Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Scotty on Tue 24/Dec/13 7:23am

I have an old HP net book I'm quite fond of, however it can only take a maximum of two gig of ram. I've found by the time I crank up Windows 7 with Chrome and the likes of Spotify etc two gigs seems a bit underpowered. To the point

I been reading up on using USB sticks for RAM applications, has anyone here done it? I'm thinking of getting something like an eight gig cruzer fit and sticking ti in the side.

Has anyone here tried anything similar?
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Rik on Tue 24/Dec/13 7:34am

Never tried it, but can't see it being very fast, it'll be faster then when windows runs out of RAM and starts shuffling stuff to and from the HDD, but still won't be a very enjoyable user experience.
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby slidecontrol on Tue 24/Dec/13 8:04am

SSD instead of the regular disk? I imagine the USB would be a bit of a bottleneck even if the stick could provide a boost on its own
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Purple_Helmet on Tue 24/Dec/13 9:04am

Haven't tried it, but Win7 does have a built-in facility for this so it might help.

Someone, somewhere said:

"Yes but only if there is not enough system memory. In this case the system uses the hard drive as RAM (swap file) and this makes the computer quite slow. The USB-Solution is better than the swap file solution but much slower than more RAM, because USB 2.0 is limited to 50 or 60 MB/s transfer-speed. The next point is that a normal USB-Stick is made for storing data but not for constantly reading and/or writing. An 4GB USB-Stick costs 5$ and 4GB of RAM 50$ and more. The USB-Solution is more an emergency solution in my eyes. I think a normal USB-Stick will make this job for not more than a few weeks and if it crashes you may loose important data. If the computer is used for engineering jobs or academic research, the USB-Solution is highly risky and an additional lack of safety too."

You've probably already read this stuff but.
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Simonius_Titius on Tue 24/Dec/13 10:22am

Yes this works, it is called ReadyBoost and does exactly what you want. I just enabled it for the first time yesterday, on an old Vista machine with the same 2GB limit.

I think it was introduced with XP.
In Vista you just have to enable the ReadyBoost service (it is enabled by default but I normally turn it off). Then you right click on the USB drive, click Properties, click ReadyBoost, choose how much space to use - I gave the maximum of 6GB.

Magazine tests have reported a worthwhile but not stunning performance improvement. It is never anything like as good as adding more RAM.
Windows manages the cache intelligently. It decides what sort of stuff is suitable to give to the USB stick given its slow transfer but fast access.
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Scotty on Tue 24/Dec/13 10:43am

Maybe I'm attacking this the wrong way.

It's an HP Mini 110 - 1006TU. DDR2 SDRAM. I'm seeing conflicting stuff about whether I can chuck more in thurr, some people are saying because it's running XP I can't (but I'm running 7) others are saying it's physically impossible.

I will openly admit I know FA, but my main question on the RAM front no is am I being limited by software or the hardware? I thought it was the hardware.
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Rik on Tue 24/Dec/13 10:59am

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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Simonius_Titius on Tue 24/Dec/13 11:57am

Scotty wrote:Maybe I'm attacking this the wrong way.

It's an HP Mini 110 - 1006TU. DDR2 SDRAM. I'm seeing conflicting stuff about whether I can chuck more in thurr, some people are saying because it's running XP I can't (but I'm running 7) others are saying it's physically impossible.

I will openly admit I know FA, but my main question on the RAM front no is am I being limited by software or the hardware? I thought it was the hardware.

XP adn other 32-bit OSs can use 3GB though it is normally fine and sometimes faster to use a 2x 2GB sticks - some machines run slower if the RAM is different sizes.

Hardware was hard limited to 2GB on many older machines and there is no way around that. I suspect in some cases a bios upgrade might allow the machine to recognise and use bigger sticks.

I'm pretty sure there have been machines which could handle more RAM than their specs say, I think because the RAM didn't exist at the time of manufacture so could not be certified for that machine.
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby philstar on Tue 24/Dec/13 4:45pm

Simonius_Titius wrote:XP adn other 32-bit OSs can use 3GB though it is normally fine and sometimes faster to use a 2x 2GB sticks - some machines run slower if the RAM is different sizes.


32 bit operating systems are limited to 2^32 ~ 4GB it is the maximum addressable ram , but XP uses the lask 1GB of addresses for something else ( I don't know what) so is limited to 3GB
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Simonius_Titius on Tue 24/Dec/13 5:23pm

philstar wrote:
Simonius_Titius wrote:XP adn other 32-bit OSs can use 3GB though it is normally fine and sometimes faster to use a 2x 2GB sticks - some machines run slower if the RAM is different sizes.


32 bit operating systems are limited to 2^32 ~ 4GB it is the maximum addressable ram , but XP uses the lask 1GB of addresses for something else ( I don't know what) so is limited to 3GB

Oops my Windowscentrism is showing. XP uses the last 0.8ish GB to stash its NSA stuff, its highschool essays, its porn collection, and bits of code that might come in handy one day.
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Malcy on Tue 24/Dec/13 5:24pm

philstar wrote:
Simonius_Titius wrote:XP adn other 32-bit OSs can use 3GB though it is normally fine and sometimes faster to use a 2x 2GB sticks - some machines run slower if the RAM is different sizes.


32 bit operating systems are limited to 2^32 ~ 4GB it is the maximum addressable ram , but XP uses the lask 1GB of addresses for something else ( I don't know what) so is limited to 3GB


What he said.

It's why I don't like the Electronic Dick, Hardly Normal etc, for fleecing poor noobs by selling them 6GB RAM laptops etc, with Windows (version) 32bit.

Stoopid.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the 32GB of RAM in my new beast. :-)

Just sayin'
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby wachtourak on Tue 24/Dec/13 6:25pm

lol wtf do you need 32gb of ram for. With 8GB I can play battlefield 4 with a bunch of shit going in the background and I'm still only using half that...
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby gristle on Tue 24/Dec/13 6:32pm

Rendering aircraft interiors?
Oh yeah, only needed 12 for that.

I cannot see how swapping to a usb stick would be better than the HD.
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby znomit on Tue 24/Dec/13 6:42pm

wachtourak wrote:lol wtf do you need 32gb of ram for.

+1
640K ought to be enough for anybody.
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Re: Anyone Using A Usb Stick As Ram?

Postby Simonius_Titius on Tue 24/Dec/13 8:15pm

gristle wrote:I cannot see how swapping to a usb stick would be better than the HD.

If you had to choose just one I'm sure the HDD swap file would be best.

But Windows is smart enough to decide which stuff to swap to the hard drive (fast but very slow access) and which to swap to the USB drive (slow, but v. quick access).
Tests (on bootup time and I think some apps) show a modest improvement when adding ReadyBoost USB to a machine which is low on RAM.
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