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Installing a game into a RAMdisk almost eliminates load times.

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I tried installing XCOM Enemy Unknown into a ramdisk (I allocated 20GB of my system memory into a ramdisk, leaving 12GB free for actual usage), and it loads ridiculously fast.

The initial game (not counting those stupid logo videos) takes appx 3 seconds to load. Each level (the mission objective screen) takes around 1 - 2 seconds to load, and other load screens take about 1 second (the ones with the rotating shield, the shield gets to rotate about 180 degrees and it's done loading. There's not enough time to read the tip message on the screen at that time). Hell, it took me a while to realize the mission objection screen was actually a load screen because it loaded so fast that I missed the "Loading..." message.

Downsides: You probably can only have 1 - 2 games installed at a time. You also have to shell out the extra money for 32GB of RAM. If you don't have that much you probably don't have enough space to install stuff and have enough RAM for system usage. Also, if you reboot or something, the contents of your RAMdisk go poof (I only reboot 3-4 times / year, so that's not that big of a deal to me).
post #2 of 34
I've seen a few vids on youtube of games like Skyrim comparing RAMdisk to SSD, and the gains were nowhere near what I'd hoped.

I'm more interested in whether a ramdisk will completely eliminate on-the-fly loading pauses in games that stream a lot (open world games, like Skryim). Tried much of that?

EDIT: http://youtu.be/1Af2uT7bsEY?t=1m35s

That, for example, doesn't inspire me to drop money on extra RAM for a RAMdisk, and then wait for the ramdisk to upload every time I boot the machine.
Edited by Oubadah - 5/19/13 at 3:03am
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post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubadah View Post

I've seen a few vids on youtube of games like Skyrim comparing RAMdisk to SSD, and the gains were nowhere near what I'd hoped.

I'm more interested in whether a ramdisk will completely eliminate on-the-fly loading pauses in games that stream a lot (open world games, like Skryim). Tried much of that?

EDIT: http://youtu.be/1Af2uT7bsEY?t=1m35s

That, for example, doesn't inspire me to drop money on extra RAM for a RAMdisk, and then wait for the ramdisk to upload every time I boot the machine.

First off, if you reboot more then when you absolutely have to (eg, if you turn off your PC at night), installing programs to a ramdisk is not for you. I would say if you do it more then monthly it's more of a hassle then it's worth.

If load times are bad with a ramdisk, then something else is the limiting factor, because the ramdisk is going to provide at least 6 GB/s (that's gigabytes, not bits) of bandwidth, which means you can make a copy of the entire game in a second or two. If there's any kind of compression on the files then it's going to take time to uncompress them regardless of how fast your drive is. Or people just have improperly configured stuff. And no, a ramdisk will not COMPLETELY eliminate loading pauses, as it doesn't magically optimize the game to not load to memory and utilize the files straight up, since the game isn't aware of the fact the files are already loaded into RAM.

I'll install crysis warhead and give it a test.

Personally , load times are one thing i hate about modern games. If it takes 30 seconds to load levels then that's just ridiculous.
post #4 of 34
Any decent ramdisk manager will let you save an iso, to be loaded back up at reboot.

I get just under 7700 MB/s sequential read, and 10,560 MB/s seq. write with mine, and copying an iso to my ramdisk only take a minute or two, seeing as the transfer happens at around 150 MB/s... if you happen to have an SSD, you probably wouldn't waste your effort with a ramdisk, but it would transfer even faster... and some software can be set up to load your ramdisk at boot up.

But the poster above me is incorrect, even if your ramdisk is burning up 6GB/s read/write, you cannot possibly hope to "copy" from or two the ramdisk at that speed, as you are limited by your hard disk.

Personally I don't mind coping an iso over, as I find it well worth the minute or two initial wait... I usually use that time to go grab a big glass of ice water or something. The load times in game more than make up for it.
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post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masta Squidge View Post

Any decent ramdisk manager will let you save an iso, to be loaded back up at reboot.

I get just under 7700 MB/s sequential read, and 10,560 MB/s seq. write with mine, and copying an iso to my ramdisk only take a minute or two, seeing as the transfer happens at around 150 MB/s... if you happen to have an SSD, you probably wouldn't waste your effort with a ramdisk, but it would transfer even faster... and some software can be set up to load your ramdisk at boot up.

But the poster above me is incorrect, even if your ramdisk is burning up 6GB/s read/write, you cannot possibly hope to "copy" from or two the ramdisk at that speed, as you are limited by your hard disk.

Personally I don't mind coping an iso over, as I find it well worth the minute or two initial wait... I usually use that time to go grab a big glass of ice water or something. The load times in game more than make up for it.

When I say it takes a second or two, I mean copying from ramdisk to ramdisk. (which is essentially what's going on when the game's loading files. It's copying it from the ramdisk to ram)
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by demoship View Post

First off, if you reboot more then when you absolutely have to (eg, if you turn off your PC at night), installing programs to a ramdisk is not for you. I would say if you do it more then monthly it's more of a hassle then it's worth.

I wouldn't have installed to the RAM disk, instead I'd use Steam Mover to temporary move the game smile.gif

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post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Ok, results are in.

The time from the load screen coming up to "Press any key to continue" in crysis: warhead is 15 seconds for me. Which is more then twice as fast as that youtube video taking 35 seconds.

My hardware:

i5-3570K @ 4.5ghz
660 Ti
32 GB DDR3 1600
Windows pagefile disabled

I doubt the guy who made that video has much older hardware, he probably has his ramdisk set up in some incompetent way, like if he still has a pagefile.. the system could be putting part of the ramdisk in the pagefile which completely nullfies any performance gain.
post #8 of 34
15 seconds better, but I still don't think I'd bother vs SSD (for loading times at least).

Do you have and COD games? COD4/5 showed the biggest gain when switching to SSD, I wonder if a RAMdisk could work even better.

It's a pity RAM pricing is going up, otherwise I'd be inclined to test the effects of a ramdisk on streaming pauses myself.
Edited by Oubadah - 5/20/13 at 12:24am
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post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubadah View Post

15 seconds better, but I still don't think I'd bother vs SSD (for loading times at least).

Do you have and COD games? COD4/5 showed the biggest gain when switching to SSD, I wonder if a RAMdisk could work even better.

It's a pity RAM pricing is going up, otherwise I'd be inclined to test the effects of a ramdisk on streaming pauses myself.

Well, 15 seconds vs 45 seconds (for a SSD) is a massive difference.

It's not so much initial loads that's an issue, it's if you get to a part where you need to reload a few times it becomes a big deal. Short load = no big deal. Long load = give up.

45 seconds is an awfully long time to be looking at a load bar.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACHILEE5 View Post

I wouldn't have installed to the RAM disk, instead I'd use Steam Mover to temporary move the game smile.gif

Steam Mover is in my Sig!

I am going to check out Steam Mover when I get home..

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

RAM disk is very expensive for what you are getting in terms of performance.
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