In the days of DOS, RAM disks were common. DOS even included support. Supposedly they are not useful under Windows, but that is not true.
Windows users say they are not generally needed because Windows caches programs using superfetch, etc. However test data and other temporary files are not assisted by this.
I've been using one for working with source and the building of large source trees and have seen an increase in speed measured in factors. Builds that formerly took 2 minutes now take less than 30 seconds. Furthermore, I have a RAID 0 setup with fast drives and large caches, so my hard drive based time is already a bit more than twice as fast as a normal system.
The problem comes about not from the usage of a RAM disk, but the minimal choices in RAM disk software.
- Free or inexpensive
- Auto save, including the ability to autosave new files or delta blocks in the background.
- Windows 7 x64 compatible
This is the one I am currently using. There is a free version that allows disk up to 4 GB. In actual use of the drive it creates, it has been very reliable. However the UI is a bit kludgy, and it has serious problems if the power fails while it is saving an image. After reboot, it lost the drive letter and all contents. Of course it was a RAM drive, so I recovered the actual data quickly, but I lost a lot of time "fidgetting" with the software just to get the RAM drive working again.
This one looks great. But the basic version is $39.95, and thats for x86 only. If you want the SAME version but x64 only, its $79.95! Its double! There are certain business practices that I refuse to support, and one of them is higher pricing for x64.
ImDisk - Open Source
Looks very promising! New i7 system arriving in a few days, will try it out then.
12 RAMDisk Benchmarks
Update - Problem Solved
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