I'd recommend it if you have some extra physical RAM in your system.
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