RAMDisk: A Gamer’s Perspective

~ written by Francis Symonoski, Dataram Memory Blog Team Member

I have been a casual gamer most of my life and have enjoyed the evolution of games over the years, from coin-ops to consoles to the modern incarnations that we have today in PC gaming.  In today’s modern landscape with online gaming and the fierce competition that arises from it, everyone wants an edge, and under the right circumstances, RAMDisk can provide that edge.

You may want to peruse our blog post about RAMDisk from June 7, 2012 if you are not familiar with this software.  In a nutshell, RAMDisk allows you to create a drive using available RAM, which in turn allows you to cache files for faster access–much faster than a hard disk or SSD could ever achieve.  This is a huge advantage when you are accessing very large files and data, and in the video game world every second can mean the difference between moving forward or restarting from the closest spawn point.

First, let’s talk about the benefits and how they may apply to you.  We have all been there– waiting for a map to load, for new areas to appear, even buildings and grass to be “painted” when moving forward.  Using RAMDisk to store your various texture files is the perfect method to have these files available for immediate use instead of your computer having to go look for them on a disk drive. First person shooters are a perfect vehicle for RAMDisk, since there are so many texture files that need to be refreshed constantly, and if you are looking for your enemies, the ability to spot them before they spot you is a no-brainer.  Some people install the game directly into the RAMDisk, which makes the game run extremely fast because all of the files are in memory.  In other words, RAMDisk can be the key to fast refreshes and quick load times.  You might want to search YouTube with your favorite game and “RAMDisk” to see how others have configured their systems.

Be advised that there are times when RAMDisk may not benefit your gaming needs.  For example, League of Legends and World of Tanks have texture files which need to be loaded, but all of these files are loaded before the game even begins.  Having your files load instantly just to wait for the other 9 people to finish loading is not necessarily beneficial.  Does it load faster if it is in the RAMDisk?  Oh, absolutely.  There’s a nice feeling to seeing your screen load when there are 29 seconds left on a 30 second clock, yet there is no “combat” advantage in this situation, only a satisfied feeling that you are ready.

Finally, RAM itself is volatile, so if you have a power outage or corruption on the RAMDisk, the files will be wiped clean and you will have to re-install or restore the files from backup depending on how you have your software configured.  Granted, if you have a power outage in the middle of an important match you probably are not going to win that match, but you certainly do not want to do a restore before resuming the game either.  Games that have the option of moving just the cache location to RAMDisk are ideal, because no restoration is necessary. Just a quick reload and you’re back in action.

So, if you are a gamer and are looking for ways to speed up your load times and gain a competitive advantage, then RAMDisk may be the perfect solution. There is a huge amount of information out there on RAMDisk and its benefits and operation with many games.   With the cost of RAM at all time lows and with the ability to easily put 32GB of Dataram memory in your home PC, the future for gaming and RAMDisk looks very bright indeed!

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