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USB Flash drives as ram

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3 replies to this topic

#1 Leech


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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:23 PM

I am deciding to get some 8gig+ USB sticks for my computer to use as some extra RAM
Are these any good for this job?

Anyone else use USB as ram?

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#2 dif


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 02:54 AM

What motherboard/memory have you got at the moment.

Depends on what setup you have as to whether any speed increases would happen or be noticed.

#3 underclocked


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 03:33 AM

Hi leech,

It is possible but there are certain things you should know

1> It becomes virtual ram (Not actual), That means your pc will use usb as virtual memory instead of HDD space.

2> Since flash is faster than HDD, it can increase the fetch speed hence little performance improvement

3> Once the flash drive is made as virtual ram, It shouldn't be removed without changing the settings.. otherwise
it might lead to a system crash

4> And I dont have info on the maximum size of flash drive that can be used for this purpose (I believe its 4GB)

If you are clear with all the above; revert back with OS details...


Edited by underclocked, 07 February 2012 - 04:08 AM.

#4 Platypus


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Posted 07 February 2012 - 08:54 AM

Some useful information about using ReadyBoost with a USB flash drive:


The drive does not act as extra RAM, or as virtual memory - it is used as a file cache for frequently accessed files. If the system has a slow hard drive, or typical tasks generate a lot of seek activity on the hard drive(s), this may be helpful. If the system is low on RAM, the assistance will be most noticeable, but far more benefit would come from a generous complement of RAM.

Note the minimum performance requirements for a flash drive to be used this way:

At least a 2.5 MB/sec throughput for 4-KB random reads
At least a 1.75 MB/sec throughput for 1-MB random writes

Compare this with hard drive figures, such as here:

Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.578 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 1.037 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 47.439 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 43.852 MB/s


Readyboost has the potential to enhance small random reads significantly (eg intensive access to random database records), but a hard drive is much faster for large reads and writes. So a Readyboost flash drive can help in this limited circumstance, but in many cases with a decently specified system and the usage patterns of a lot of users, will bring little benefit.

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