In light of AMD’s latest memory release and Radeon RAMDisk push, I decided to take a look at the latest version 4.1.0 of the RAMDisk software to see what had changed since the last time I tested it out. Improved installation and logging along with a couple of new features are all part of the new RAMDisk software.
AMD has simplified the installer since the previous version to the point that only a few clicks are necessary to get setup. Although you can jump into the advanced settings and change the installation path, the default options are basically just to accept the ToS and click next. Other GUI tweaks include a new Logging tab that scans the last 1,000 entries in the Windows Event Log and shows only those related to the RAM Drive.
The biggest change is the addition of new options in the load/save tab. Because of the nature of RAM, the RAMDisk created by the software is not persistent across reboots. However, you can save the disk image to a file on persistent storage (a hard drive, SSD, et al). Then, you can save the RAM Drive and its contents to a file and reload that disk after a restart.
The paid version of Radeon RAMDisk takes this a step further by allowing background updating of the RAMDisk data. With the Load in Background option, the RAMDisk will be immediately available to the operating system after a restart. The software will automatically start transferring data from the image stored on the hard drive to the portion of RAM set aside for the RAM disk instead of making the user wait fro the entire disk to be recreated before it can be accessed. Any data requested that has not yet been transferred to the RAM disk will be transparently pulled from the hard drive image.
Further, AMD offers up a background update option that will run in the background and continuously write RAMDisk changes to the *.img file stored on the hard drive. This eliminates the need to wait for the entire RAMDisk to be written to disk before shutting down the computer or stopping the RAM Drive. Considering the wait times to read and write data from/to the hard drive is one of the major limitations of RAM drives, this is a really useful feature that certainly adds some incentive to springing for the paid version.
The free version doesn’t get background updating, but it does still have the AutoSave feature that will write data out to the image file periodically which will help prevent data loss due to power failure or kernel panic.
Heh, the SSD is pegged but the RAMDisk utilization peaked at 4% when copying a 1.51GB Kerbal Space Program (with a few mods installed) folder from an Intel X25-M to a 4GB RAMDisk ;).
In my brief testing yesterday, I had some trouble getting the software to create a FAT32 formatted disk, where it kept changing to unformatted before creating the disk. Eventually I opted to format the drive myself using Windows’ Disk Management utility. Aside from that hiccup, I think the new version is worth updating to if you have not already–especially if you have the paid version (so that you can get the background data transfer features).
For specific details on exactly what has changed, an AMD-provided change log is below:
Feature Highlights of AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk release 4.1
- Updated GUI improvements .NET
- Updated installer package – Fewer clicks required to install
- Improved GUI event logging
- Improved management of options when setting Load/Save
Performance Highlights of AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk release 4.1
- Performance gains on AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk 32GB and 64GB
- Vastly improved load and save mechanics allowing for background update and background loading of the RAMDisk. Reduces wait times for load and save. “Background Update” and “Load in Background” enabled (registered users only)
- Faster PC startup and shutdown while RAMDisk is enabled.
Improved IO performance on multi-processors and multi-core systems
- Evenly distributed load among the CPUs. Allows for more system efficiency.