Author Topic: Computer HD-Ram Conversion  (Read 2421 times)

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Offline SimonReach

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Computer HD-Ram Conversion
« on: August 12, 2015, 12:45:45 pm »
Hello techies! I'm wondering if it is, in any way, possible to convert Hard Drive space into RAM. I'm interested because one of my friends apparently did so.

He has Windows 7, and went to Control Panel\System and Security\System, Advanced System Settings, but I'm not sure what he did, if what he did was legitimate.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 12:48:14 pm by SimonReach »
 

Offline cyr

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Re: Computer HD-Ram Conversion
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2015, 01:37:55 pm »
There is such a thing as "virtual memory", your programs can "see" and use more memory than you actually have RAM in the machine - and things that are loaded into RAM but not actually used can be saved to the harddisk and loaded back in later if needed (called swap).

However, as everyone who used a computer when RAM was measured in MB rather than GB knows, when you start to use swap everything slows down to a crawl because a harddisk (or even an SSD) is much much much slower than RAM.

Just buy more RAM, it costs practically nothing these days!
 

Offline drws

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Re: Computer HD-Ram Conversion
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2015, 07:26:00 pm »
Was it ReadyBoost perhaps?
As cyr said, most operating systems now will use hard-drive space as RAM once you run out of free RAM. Swap/pagefile etc.

Different to the days when I used to use RAM as a (volatile) hard-disk on my Amiga.  :D

Edit: actually if your friend was in advanced settings then it was probably just adding another pagefile or increasing the size of the existing one. But to reiterate what cyr said... Buy more RAM. Virtual ram is a last resort.
See: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/change-virtual-memory-size#1TC=windows-7
« Last Edit: August 12, 2015, 07:34:27 pm by drws »
 

Offline jonjoy1999

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Re: Computer HD-Ram Conversion
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 01:33:32 pm »
Was it ReadyBoost perhaps?
Readyboost doesn't operate on a hard drive, (if you have a hard drive that can 'support' Readyboost (i.e. SSD, or hybrid hard drive), Readyboost is irrelevant) since Readyboost is intended to speed up short hard drive reads
 

Offline rastro

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Re: Computer HD-Ram Conversion
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2015, 01:44:47 pm »
It sounds like what your looking for is called a "ramdisk".  You might look here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_RAM_drive_software
-rastro
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Computer HD-Ram Conversion
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2015, 03:09:05 pm »
It sounds like what your looking for is called a "ramdisk".  You might look here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_RAM_drive_software
-rastro

A ramdisk (ramfs, tmpfs) is the opposite of what he's asking for.  He's asking about swap or pagefiles, and while yes they work, they are so abysmally slow (even on an SSD) that they're pretty much pointless for anything other then preventing a total system crash in an OOM (out of memory) condition.
 

Offline mariush

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Re: Computer HD-Ram Conversion
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2015, 03:50:28 pm »
Windows already does this with page files.

The software asks the operating system how much memory the computer has and the operating system replies with the amount of ram installed in the computer, plus a quantity that depends on how much disk space is available and how you configured the paging system.

On Windows 7, click on Start, then right click on Computer, and select Properties.  Then click on Advanced Settings. In the Advanced tab, click on the Settings button in the "performance" section, then go again in the "Advanced" tab and click on "Change" button.



You can uncheck that "Automatically manage ..." option and tell Windows exactly how much disk space you're willing to let Windows use, on each drive letter.  It can be either a minimum and maximum size and then Windows will automatically adjust the file size of the page file on that drive depending on how much it uses, or you can set the same number in both boxes like in the picture above and then the file will always stay the same and be fixed.

In Windows 8 and later, it should be pretty much the same, just maybe the way you reach them is a bit different .. ex on my windows 2008 web edition dedicated server, it can be reached through Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced System Settings and then it's like in the pictures above.

So basically let's say you have a computer with 4 GB of RAM and you configured Windows to use up to 10 GB of disk space. You have Firefox or Google Chrome using 1 GB of memory out of 4 GB. When you start another application, Windows will tell that application that there's 13 GB of memory free. As the new application starts to use memory, Windows will try as much as possible to make room in the real memory because that's much faster than hard drives, so it looks at applications in the background or minimized (like Firefox) and starts moving the information they store in ram to the hard disk... the new application will never know what happens in the background.

-----

If you want the other way around, to create a small hard drive using the memory installed in the computer, then you can install software that creates virtual hard drives, I personally use ImDisk : http://www.ltr-data.se/opencode.html/#ImDisk

--

But keep in mind, most diagnostic applications are smart enough to detect the REAL amount of memory installed in the computer so you won't see that number changing. However, application will be able to use a lot of memory.
Also, 32 bit applications by design can only use up to about 2-3 GB of memory, no matter how much RAM you have installed, or how much disk space you configure there for page files. 64 bit applications can use as much memory as you throw at them (terabytes of ram).
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 03:53:57 pm by mariush »
 

Online rdl

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Re: Computer HD-Ram Conversion
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2015, 04:52:56 pm »
I have 8 GB of RAM and Windows 7, the swap file is set to 8 GB also. It almost never gets used. So with any reasonable amount of RAM using disk space for extra seems useless.

Now, if you're one of those people that use software requiring huge amounts of RAM (what software is that anyway?), then maybe. However, I think those people tend to just buy more RAM.
 


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