Glossary:RAM Disk

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
A pair of RAM modules
A pair of RAM modules

A RAM disk is a virtual hard drive that is stored within your computers RAM. RAM is incredibly fast and is even faster than a SSD. It can be used to significantly speed up loading times of any game, but the contents of the RAM disk are lost upon a restart of the computer.

Considerations[edit]

Advantages of using a RAM disk for gaming[edit]

  • Substantially speeds up how fast a game can load.
  • Removes stuttering caused by a slow/fragmented hard drive while playing.
  • Put a part, or a whole game onto your RAM disk, depending on how much you have available.
  • Easily swap in and out different games by storing the RAM file on the hard drive.

Disadvantages of using a RAM disk for gaming[edit]

  • Contents of the RAM disk are lost upon a restart of the computer.
  • Complicated to set up if entire game does not fit into a RAM disk.
  • The game itself will still use RAM, just as if you are playing normally.
  • Setting the RAM disk too large can cause the system completely slow down.
  • Software is limited to 4 GB RAM disk size unless bought or you find an alternative.
  • May require extra hard-drive space to backup saved games depending on game and system configuration.
  • System start up and shutdown can be significantly prolonged when you have large RAM disk and automatic save and load disk image function activated.

Guide[edit]

Requirements[edit]

  • RAMdisk utility - supports up to 4 GB RAM disk size.
  • Softperfect RAM Disk - No RAM Disk size limit.
  • ImDisk - Also handles .iso mounting, unused RamDisk space doesn't detract from available RAM.
  • Spare RAM. If one's system is limited on RAM then this hack will not work.

Step 1 - How much spare RAM is there?[edit]

  1. Find out how much RAM is free when you are playing a game. Open up your game and go into a level.
  2. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and select to open the task manager. Click the Performance tab on the task manager and look in the lower left where it says "Physical Memory (MB)" Under that it says "Available". This is how much ram you have free to use.
  3. Take this number and reduce it by 200 MB, and by how much RAM the game uses. This figure is approximately how large one should let their RAM disk be. Any higher and your system will most likely slow to a crawl so much you have to reboot.
  • Increase available RAM by closing unnecessary applications or using a utility like Cleanmem.

Step 2 - What's the size of the game?[edit]

  1. Find out the size of your game by checking the properties of the game folder.

Step 3 - Format the RAM[edit]

  1. Start up the ramdisk software, check the 'FAT32 Partition' option.
  2. If your game saves its saved games in the games folder itself, then click the 'Load and Save' tab, and check 'Save Disk Image on Shutdown' and 'Autosave' To avoid losing any save games.

Step 4 - Size[edit]

Game is smaller than RAM disk[edit]

  1. Set Disk Size to how big the game is in MB + 100 MB and press 'Start Ramdisk'.
  2. Copy the entire game folder to the RAM disk.
  • If the software states that there is not enough space, click 'Stop Ramdisk', add another 100mb to the disk size and try again.
  • If or performance crawls to a stop, use a smaller Ramdisk size or install more ram.

Once it is all copied, find the games main .exe file on your RAM disk, open it and start playing at increased performance and speed.

Game is larger than RAM disk[edit]

It is still possible to use this method to load some commonly used files in large games to increase loading speeds by using symbolic links.

Requirement:

Identify and copy commonly accessed game files[edit]

Choose large files rather than lots of small files. The most commonly accessed game files are often the largest, for example:

  • World of Warcraft uses MPQ files.
  • Counter-Strike Source uses .GCF files.
  1. Set Disk Size to how big the large game files are in MB + 100MB and press 'Start Ramdisk'.
  • If the software state that there is not enough space, click 'Stop Ramdisk' and add another 100 MB to the disk size and try again.
  • If or performance crawls to a stop, use a smaller Ramdisk size or install more ram.

Rename the files to keep as a backup. For example, for World of Warcraft, world.MPQ, art.MPQ can be changed to world_BACKUP.MPQ and art_BACKUP.MPQ

Symlinking[edit]

Symbolic links allow Windows to access files on the RAM disk as if they had not been moved at all from the hard drive.

  1. Open up the Symbolic Link Creator utility.
  2. Copy folders by selecting 'Select the type of symlink that you want to create' > 'Folder symbolic link'.
  3. Under Link Folder click the explore button, now explore to the path where the folder was. For example, C:\Games\World of Warcraft\.
  4. In the "Now give a name to the link" type in the original name of the folder. In this example, it is \Interface\.
  5. In the destination folder click explore, and navigate to where you copied the folder. In this example, it is I:\Interface\.
  6. Click Create Link.
  7. Repeat this process for all the folders you copied.
  8. Then do the same process for all the files, change from "Folder symbolic link" to "File symbolic link".
  9. Click explore and explore to where the file was, in this example, in C:\Games\World of Warcraft\Data.
  10. In the box below it, type the name of the original file, in this example it was world.MPQ.
  11. Click the explore button under destination file. Find world.MPQ on your RAM disk and select it.
  12. Click create link.
  13. Repeat this for all the files you copied. NOTE you don't need to do this for files INSIDE a folder you already linked.

Now whenever the game attempts to read data from the files/folders you linked, it will read them from the RAM disk instead by following the symbolic link shortcut. This will greatly improve the speed of your game. If there is no real increase then try using different files, or buy more ram to be able to transfer more data to the RAM disk.

Important footnotes[edit]

  • Data from RAM is instantly lost whenever you lose power, or shutdown. If the game saves its saved games in the games folder itself, then click the "Load and Save" tab, and check options 'Save Disk Image on Shutdown' and 'Autosave' to avoid losing any save games.
  • Do not delete the original game files from your hard-drive unless you have this autosave turned on, or you will lose your files.