Subject: Storage | May 10, 2013 - 03:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ramdisk, ram drive, ram, radeon ramdisk, amd
In light of AMD’s latest memory release and Radeon RAMDisk push, I decided to take a look at the latest version 4.1.0 of the RAMDisk software to see what had changed since the last time I tested it out. Improved installation and logging along with a couple of new features are all part of the new RAMDisk software.
AMD has simplified the installer since the previous version to the point that only a few clicks are necessary to get setup. Although you can jump into the advanced settings and change the installation path, the default options are basically just to accept the ToS and click next. Other GUI tweaks include a new Logging tab that scans the last 1,000 entries in the Windows Event Log and shows only those related to the RAM Drive.
The biggest change is the addition of new options in the load/save tab. Because of the nature of RAM, the RAMDisk created by the software is not persistent across reboots. However, you can save the disk image to a file on persistent storage (a hard drive, SSD, et al). Then, you can save the RAM Drive and its contents to a file and reload that disk after a restart.
The paid version of Radeon RAMDisk takes this a step further by allowing background updating of the RAMDisk data. With the Load in Background option, the RAMDisk will be immediately available to the operating system after a restart. The software will automatically start transferring data from the image stored on the hard drive to the portion of RAM set aside for the RAM disk instead of making the user wait fro the entire disk to be recreated before it can be accessed. Any data requested that has not yet been transferred to the RAM disk will be transparently pulled from the hard drive image.
Further, AMD offers up a background update option that will run in the background and continuously write RAMDisk changes to the *.img file stored on the hard drive. This eliminates the need to wait for the entire RAMDisk to be written to disk before shutting down the computer or stopping the RAM Drive. Considering the wait times to read and write data from/to the hard drive is one of the major limitations of RAM drives, this is a really useful feature that certainly adds some incentive to springing for the paid version.
The free version doesn’t get background updating, but it does still have the AutoSave feature that will write data out to the image file periodically which will help prevent data loss due to power failure or kernel panic.
Heh, the SSD is pegged but the RAMDisk utilization peaked at 4% when copying a 1.51GB Kerbal Space Program (with a few mods installed) folder from an Intel X25-M to a 4GB RAMDisk ;).
In my brief testing yesterday, I had some trouble getting the software to create a FAT32 formatted disk, where it kept changing to unformatted before creating the disk. Eventually I opted to format the drive myself using Windows’ Disk Management utility. Aside from that hiccup, I think the new version is worth updating to if you have not already--especially if you have the paid version (so that you can get the background data transfer features).
For specific details on exactly what has changed, an AMD-provided change log is below:
Feature Highlights of AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk release 4.1
- Updated GUI improvements .NET
- Updated installer package – Fewer clicks required to install
- Improved GUI event logging
- Improved management of options when setting Load/Save
Performance Highlights of AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk release 4.1
- Performance gains on AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk 32GB and 64GB
- Vastly improved load and save mechanics allowing for background update and background loading of the RAMDisk. Reduces wait times for load and save. “Background Update” and “Load in Background” enabled (registered users only)
- Faster PC startup and shutdown while RAMDisk is enabled.
Improved IO performance on multi-processors and multi-core systems
- Evenly distributed load among the CPUs. Allows for more system efficiency.
Subject: General Tech | February 28, 2012 - 01:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ram, optical ram, o-RAM
If this is truly a breakthrough and not just another step towards optical RAM, then this story at The Register should put smiles on a lot of faces. Utilizing an indium gallium arsenide strip buried in gallium arsenide these researchers have found a way to make this material either transparent or opaque to light, and using that to dynamically record a 0 or 1. This would imply that the speed of the RAM would only be limited by how quickly the material can switch from one state to the other. These theoretical DIMMs would need a minute amount of power, the abstract states 30 nW as the predicted power draw, which could eliminate heatspreaders as we know them today. The security conscious may also be assuaged that the state will last for a matter of microseconds so there will be no more freezing RAM for snooping through later.
"Japanese researchers are claiming a breakthrough in all-optical memory, one of the key bottlenecks remaining in the optical communications world.
The high throughput of optical communications systems brings its own problem: any function that can’t be performed in the optical domain demands an opto-electric conversion, creating a bottleneck in the system. This has put a premium on research into optical switching, amplification and signal regeneration."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung shows off 20nm PRAM @ SemiAccurate
- DDR4 shows up in the wild @ SemiAccurate
- Mutant heroes to rescue Ultrabooks from price trap @ The Register
- Dell Joins Rival HP on Growing List of ARM Server Makers @ DailyTech
- Intel Sandy Bridge RC6 Is Good To Go @ Phoronix
- This image contains a hidden audio track @ Hack a Day
- MWC 2012: NVIDIA Samples Tegra 3+, Tegra 4 to OEM Partners @ VR-Zone
- AMD Heaven GamExperience London Event Gallery @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: Memory | January 9, 2012 - 09:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ram, memory, ddr3, crucial, ballistix
Crucial, a company most well known for their RAM modules, today announced three new series of Ballistix DDR3 RAM modules. The RAM is available in low latency modules based on Micron's 4 Gb chips, and runs at either 1600 MHz and 1866 MHz. The three new series are called Ballistix Sport, Ballistix Tactical, and Ballistix Elite.
