We’ve talked a lot about SSDs on the Fix My PC Free blog. SSDs are a (relatively) new form of data storage that is significantly faster than traditional hard drives. For that reason, SSDs are becoming more common in tablets, smartphones, and Ultrabooks as an efficient and speedy form of data storage.
Unfortunately, SSDs are expensive, and they’re outside the budgets of many computer users. A 120GB SSD generally costs around $100, and that might not be enough space for all your music, movies, and games. However, 120GB is more than enough space to store the Windows operating system as well as a few of your favorite applications or video games.
Using SSDs, some people have been able to reduce Windows startup times to just a few seconds. Gaming framerates can also be doubled, and loading times in games like Skyrim virtually disappear. That’s how fast they can be.
If you like fast computers, then you’re probably interested in the idea of SSDs, but you might not want to shell out the big bucks needed to buy one. Fortunately, there is one easy way to solve that problem: create a RAM disk.
What is a RAM disk?
RAM operates on a similar principle to your hard drive. RAM, like a hard drive, is just a type of data storage. However, RAM is insanely fast compared with traditional storage space, and RAM is much faster than even the best SSDs on the market today. However, RAM is not usually used to permanently store data; instead, it’s used to temporarily store random data while your PC is being used.
RAM disks aren’t a new phenomenon. In fact, they’ve been used since the 1980s to maximize computer speed. It appears that this classic PC performance tweak is experiencing a resurgence in growth.
Thanks to the power of a RAM disk, RAM can be used for more than just random, temporary storage. Setting up a RAM disk isn’t as hard as you might think, and software like DataRAM’s RAMDisk can create a RAM Disk for you for free. Or, check out Primo Ramdisk.
Basically, RAM disk software tells your computer that there is a chunk of storage space on your RAM stick. Let’s say you have 16GB of RAM. 16GB is more than enough to run many programs simultaneously, and you most likely never use 100% of your RAM. You can create a 4GB RAM disk partition on your RAM stick in order to store commonly used data.
While you probably don’t have enough RAM to store a 20GB operating system like Windows, you can easily install popular programs like Word or Excel onto the disk. According to PCWorld, installing programs like this onto a stick of RAM can cause performance to double.
If you don’t have enough RAM to create a RAM disk, then you can always buy more. Your motherboard probably supports a few extra gigabytes of RAM, and maxing out your mobo’s DIMM slots can unlock a significant performance boost.
For more information about creating a RAM Disk, and for full instructions on using the two free RAM disk programs we’ve listed above, click here for the full PC World article.