Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:16 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "The most visible part of Windows Vista is the Aero interface, and while we can't deny that it looks very swish we find it very hard to get excited by a shiny new GUI. Instead, we're looking forward to new Vista hardware, which includes a new use for the humble USB memory key and much, much more. So what will the ultimate Windows Vista notebook offer?"
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Is "ReadyBoost" as good as it seems?
by h3rman on Wed 24th Jan 2007 00:29 UTC
h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

You simply plug in a USB Flash drive (...) Windows Vista adds an extra option, to earmark the drive for ReadyBoost.
Designate the key as ReadyBoost memory, and Windows uses it as a system resource, making it dead simple and cheap to add 2GB or 4GB of memory to the melting pot. (...) it's pure genius for a desktop PC where you can simply plug a key in the back and forget about it.


When I heard about this, I thought it was an interesting invention by MS. Wel, it obviously is interesting. A bit like moving your swap-partition to the flash drive instantly.

However, RAM is not flash. Flash "wears out" significantly, when there are such frequent read-write actions (which happens when you use it like RAM/swap), as someone pointed out to me in a discussion on whether the Linux kernel would be capable of the same thing. So it seems not to be a very effective solution; slower than real RAM too.

Maybe after all it is worth the investment, if you really do want Vista and have it run faster, of just opening up the machine and adding some real RAM.

Reply Score: 5

CowMan Member since:
2006-09-26

The situation will be more "un-ideal" that that. USB is too slow for 'swap-use'. MythTV compiles liked to dump 2 or 3 gb of stuff into my 1gb of RAM, so one-time I decided to try adding a 2gb USB key as a swap drive.. slow as hell. The only redeeming quality was that it continued to compile.
Increasing the swap partition size on the hard drive resulted in way better performance. Hard drives are pretty cheap these days, too.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

Of course you have to use such "inventions" to accelerate Vista. But if you're using a real operating system with able developers, there is just no need for such nonsense.

Reply Parent Score: 4

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

When I heard about this, I thought it was an interesting invention by MS. Wel, it obviously is interesting. A bit like moving your swap-partition to the flash drive instantly.

*Cough*MS, invention*cough*

In the days of minicomputers, there used to be three types of "memory"/storage: RAM for the computer to store the OS and programs and work on data, hard disks to store the results of work, and so-called "fixed disks" to store swap/paging data. These "fixed disks" had one head for every cylinder (a group of tracks formed by each vertically-aligned sector on all platters of the disk), whereas hard disks had one or two heads for every platter. The fact that there was one head for every cylinder, of course, made them faster than hard disks.

So this idea is just the same idea, reimplemented with modern technology.

Reply Parent Score: 3

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

>>When I heard about this, I thought it was an interesting invention by MS. Wel, it obviously is interesting. A bit like moving your swap-partition to the flash drive instantly.

>*Cough*MS, invention*cough*


Sorry for that.
I was trying to be nice to Microsoft for a change.
Figure that wasn't necessary. ;)

Edited 2007-01-24 07:33

Reply Parent Score: 3

r3m0t Member since:
2005-07-25

ReadyBoost does not make a USB drive act as RAM, nor as swap. It caches something or other (not sure what), but even if you disconnect the USB drive without doing it from the ReadyBoost interface, the computer continues to work perfectly.

Apparently most USB flash drives have a fast area and a slow area. ReadyBoost only uses the fast area, so not every USB drive is compatible, and not all of the capacity will be usable.

Finally, an MS blogger claimed that they had considered the possibility of wearing out a flash drive, and toned down the aggressiveness of the caching to reduce the number of writes.


Still, I think the technology is pointless.

Reply Parent Score: 1

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

ReadyBoost does not make a USB drive act as RAM, nor as swap. It caches something or other (not sure what), but even if you disconnect the USB drive without doing it from the ReadyBoost interface, the computer continues to work perfectly.

Fine, but.. isn't all that merely semantics?
USB Flash isn't RAM, nor can it ever behave like that. It's flash. Call this thing external swap, call it anything you like, but something must be going on in that USB drive?

So I agree with you: to me too, it's an increasingly pointless idea. Just get some more RAM, most people have no idea what to ask for their birthdays anyway. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2