SSDs (Solid State Drives) are not new. They are way fast than normal HDD (Hard Disk Drives), like 4x the speed but still expensive and out of reach of many of us. You might be saving money for a SATA or M.2 SSD or even Intel Optane (Fastest SSD available till now, around reading speed of 2600 MB/s) but what if I say you can enjoy the read/write speed 10x faster than SSD (Read speed of 2966.3 MB/s in my case, can be more depending on Hardware) for free? Using your RAM as a Virtual Disk called as RAM Disk.
What Is a Ram Disk, and why would I need it?
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the fastest physical memory, you can mount it as a normal storage drive to store files and programs and you will experience a dramatic change in performance. RAM is volatile memory and the storage space that it offers is only available during the session unless the software (Explained Below) supports the saving and loading of disk images.
These properties make the RAM Disk perfect for a lot of purposes. You may use it as fast, temporary storage for temporary data. Move the browser cache to the RAM Disk, or push your MS Office to it and feel the speed of starting program twice as fast.
RAM is insanely fast compared with traditional storage, as you can see in the above screenshot comparing benchmarks from a 5200-rpm hard drive (left) and a RAM disk(right).
You may even install applications or games on the RAM Disk to enjoy faster loading times and less performance related issues. But don’t get too excited as the space on RAM is limited and you should leave 4GB space for the system. Well we can’t push GTA5 for insane performance to it as GTA5 is above GB but It’s great for application where the app must read and write a lot of data, such as media encoding or editing large batches of photos.
Another widely use case scenario of RAM disk is in high-speed network transfer. For Example, you are on a GigaBit network (speed up to 1000MB/s) But your HDD will bottleneck and result in slower transfer rate. You can use Ramdisk which is thrice as fast as the GigaBit network (in my case) to transfer the data at high speeds.
How to Create a RAM Disk?
There are so many Free as well paid software for Microsoft Windows to create Virtual RAM Disk, But I selected two of the best free software for you.
AMD Radeon RAMDisk is not limited to devices equipped with AMD Radeon hardware. Anyone can download and install the program, and use it to create a single RAM Disk with up to 4 Gigabytes of space. The limit is raised to 6 Gigabyte on systems with AMD Radeon Memory.
The program is compatible with all versions of Windows starting with Windows Vista, and supports the saving and loading of the RAM image on start or shut down for persistent storage.
The program is created by DataRAM, a company known for its RAM Disk products. The program displays an ad for the commercial versions of AMD Radeon RAMDisk on start.
One of the interesting features of ImDisk is that you may use it to create dynamic RAM Disks. Instead of specifying a size during setup, you may check the “allocate memory dynamically” option to have it changed on the fly.
The program does not limit the size of the RAM Disk, and you may use it to create multiple disks. It supports the loading and saving of images for persistent storage options.
ImDisk Toolkit offers more than just the creation of a RAM Disk. You may use the program to mount image files as well.