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I have a workstation with 8GB RAM running Vista 64-bit. I'd like to try running some small server VMs in a virtual RAM disk to see how much performance improves. I haven't made a RAM disk since my DOS days, so I don't know if the option still exists. How do I got about creating one? Has anyone done this same idea successfully?

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Ah, DOS, the good ol' days when we actually had more RAM than "mass" storage! 640K of RAM, but only a single 360K floppy drive! –  Brian Knoblauch May 5 '09 at 17:39

5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The excellent free Gavotte Ramdisk has been updated for 64 bit, but I'm not sure if there's an authoritative source. You can find it by searching.

Here's a 64 bit commercial ramdisk (free up to 400MB): http://www.cenatek.com/product_page_ramdisk.php

-Adam

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That I know off, it isn't possible out of the box like it used to, when DOS and it's derivatives ruled PCs. There are quite a few third party applications (free and non) out there that will allow the creation on a RAM drive on Vista/Windows 7.

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I would use a real RAM drive: a USB memory stick.

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Theoretically, a virtual RAM drive will be faster (no USB in between, etc). –  user1797 May 5 '09 at 17:45
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Theoretically? Try hands down! The USB link is, maximum, 480mbits/second. Even ancient PC100 SDRAM had a bus rate of 6.4gbits/second, and modern DDR3 memory is approaching 400gbits/second - almost 1,000 times the throughput of USB. Not to mention that most USB sticks actually transfer at a significantly lower rate due to the flash memory chip speed being closer to 40-60mbit/second. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  Adam Davis May 5 '09 at 18:04
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I didn't submit this because it's a higher-performing option, it just has a much lower barrier to entry. I'm a big fan of 80/20. –  aharden May 5 '09 at 18:43
    
That's true, and a very valid point, but keep in mind that only high end (expensive) flash drives exceed the performance of most hard drives. One of the reason there are "readyboost" flash drives and non readyboost flash drives - cheap ones simply aren't faster than using the hard drive. –  Adam Davis May 6 '09 at 12:34

I'd try using Vista's built in ram-disk tool ReadyBoost (2) (3).

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ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver 1.4.0 (released in Dec 2010):

The install package is created using 7-zip sfx stubs and includes an .inf install script. No reboot is required after installing or uninstalling. The install package works on Windows NT 3.51/NT 4.0/2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista/Server 2008, both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

64-bit versions share source code with the 32-bit version. All features and most limitations are the same in the 64-bit and 32-bit versions. One notable difference however is that the 64-bit versions do not have any practical size limits for RAM disks.

64 bit drivers are now digitally signed with a certificate trusted by Microsoft. This means that ImDisk now works Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 even without running it testsigning mode.

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