We have previously written about a RAM disk with StarWind RAM Disk. The software essentially tricks your computer into treating an amount of RAM similar to a hard drive where you can temporarily store and access files at really high speeds.
Another product has come along called Dimmdrive which offers a RAMdisk tailored to gamers. The software has been available previously but just launched on Steam with the start of January.
If you put an Excel file or Access database into a RAMdisk, it’s going to be pretty simple and reliable. Depending on their sizes, you may notice an increase in how quickly the files load.
Games are much more complicated comparatively. With multiple files and dependencies, the game would have to be copied over to your RAMdisk and know to find the files there. That is where Dimmdrive comes in. It coordinates copying the files to the RAMdisk and using symbolic links so the game knows where to find files. The end result is a game played from the RAMdisk loads really quickly because it can load the files so much faster than a traditional hard drive.
In order of speed, you could improve your game loading experience by upgrading your hardware. From slowest to fastest:
- 5400 RPM HDD
- 7200 RPM HDD
- Solid State Drive
If you’re playing games off of a 5400 RPM hard drive, you will notice an even larger boost of speed. However, if that’s any indication of your other hardware, you probably don’t have enough RAM to spare for a RAMdisk while leaving enough RAM for Windows and your game for normal use. Adding more RAM would make the RAMdisk feasible but you could also install a solid state drive for your games and see a pretty big improvement for more cost but less complexity.
The Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB solid state drive is well reviewed and would also improve your performance without decreasing your available RAM. It currently runs $139 on Amazon.com.
As of publishing, Dimmdrive is listed for $29.99 on Steam. It is currently getting mixed reviews with the negative comments stemming from games not fully copying over to the RAMdisk, so the game goes back to the slower hard drive anyways or the process of copying files to the RAMdisk consuming the same amount of time or more that the Dimmdrive will be saving during game loading.