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An important message from System 7 Today founder Dan Palka
 Topic: Are you using a RAM disk? (Page 1 of 1)
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Using a RAM Disk - yes or no?
 42%  [ 3 ]
 57%  [ 4 ]
What's a RAM disk!?
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Total Votes : 7

  Chefsessel (Profile)
  32 MB
Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 8:06 am
Coming from the AmigaOS, I was really used to the concept of a RAM disk. Always liked it. With my old PowerMac G3 (and OS9) I used "rambunctious" quite extensively to keep the hard disk spin down. Silence is golden Smile

However, I've ran into a lot of classic Mac OS users that never used a RAM disk or didn't even know what it is all about. How is it with you? Do (did) you guys use a RAM disk with your System 7 machines?
  wove (Profile)
Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 6:37 am
RAM Disks were a built in part of System 7. You can set one up and turn it on using the Memory Control Panel. I think their main use was with the Powerbook 100 and Duo 200 series of Powerbooks, where it was used to extend battery life. Many people also advocated using a smaller RAM disk to speed up cache operations on a web browser.

System 7 Macs used a different processor than Windows during the System 7 era and used a different processor mode from the Amiga. This tended to make a RAM disk of less benefit to the Mac OS than other OSes. Mac applications generally load an entire application and room for document space into RAM when the application is initially loaded. So once an application is up and running it seldom accesses the disk. From a performance standpoint it is ususally better to allocate lots of memory to applications, than to allocate memory to a RAM Disk.

So while a RAM disk will speed up initial opening of applications it provides very little general performance benefit after that point. There are of course several notable exceptions, but overall a RAM disk was used more for power management purposes than for performance purposes.

If you look through the forum you will find references to replacing the hard drive in a PowerBook 1400 with an IDE/CF adaptor, which while technically not a RAM Disk, does provide advantages for the Powerbook 1400 operation.

  beachycove (Profile)
  16 MB
Posted: Sun May 22, 2011 10:05 pm
In my experience past and in occasional dabblings present, RAM disks work really, really well in certain early PowerBooks that can take a lot of RAM. E.g., my PowerBook Duo 270c, which has RAM maximized (32MB, if I remember correctly), boots into 7.1 or 7.5 from a RAM disk and can run even a memory-hungry application like Nisus Writer 5, without spinning up the hard drive except for the initial boot. It will then run stably for days, so that the hard drive never really needs to spin up. This has major benefits for battery consumption and speed, as well as silence. The contents of a RAM drive are also protected if you do the thing right (read up on it in the old manuals, as it's a revelation), so that part was also well thought out back in the day.

Use of a proper utility to set up the RAM disk offers major benefits over the built-in System feature: e.g., most will archive the RAM disk to the hard disk as necessary, or do memory compression (like RAM Doubler).

You can most easily do this on the later 68k Duos (270, 280, but not the PPC-based 2300), and also on the PowerBook 150, which is often dumped upon but which stands out for these purposes because it can take a whopping 40MB of RAM (which is nearly as big as a period laptop hard drive), and which does not need to run a System higher than the small, elegant and rather wonderful 7.1. The effect of running one of these machines this way is amazing, as operations become lightning fast, even on a little 68030 running at half speed (which was a power saving feature of the 68030).

So yes, and contrary to what has beens said, RAM disks were used extensively by early PowerBook users. The effect of a RAM disk on the machines is stunning, especially if you avoid the built-in RAM disk and go with one of the more capable utilities to take full advantage of it.

A CF card is dead slow by comparison. I've done that too, and I am afraid that we just aren't talking about the same thing.
  thehackercat (Profile)
  8 MB
Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:53 pm
I used Finale 3.2 and Band-in-a-Box for my composition. Naturally, all those MIDI banks were quite taxing for a pre-PPC machine, and Finale had quite the memory footprint. I believe I put most of the supporting data files inside the RAM disk, because the Finale application was too large to fit on a 3.5" floppy. Smile
  Chefsessel (Profile)
  32 MB
Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:15 am
Forgot about this thread, sorry guys Smile

One thing I can say is that RAM disks are really a good idea for your average System 7 computer. I'm actually writing this message on my PowerMac7100/80 with 76 MB RAM using the Internet Explorer 5. (the only browser that somehow handles to display the most important sites like S7T, Mac Garden, Mac Domain etc. halfway accurate)

Anyway, the IE 5 was almost unusable on this system due to its high requirements. That is until I used rambunctious 1.5, IMO the best and fastest RAM disk tool for System 7. I copied the whole IE 5 folder over to the RAM disk and started it. Lo and behold, it speeded up the experience so much that it is actually tolerable and allows me to download good System 7 stuff without having to go through the set up a network hassle. So thumbs up for RAM disks. Everyone looking for a bit more speed on his old System 7 Mac should give rambunctious 1.5 a try. (would be my suggestion for adding in the software guide, if you agree, Dan?)
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