RAM drive for games

There are some games like ARMA2 which refuse to use more than 2 Gig of RAM. Since the frequently accessed portions of the game are under 3 Gig in size I could split my ram while playing this as 3 Gig for the game and 3 Gig for the RAM Disk. I might look at doing this for Sims 3 and MS Flight Sims X as well if it won’t load enough into memory.

At any rate two questions:

  1. Do I risk damaging/corrupting my system in any way by doing this?

  2. What program do you suggest?

Why would you want to do this again? Hasn’t the need for a RAM Drive disappeared once Hard Disk size increased around… 15 years ago?

It’s possible, but I’m not sure if it would really be worth all the hassle. If certain bits are being frequently accessed, the OS should be caching them for you in all that extra memory even if the game itself isn’t using it.

You’re going to have to reinstall ARMA2 to the RAM drive every time you turn your computer off.

This does not save you any time.

I screwed up, RAM DISK, not RAM Drive.

  1. My hard drive isn’t nearly as fast as my RAM.

  2. I have RAM that isn’t being used by the OS OR the game when playing Arma2.

  3. There’s signifianct stuttering when objects need to be loaded while moving through terrain.

That’s what I thought you meant. Everything in that RAM disk goes poof when you turn the computer off.

  1. You have to have enough RAM to hold the entirety of the ARMA2 installation.
  2. You’ll have to reinstall ARMA2 every time your turn your computer off.

If you can meet these two conditions, here’s a link to some free Windows software that will set up a 4GB RAM disk:

I thought Vista/Win7’s disk caching (SuperFetch?) was supposed to be “good enough” to render RAM drives obsolete? If you really want to improve game performance, I would think you’re better off buying a nice SSD and installing your game(s) there.

I can load a big chunk of Arma2 to the RAM Disk and redirect the game to it like a modfolder. Basically, just the files that slow down the game the most. It’s pretty modular.

Windows is automatically using any unused RAM to cache the disk, which has exactly the same effect as putting a RAM disk there.

Here we have Jpinard willing to make a real world test as to whether Windows superfetch is as good as a RAM disk, and you guys are trying to talk him out of it?

I often considered trying this back when I was playing Invisible War. Here I am with a gigabyte of RAM, and IW refuses to use more than 64MB of it at time? Screw you, Ion Storm.

Interesting. So how could I go about creating a good objective test comparing the two? Superfetch vs. RAM Disk.

You’re already using superfetch. Just compare your load times between RAM disk and non-RAM disk.

…but don’t forget to add the installation time to the RAM disk solution!

I’m pretty sure I used some RAM disk software ages ago with Windows 98se that dumped the disk to file before shutdown. I’d be surprised if no decent software did the same as it’s almost a necessity for games!

That is interesting software. I wonder if you would notice any performance increases by running portable software or a small game from a RAM disk.

Try it out, Jeff!

Anecdotal… I’m using it right now and my hard drives were constantly being accessed while flying over land, and now it seems to have ceased. I’m thinking superfetch isn’t going to cache the same things I’d like it to.

Chris Nahr - It took me 30 seconds and a reboot to initially set this up. It allowed me to make an image file so I can dismount and remount it whenever I’d like. To load the image into RAM takes 10 seconds. But the nice thing is as I unload and reload ArmA2, it doesn’t have to re-cache it according to Win7. I’ll do some analytical tests over the next couple of days.

Just a clarification: Everyone started talking about Superfetch but that’s actually just the new caching algorithm that prefetches frequently used data from disk into RAM while the system is idle. That’s probably not applicable in your case anyway, but regular plain old Windows disk caching should work nearly as well as a RAM disk.