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Readyboost vs. RAM size (yet again...)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've perused the threads about readyboost here and on other forums, and I'm still confused: While I agree, the biggest performance jump you get with readyboost is for a system with 512MB of system RAM, and that with more physical RAM readyboost has little effect in actual use and some benchmarks (i.e. if you have 4GB of RAM, one sees almost no effect from readyboost). Some people have even said that they see lower performance when they use readyboost (which doesn't make any sense except perhaps due to the fact that the USB or other flash drive doesn't have sufficiently low access time that calling to it for pagefile info is better than the system's hard drive).

I don't quite know, however, if there's a decent way to see if I'm benefiting from readyboost. I don't trust my "feel" of something because this inherently depends on the various things i've got going on at the same time--so disabling readyboost, using my system, then enabling it on a memory stick, and going about my business might not yield the same experience each time.

So I ask: What would be the best, objective way to see if I'm benefiting from readyboost on a system with 4GB of physical RAM?

I would say that anytime windows intelligently goes to my USB or other flash ram device to retrieve a small portion of data (since such devices have poor sequential read/write speeds), it should show improvement. And in Windows 7, it is supposed to do just this--intelligently select the flash ram device for such a situation where the data chunk(s) is (are) small, where the flash device holds an advantage over the system's hard drive. So what situation will it do this when I have 4GB of system RAM?

What are the situations where ^^^ is the case for "general" use on a system with a decent amount (4GB) of RAM?
    
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post #2 of 11
Quote:
So I ask: What would be the best, objective way to see if I'm benefiting from readyboost on a system with 4GB of physical RAM?
Measure your boot time? Or the time it takes to open firefox?
post #3 of 11
Readyboost is slower then your RAM, by a large margin. You will only see a benefit if you are out of RAM, which you can check by looking at task manager.

It gives such a large benefit on 512mb systems, since you're almost guaranteed to be out of RAM just booting the OS.
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post #4 of 11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefreeaccount View Post
Measure your boot time? Or the time it takes to open firefox?
How in the world would boot time be affected by readyboost? It's a cache for the system pagefile, which is only invoked and set-up on the hard drive after the system successfully boots into windows...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy9000 View Post
Readyboost is slower then your RAM, by a large margin. You will only see a benefit if you are out of RAM, which you can check by looking at task manager.

It gives such a large benefit on 512mb systems, since you're almost guaranteed to be out of RAM just booting the OS.
Agreed that readyboost has the biggest effect on 512mb systems because there's so little ram available for the OS and other programs/processes, but wouldn't it also be feasible that readyboost in general would always be better--say if the OS wants to access the cache simultaneously for lots of small files, it can do so with readyboost, retrieving some from the HD and some from the flash ram/memory stick. I guess this all assumes that you're at the max of what your system disk can handle.

Wonder if I just have to have a lot of intensive things running at the same time.

Thanks for the reply!
Edited by guyladouche - 12/24/10 at 7:01am
    
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post #5 of 11
Quote:
How in the world would boot time be affected by readyboost? It's a cache for the system pagefile
Readyboost has nothing to do with the pagefile. It caches the files your computer needs to load when it boots (the superfetch boot trace) and small, frequently accessed files on the USB stick.
Src: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/tomarcher/ar...02/615199.aspx

Pagefile = part of your computer's virtual memory, it contains pages from memory that have been swapped to disk
Readyboost = file cache
Edited by thefreeaccount - 12/24/10 at 7:25am
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefreeaccount View Post
Readyboost has nothing to do with the pagefile. It caches the files your computer needs to load when it boots (the superfetch boot trace) and small, frequently accessed files on the USB stick.
Src: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/tomarcher/ar...02/615199.aspx
I meant superfeftch, not page file--that's my bad. But it still has absolutely no effect on windows boot time, since superfetch is not invoked until after the OS boots.
    
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post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by guyladouche View Post
I meant superfeftch, not page file--that's my bad. But it still has absolutely no effect on windows boot time, since superfetch is not invoked until after the OS boots.
Here is a boot trace from my system. As you can see, readyboost starts 6s after the kernel loads and coincides with the start of disk activity:




My system is not booting in 6 seconds. In fact the 6s is when the system starts to boot and drivers/services begin to load:




Finally, superfetch is working. In fact prefetches are inversely correlated with page misses! It is actually working very well:




Note: I do not use readyboost, but neither have I disabled readyboost in the registry
Edited by thefreeaccount - 12/24/10 at 12:40pm
post #8 of 11
I've been told ReadyBoost will be an advantage with a netbook running 1 or 2GB RAM.

I don't believe a word.
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post #9 of 11
Waste of time.
Not sure how people believe a 30 MB/sec USB drive can compete with 10 GB/sec RAM.

It's only vaguely useful when you don't have RAM (512m-1G) since access times on a solid state device are best for writing many small files as such would be used for swap space. The only real speed advantage is because of the latency vs. the amount of exponential time you lose writing a bunch of tiny files on a mechanical hard drive.

If you were to use readyboost with an SSD you would notice absolutely no difference, even with 256m of RAM.
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post #10 of 11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beers View Post
Waste of time.
Not sure how people believe a 30 MB/sec USB drive can compete with 10 GB/sec RAM.

It's only vaguely useful when you don't have RAM (512m-1G) since access times on a solid state device are best for writing many small files as such would be used for swap space. The only real speed advantage is because of the latency vs. the amount of exponential time you lose writing a bunch of tiny files on a mechanical hard drive.

If you were to use readyboost with an SSD you would notice absolutely no difference, even with 256m of RAM.
Because you're missing the point of readyboost. It's not useful in sequential reads for pulling large volumes of data to/from the ram--it's useful in intelligent caching, where the computer needs lots of different small files--where the very low seek time of flash ram wins, and the sequential read/write has absolutely no meaning or effect.

How would you notice no difference running readyboost on a SSD system with 256MB of RAM? Superfetch is still useful, even if you have a SSD. You'd still benefit from the system having two sources of the superfetch cache that it can access simultaneously (one on the SSD, one on the flash ram stick). You'd still be running out of space to dump stuff to the RAM, so having another instance of the cache would only benefit.
    
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