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  1. #1

    How To Set Up a RamCache on ASUS X79 Series Motherboards.

    Setting up a RamCache or RamDisk

    With the recent launch of the X79 chipset and its support for Quad Channel memory once again the debate has been raised as to what can we do with additional memory as well as how can we benefit not only from the density but the increased bandwidth. Well the answer is easy use that memory as a cache or harddisk!

    Actually the answer comes in the form of two items which have been used for some time in professional spaces and workstation and server environments. Currently at this time in the DIY industry memory pricing has hit an all time low with 4GB being not only readily available but low cost even for higher frequencies likeDDR3 1600. With this in mind this quick setup guide will show you how you can take the memory you would normally install on platform and not utilize it and not only utilize it but greatly benefit from it.

    As we all know a PC’s DRAM memory is considerably faster than even the fastest mechanical HD or the fastest SSD or even raid configurations of either drive type; because of this memory not only offers a huge increase in potential performance over standard storage options but also will compliment any potential storage array configuration. In addition as memory is not limited in regards to a defined bus frequency of operation ( as is SATA you can not only improve performance by using a RamDisk or RamCache but continue to increase performance by using faster memory ) Such as using DDR31333 will offer great performance but moving to DDR31600 will offer even high performance gains.

    What Is A RamCache –

    A Ramcache essentially serves as an invisible prioritized hard drive ( in the sense data is present on it ). This hard drive is actually a cache and contains the most commonly accessed data on system. This cache improves performance by taking over key parts of reading and writing the most accessed data. Minimizing and in some cases eliminating the involvement of considerably slower standard storage options. As the read, write and access time performance of DRAM "memory" is considerably faster than that of standard storage devices this is where the huge increase in performance comes.

    What you will need to setup a RamCache.

    Required items

    Physical memory –

    Personal Recommendation is nothing less than 16GB with a recommendation of 32GB if you also plan to setup a RamDisk as well.

    An example of a current Quad Channel Kit of Memory is Corsair’s Vengeance Series. Different speeds and voltage ranges are available ( 1600 1.35v, 1600 1.5v or 1866 1.5v )

    Software –

    There are a number of solutions currently on the market. A couple of the applications that we’ve tried internally and had reliable results are linked below.
    RamDisk Plus
    SuperCache 5

    Romex Software
    VSuite Ramdisk

    Motherboards -

    ASUS P9X79 Series Motherboards are being used for this setup and configuration overview. All of our X79 series of board have been tuned for excellent memory compatibility as well support for higher densities and high frequencies. * The quality of the IMC ( integrated memory controller) will vary to a considerable degree as such in most situations the limitation on 8 dimm frequency support will be limited by the quality of the IMC not the motherboard or its UEFI. In internal testing we currently have been able to hold 8 dimm configurations in excess of 2400 speeds.

    1. Complete windows installation depending on the capacity of your SSD you may find a significant reduction in useable space when increasing the quantity of system memory on your PC.

    Be advised adjustments noted below can considerably reduce the used volume space after windows installation.

    1. Modification or disabling of Recycle Bin
    2. Modification or disabling of System Restore
    3. Modification of System Paging File ( it is NOT advised to disable your system paging file )
    4. Disabling of Hibernation functionality.

    2. Once completed with adjustments to useable volume space in your OS volume install SuperSpeed RamCache.

    For a video walkthrough please watch the linked video below.

    1. Begin with double clicking and launching the setup.exe file for SuperCache 5.

    2. Prior to going through with the installation reference your current memory usage. This is just to get an idea of how much memory you are currently using right after a system post/boot. In most situations your overall initial footprint for memory usage will be approx 1.5 to 2.5GB of memory usage. This baseline number will be added with the amount being allocated either automatically or user defined so it is important to know how much active memory is being used.

    3. As we see we verified the amount our OS installation was using and have proceeded to move forward with the installation. At this time we have maintained SuperCache’s default installation parameter of defining the cache volume automatically. If you would like to manually define a parameter at the offset uncheck the automatically box. Be advised recommendations of cache size vary depending on the applications, games etc being run on the system. My overall recommendation for a mixed usage PC ( Gaming, Multimedia Playback, Web Browsing, Content Creation or Productivity ) is 8.00GB.

    4. Continue to click through the confirmation screens allowing the installation to proceed.

    5. Once completed the installation will ask that you reboot the system. Please do so.

    6. Once the installation is completed verify you new default memory usage as this now includes your SuperCache. Should you want to adjust the amount of memory used for SuperCache proceed forward.

    7. Open the application and right click on the primary windows volume which has a SuperCache default installed to it. Select Cache from the range of options presented. Select configure this will take you to the configuring SuperCache console.

