Advice on RAMDisk?

Hello!  This is my first post! I'm seeking some advice:

First off, i'm not a computer expert, however i did build my machine.  I don't overclock, because i like to extend the life of my processor.  The equipment i have is all about 6 years old, but will run Skyrim on ultimate settings with just a bit of lag during a large outdoor scene. (CPU: Intel i7 [email protected], GPU: GeForce 9600 GT)

I have yet to download RAMDisk, as i'm unsure of how i could really use it.  I have 16GB of RAM, and i know that not even half of that is being used.  I looked at RAMDisk, and it looks like it could put my unused memory to use somehow.  I'm not too interested in using it for streaming or web browsing, so I guess i'm looking for other suggestions.

I'm a digital artist, and within a year or so I'm going to move over to SSDs, as well as upgrade my GPU and CPU, but for now, i'm wondering if there is a way to speed up production, or at least minimize the chance of a large file (such as a PSD or Maya file) from bogging down.  

Maybe it isn't possible, but what are the chances of being able to use my unused memory as some kind of extra cache for large files?

Are there solutions for this without using RAMDisk, or do i just have an unusable amount of RAM?  Thank you!

You really need to go to SSD, that will speed up everything.

Anyway, I use a 4GB RAM disk (the DataRAM RAMDisk software has been working nicely) for temporary folders mostly. I've also assigned some stuff like Photoshop's scratch-file to it. Not really so much for performance reasons, but it would make more of a difference that way until you get an SSD into the system. I'm mostly enjoying the fact that temporary files are sure to be gone after a reboot.

I think what i'm gonna do is buy a 500GB SSD to use as my C drive, and use my old ones as backups/extra storage.  At least until i can replace them with other SSDs. 

Sounds like the main benefit that you're getting using RAMDisk is starting clean from temp files after a reboot, rather than a speedier performance.  Sorry if this is a simple question, but what is the particular benefit to that?  Do temp files bog down the system, or use up memory?

If you only want to specify certain files to be fast a RAM disk is the way to go. If you're looking for overall system performance, I suggest looking at a block level RAM cache. I use PrimoCache:

You can configure the cache many different ways such as caching method, read/write, write-delay. The server version will also allow you to create a cache across multiple harddrives.


"Sounds like the main benefit that you're getting using RAMDisk is starting clean from temp files after a reboot, rather than a speedier performance."

As long as the system runs on an SSD, yes very much so. I also generally experiement with methods that could make a "regular" Windows installation more secure, and then making sure that temporary files are automatically lost at shutdown is interesting. In the end it's also simply because the system has a lot more RAM than practically necessary, leaving room for toying around.

When I started using the RAMDisk software a while ago I was also thinking about using it to lower the amount of writes to the SSD, but tests over time have shown that consumer drives can handle even more writes than their memory chips are rated for so that's a non-issue.

PrimoCache as Beldorr mentioned can be worth trying, though I haven't had much use for it myself. It's best for situations where a lot of work is being done with files on mechanical drives. However in situations where it is supposed to cache larger 2TB+ drives it may also have to use quite a bit(Gigs) of RAM just for overhead operations. It's free to test for now, like the 4GB limited version of RAMDisk, so try it out. :)

Edit: Oh, and if you get a Samsung 840 EVO 500GB (the model I'd go for) then you can install their SSD software and enable what they call Rapid mode, which will use up to 1GB of RAM to speed up all sorts of operations on that drive. Pretty smart feature now that a lot of systems have some RAM to spare.