“Once upon a time (specifically, for about a year between buying my first laptop in 2006 and the Internet’s October, 1997 arrival in my neck of the (literal) woods) I ran the PowerBook 5300 about 95% on a RAM disk,” Charles Moore reports for TechnologyTell.
“Aside from the benefit of near silent computing, the advantages of using a RAM disk were speed and longer battery runtime. Whatever the PowerBook 5300′s virtues (it did have some), speed wasn’t one of them, so every little bit helped,” Moore reports. “The processor—in that case a 100 MHz Power PC 603e—could reference RAM a lot faster than the 4,200 RPM HDD, and used less battery juice doing it. However, once the Internet arrived here in October, 1997, RAM disk running was pretty much over, at least for everyday computing, and interest in RAM disks began to fade. Apple dropped the Mac OS RAM DIsk creation option from OS X.”
“However, Swiss developer Power APP has just announced the release of RamDisk for Mac [US$8.99], a new utility that the company claims can speed up a Mac by factors of up to 40x, as well as increasing the lifetime of your MacBook’s Solid State Disk,” Moore reports. “As in days of yore, RamDisk creates a virtual drive using the Mac’s RAM, and, of course, today’s Macs give you a lot more RAM to work with. The virtual RamDisk drive can be treated like any drive on the Mac; files and data can be stored, and applications can be installed and run off that drive (although note well that until created data is saved to a physical volume it remains in a perishable state, and will be lost in the event of a power cutoff or unrecoverable crash). ”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Note: OS X users can create RAM Disks via the Terminal app for free.
Open Applications > Utilities > Terminal and enter the following command:
diskutil erasevolume HFS+ ‘RAM Disk’ `hdiutil attach -nomount ram://xxxxxxx`
Replace the “x” characters above with the number that represents the desired size for your desired RAM Disk. The size of the disk is based on the number of 512-byte sectors. So, to create a 4 GB RAM Disk in OS X, replace the xxxxxxx’s in the Terminal command above with 8388608 which is the result of (4 * 1024³)/512.
Run the command and you’ll have a 4GB Ram Disk (or whatever size you desire/can afford out of your system’s RAM) mounted on your desktop.
Run apps via RAM and watch them fly! (Or, when you want to show just how fast your Mac is via something like Geekbench, you restart your Mac, create a Ram disk, and run Geekbench off RAM.)
To remove the RAM Disk, just eject it via the Finder as with any other disk.
[UPDATE: 2:40pm EDT: Fixed the formula above.]