    8. Once inside the configuration console you can adjust the SuperCache memory allocation under “Main Memory Allocation”. In the example I have adjusted to 8GB. In addition for additionally extending performance you can select to enable the Deferred Write Mode option. Be advised this option can potentially cause issues if power is suddenly cut, dropped from the system. It is advised you use a UPS with this option. As we are choosing to maximize performance we have selected this option. The advised option for “Lazywrite Latency selection is automatically set to (5s). Should you want to attempt to maximize performance further you can consider an option of 1s which internally has yielded a small additional bump in performance.

    Once you have gone through these steps you will have successfully completed setup and configuration of a RamCache.

    If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them in the thread. Thanks! are also always appreciated.

    Take It Easy and Take Care!

  2. #2
    New ROGer Array
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Great guide! I'm going to try this soon.

    I have a couple of questions though.
    1. Will the RamCache speed up boot time?
    2. How does the program (SuperSpeed) manages what data to be placed in the RamCache to increase the disk access speed?

  3. #3
    ROG Member Array
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Thanks for this. Your Youtube video was extremely helpfull as well. Hoping for more posts of the like.
    Asus Rampage IV Extreme
    Intel i7 3960x cooled by Boreas from Coolit
    Gskill 32gb 2133mhz
    Strider 1500w PSU
    Evga GTX 580 Classified Hydro Copper:
    cooled by Heatkiller Chrome and triple radiator
    Patriot Wildfire 240gb x2 in raid 0
    Seagate 2tb sata 6g for storage
    Corsair 800D case modified to fit the Boreas
    Windows 7 x64

  4. #4
    I understand how the RamCache works, thanks you the explanation here and your YouTube video, but the RamDisk is a little more confusing. You mentioned in the video and installing an application on the RamDisk increases performance dramatically, but when you run an application doesn't it get loaded into memory? If so, what's the difference? And if not, no further explanation is needed. Also (and I'm trying to fit everything into one reply), if you install an application on a RamDisk doesn't that imply that you must save the image of the RamDisk upon powering down the computer, and reload that image when the system is powered up again?


    Lanny T.

  5. #5
    ROG Member Array
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    OK. I tried this on my X79 Pro and it is pretty sweet! AT least for benchmarking. I am not sure how the cache learns or adapts but it really shows off the speeds of the RAM.

    I just do not want any issues with corrupt data. I originally had the x79 board setup as a Velociraptor 10K hard drive for the system and a Corsair 120GB SSD as an SSD cache, as descibed in the you tube videos. But the very first day after I had my system completely installed and all programs running, my PC locked up....would not respond and needed a hard reset. The following boot took forever and when it loaded, every program that was loading in windows startup was failing with "program has referenced memory in xxxxxx" and they would close. Even explorer shell wouldn;t work.

    I tried rebotting a few times and got excessive chckdsk scans and all kinds of crossed descriptors. So I removed the SSD, and walla!!! The system is stable as can be. I did extensive testing and the SSD is fine. In fact I imaged my hard drive and cloned the installation to the SSD and it is great! NIce and fast, stable and no errors. The only issue is I have had to learn to install a lot of the games onto a seperatie drive. I left all of my video editing apps and 3d modeling programs on the SSD. So far so good.

    I am just testing out the RAM cache to see what it can do!


  6. #6
    Would also like to know what the real world benefits are of ram cache and certainly what the risks are.
    Does it have a benefit when you are doing this:
    + receiving email and writing email
    + reading websites
    + downloading a movie
    + copying a dvd
    + playing games
    For risks:
    + can it cause problems with your installed software if the computer crashes at some time
    + can it cause problems when you have an electricity failure and the power goes out in mid operation
    All info is more then welcome

  7. #7
    Thanks no problem!
    1. Yes it will speed up boot time. If you are already using an SSD though the impact will be not be noticeable.
    2. The caching is based on the cache algorithm developed by the company that designs the software. In this respect some applications will perform differently than others. For most though they will cache the most consistent application executables that are launched.

  8. #8
    No problem glad it helped!

  9. #9
    Interestring I have not had any issues at all with testing SSD caching. Can you confirm you have the latest firmware build for the SSD? If you send me your information this is somethng that would be worth looking into further.

    Regardless glad to hear you set up the cache without issues!

  10. #10
    For the cache it is similar to SSD caching so for all intents and purposes it is transparent and does not affect any parameters of usage negatively. If you use deferred writing then yes if you were to have a power loss or surge,spike,sag etc then you could have an issue. That being noted those type of events could easily also cause data corruption to a normal SSD or mechanical HD so in my opinion it is not to much of a difference. That being noted a deferred write enabled system is at high likelihood to have some type of problem. Independent of that there would be no negative impact to the scenarios you have noted.

    In regards to real world benefits the most immediate would be reduce boot times, (especially when coming from a mechanical HD), reduced load times and application launch times. You can also see more consistent performance in metadata access (like thumbnails for galleries or music folders etc. Essentially anything that requires read access performance should see in increase in performance. For write performance assuming you enable deferred writing you can gain more consistent write performance a higher data rates).

    Hope this clarifies things for you.

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