Patriot Memory Viper 3 Intel Extreme Masters 16GB (2x8GB) 1866MHZ RAM Kit Review - RAM Disk and RAM Caching
The benefit of having up to 8 DIMMS, and even the 16GB capacities and affordability of Patriot's 4x4GB kits, is that more likely than not, you're going to have plenty of RAM to spare. RAM read and write speeds put those of even SSDs to shame, and being able to utilize those extra Gigabytes of RAM as a super-fast storage device is pretty awesome. The downside? When power is removed from a DIMM, all of the information it held is now gone. So what happens is the software writes the data on the RAM designated as cache or storage to the boot drive. And depending how you have it setup, it will then reload that data to the RAM when the operating system starts.
We used Dataram's RAMDisk to setup 8GB of memory to act as a separate system disk. RAMDisk sets up in a couple minutes of looking over the User Guide and deciphering what the different options mean to the operation of your RAM Disk. It includes an array of options to load disk images you have saved, and how it handles system shutdowns. It's a great piece of software if you'd like to use those extra gobs of RAM you have in your system, and more information may be found on DataRam's Webpage. We installed some programs, including a game on it, and it's absurdly fast, there's no way around it.
The other option to use your RAM as a disk is to use it as a system cache drive. What the cache drive does is take frequently accessed files and placed them into the system cache where it may be quickly accessed later. When using a RAM cache alongside an SSD, we see speeds similar to the RAMDisk speeds shown below, and it runs completely invisibly in the background. So programs and games you frequently access will be cached into the RAM, and just like that you'll be experience a serious boost in your system performance. The cache may then also be written to a disk and reloaded on shutdown as opposed to recaching each time your computer starts. Several programs exist for this purpose, one such popular one being SuperCache, created by SuperSpeed, who also has RAMDisk software.
These speeds speak for themselves, with read speeds over 10 times as fast as an SSD, and the write times about 14 times faster. The only drawback to RAMDisks are capacity and the potential volatility of the data, so make sure you have plenty of extra memory to work with before diving in. Keep in mind that data stored in the RAM is lost when the DIMM loses power, and the data image is saved on asystem hard drive. Because of the volatility of RAM, we wouldn't recommend putting any valuable or critical data of any kind on them.