Anyone running a RAM disk on Tiger?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by firestarter, May 27, 2005.

  1. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #1
  2. firestarter thread starter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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  3. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #3
    Since the wide distribution of hard disks, RAM disks have been of extremely limited value, if any. With the advent of virtual memory, RAM disk is less than obsolete and useless. It is just plain stupid. I recently purchased a new G5 with 1 GB of RAM and 250 GB HD. At Apple prices, these are $250 in RAM and $199 in HD space. Thus, RAM disk uses very expensive RAM to substitute for very cheap HD space. Why? Modern apps run in real and virtual memory. If I allocate half of my RAM (512 MB) to RAM disk, I use $125 (in RAM) to increase my use of virtual memory. The bottomline is that using RAM for hard disk space (RAM disk) forces your OS to use hard disk space for RAM (virtual memory). How stupid is that?
     
  4. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

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    #4
    Yikes, settle down there cowboy... no need for name-calling. The fact is that RAMdisks still have a great value to people who regularly perform disk-intensive functions on relatively large files. Especially with the advent of low-RPM drives in a large portion of the Mac line (mini, iMac). The fact is, going to disk for any reason is incredibly slow. The original poster doesn't mention what it's being used for, but it's safe to say its definately not an application (which would probably get loaded into RAM automatically, as you pointed out).

    In any case, I'm sorry to say I don't have any experience with RAMdisks on the Mac platform. Hope you find your answer, firestarter.
     
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #5
    I did not call anyone a name. However, the idea of a RAM disk on a computer that uses virtual memory is stupid. I defy you to show any scientifically-valid evidence to the contrary.
     
  6. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #6
    I don't see why it is stupid. It gives you the ability to shove an entire application, such as a game, into the RAM disk temporarily, meaning that as long as you are running that game off the RAM disk you have virtually no load times. RAM access is FAR faster than hard drive access, so if you have an app that is going to be loading stuff constantly, you can temporarily shove it into the RAM disk. When you're done using it, you delete it off the RAM disk. It is NOT stupid.


    Your idea that Virtual Memory is a better idea than RAM is laughable, however. Compare hard drive access speeds to RAM access speeds before you try to argue with me.
     
  7. firestarter thread starter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #7
    Hmm.

    I was trying to keep my question short and avoid spelling out why I need a RAM disk. The usual advice to RAM disk users is 'it doesn't make any sense unless used in a few limited cases where you know better than the OS'.

    In this case I know better than the OS.

    I'm running my mini as a server, and I've got it running some general housekeeping tasks (clearing spam from my mail boxes etc.). These regular tasks create log files, and cause the mini's disk to keep spinning up.

    I'd like to use a RAM disk to put these log files on so that the OS leaves the disk alone, and lets the computer run silently. I have more RAM than I need too - I added a 1Gig stick, and this is way excessive for what the computer's doing most of the time.

    Now, back to the question - can anyone help me running a RAM disk on Tiger?
     
  8. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #8
    Obviously.
    We understand the "theory." However, there is a very large difference between "theory" and practice, as I will explain below.
    My position on this is clear.


    Here you totally and completely misunderstood my point. I never said that virtual memory is better than RAM. In fact, one of the reasons that RAM disk is stupid is that RAM is better than virtual memory.

    RAM disk is an idea that was in vogue back in the days of MS-DOS and Macintosh System 6. It was appropriate to an era when the OS could address limited amounts of memory. Hard disks were by no means universal. If your computer had one, it was much slower than they are today. It was an era of single-tasking, single-user OSes. And it was an era when the user controlled the memory allocation for each application on his or her computer.

    Until the release of the Mac IIfx, the System 6 could not address more than 8 MB RAM. If you installed more than 8 MB RAM on your computer, it could be addressed only as RAM disk. MS-DOS had several plateaus of limitations-- 64 KB, 640 KB, and 1 MB, to name the three most important. One of the most obvious ways to use more than 1 MB RAM was to use the extra RAM as RAM disk. This is not to say that you could not use RAM if you had less than 1 MB RAM. You just needed to ensure than you RAM disk allowed your application to run. This was possible because the user controlled the use of RAM.

