Tuesday, January 31, 2012

RAM Disk Utility "RAMDrive" by Scintilla

$4.99 in Mac App Store released 1/28/2012

The RAM disk utility “RAMDrive” is on sale in the app store. A RAM disk or RAM drive is what uses part of your primary storage as a disk drive. The app “RAMDrive” allows you to create your own RAM disk. That means, if your computer has a large amount of memory, you can use a part of it as the RAM disk. Even the Mac Mini today has a 16GB max storage, so RAM disks can be comfortably used today by the average person.

As the app store says, “the speed of such disk can be up to 5 GB per second.” That’s obviously faster than a standard disk drive and even faster than an SSD. Making the bank-switched RAM behave like disk drives harnesses this speed because it frees the RAM from the limitations of the data bus and CPU. 

The disadvantage of the RAM disk, however, is that it is created in the volatile memory. It means that if you turn your computer off, all the data is lost, thus making the functions of it limited. When RAM disks were a standard utility in the Mac OS of the past, several megabytes of the RAM disk would be used as a Photoshop scratch disk...perhaps it could be used in a similar fashion today.

RAMDrive has a number of functions that make the use of RAM disks more comfortable. The app store says, “RAMDrive supports automatic mounting on the disk when starting the system. Additionally, you can set the automatic backing up of the disk at logging off the system and recovery at logging in.”

We’ve gone a long ways since the old days:

256MB Daystar RAM PowerCard; RAM disk mounted on Quadra 950

http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk (for Windows)

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