    We live in a different era today. We run preemptive multi-user, multitasking, operating systems with virtual memory. The OS controls memory allocations rather than the user. We have high-capacity fast hard disks. We have a lot more RAM installed in our computers. But no matter how much RAM we install, many of us believe that we don't have enough.

    Now this is where the whole concept of a RAM disk shows its age: First, when an application in RAM disk executes, there are two copies of the application in RAM. One copy is in executeable memory; a second, in RAM disk memory. Second, the RAM in a RAM disk emulates a hard disk, making it slower than other RAM, albeit faster than a hard disk.

    As I wrote in previous post, here is where the idea of RAM disk gets stupid: You have a limited amount of RAM, but you don't have control over it. When you allocate a portion of your RAM to RAM disk, you remove it from use by your applications and system taks, including your primary application. This then forces your OS to use virtual memory, thus slowing your computer down. If that is not stupid, then I don't know what is.
     
  9. zach macrumors 65816

    zach

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    #9
    You seem to have utterly ignored the earlier poster's reason for wanting to use a ram disk.

    He's not running an application in it, so there goes your first point.

    In the days of our "preemptive multi-user, multitasking, operating systems with virtual memory", we can put far more memory in our system than we really need.

    If you're running a small, simple server, 1 GB is plenty of ram, and most of that will remain inactive much of the time, so he's not forcing his computer to use virtual memory.

    The fact remains that accessing data from RAM is for all intensive purposes instant and does not require harddrive spinup, while accessing data from a disk is completely opposite.

    Now, to actually help the original poster... This application seems to be able to create RAM disks, and lists compatibility with Tiger. I'll try it out and get back to you..

    <edit> tried it out, works great. go to special menu, then "create RAM disk".

    Looks like a great piece of software in general as well. </edit>
     
  10. firestarter thread starter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #10
    Hey MisterMe,

    Now that we've established that:
    1/ There are valid reasons for running a RAM disk
    2/ You were incorrect to attack me for wanting to run one
    and
    3/ I'm not just some dumbass newbie user

    could I have my thread back, so that I can get one running on Tiger?

    The only reason that Gimzotoy and GFLPraxis responded to you was that they obviously thought you were incorrect to dicount all uses of RAM disks. You ARE incorrect - and most folks at that point would have to good grace to just disappear rather than just re-justify themselves.

    FYI - most modern UNIX OSs set up /tmp as a RAM only device, for precisely the uses detailed here (temp files and lightweight log files). OSX doesn't do this at the moment (possibly to protect newbies from filling their memory by accidentally writing here).
     
  11. firestarter thread starter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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  12. zach macrumors 65816

    zach

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  13. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #13
    I didn't ignore anything. My point is very simple: RAM disk consumes RAM. Whether the RAM disk is filled with application files, data files, or any other kind of file is immaterial. RAM consumed by RAM disk is not available for anything else. If you think that you have too much RAM, then that is your opinion. I respect it.
     
  14. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

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    #14
    The point here is that the poster has made it obvious that he has plenty of RAM for what the system is being used for. Most kinds of servers have a pretty static memory allocation, and OS X uses, what 700 Megs TOPS with an application or so running. If the poster isn't paging to disk, then yes, he has plenty of RAM. If it turns out he needs more temporarily, then OS X will page some to disk using the virtual memory feature you hold up as some sort of justification for your argument.

    RAM disks don't make any sense for you, fine. We understand. In fact, they probably don't make much sense for 99% of the users on this board. However, this guy has made it abundantly clear that he has a legitimate use for it, and your pointless arguing isn't helping anything get done.

    Hope that program works out for ya, firestarter. It certainly looks pretty good. And the price is right ($10).
     
  15. john1123 macrumors regular

    john1123

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    #15
  16. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

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    #16
    Yea, that was pointed out about 6 posts up or so. It works pretty well, I tested it out.
     

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