The Ballistix Sport modules are the low end modules of the three new series and are designed for mainstream users and a gamers on a budget. They are available in single, dual, and triple channel matched kits. The single modules are available in a DDR2 module running at 800 MHz, DDR3 stick running at 1333 MHz, or DDR3 DIMMs running at 1600 MHz. The DDR2 DIMM need 1.8 volts and delivers a CAS latency of 5-5-5-15 while the DDR3 DIMMs need 1.5 volts and have a CAS latency of 9-9-9-24. The dual and triple channel kits have the same specifications as the single module DDR3 RAM, though obviously they come with multiple matches DIMMs in one package.
Ballistix Tactical brings up the middle ground in the new lineup, and are comprised of DDR3 DIMMs only. The single DIMMs are available in 2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB capacities. They need 1.5 volts, run at 1333 MHz and 1600 MHz, and have a CAS latency of 7-7-7-24 or 8-8-8-24. Like the other kits, they come in single, dual, and triple channel kits. The Dual channel kits come in 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB capacities and the triple channel kits come in 6 GB and 12 GB capacities. Other than the additional sticks of RAM, they run at the same voltages and CAS latencies.
Last up is the top tier of the three new Ballistix series, dubbed the Ballistix Elite. These modules are designed for high performance gaming and memory intensive tasks. They have the most flair as well, with tall aluminum heat spreaders. The Ballistix DIMMs come in single, double, and triple channel memory. The single modules come in 2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB capacities. They operate at 1.5 or 1.65 volts and either 1600 MHz, 1866 MHz, or 2133 MHz. CAS latencies vary between the various SKUs and include CAS 8-8-8-24, 9-9-9-27, and 9-10-9-27 (for the module running at 2133 MHz).
The Crucial 8 GB Ballistix DIMMs are able to be installed in configurations up to 64 GB in the case of the Intel X79 motherboards. They are available for purchase now worldwide and are backed by a lifetime warranty. To give you an idea of pricing, the 4 GB Ballistix Sport kit running at 1600 MHz is $33.99 USD while the 8 GB Ballistix Tactical kit running at 1866 MHz is $79.99 USD. Finally, the 8 GB Ballistix Elite kit at 1866 MHz is $87.99 USD.
Subject: Memory | December 23, 2011 - 04:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: supply, ram, price increase, nand, dram market, adata
Computer enthusiasts and OEMs alike have been living the dream of extremely cheap RAM modules; however, Adata CEO Simon Chen believes that the dream may be close to ending. In 2012, the DRAM manufacturers will start to cut production such that they are reducing supply and thus can charge more than they currently can (they have been producing DRAM consistently over the past couple years such that there has been more than enough supply and thus a lower cost). After the holiday season, PC OEMs will start to replenish their inventories and when they do, they will be increasing inventories to a months supply instead of a two week supply.
Chen notes that the four major manufacturers of DRAM chips including Elpida Memory, Hynix Semiconductor, Micron Technology, and Powerchip Technology have suffered from selling the chips at such reduced prices for so long. While DRAM chips produced on older manufacturing processes may still be sold below the cost of production, newer DRAM manufactured on the 30nm process "will rebound from the current bottom level to a level above cash-flow production cost."
In addition to the reduced production and newer process, the demand for DRAM in general is expected to decrease due to the rising popularity of mobile computers, Chen notes. Further, the decrease in desktop DRAM demand is balanced out by increased demand for server memory from data centers purchasing additional RAM direct from the manufacturers as the server OEMs charge a hefty premium for RAM. Due to the shake up in the industry, "many makers of DRAM modules have shifted business operation to other areas" like ruggedized memory and to producing NAND flash chips for SSDs.
Admittedly, the memory makers are walking a fine line between spinning down production and being accused of price fixing; however, the ride has been a good one for consumers for a while now and the manufacturers are likely getting tired of the razor thing profit margins. Chen's analysis of the situation may be correct in light of that fact, the new process technology allowing for better yields combined with generally lower production while the big OEMs will be buying up more RAM for their own inventories may well spell the end of being able to impulse buy tons of DDR3 RAM! What are your thoughts on both Chen's analysis of the price increase and the industry itself- do you think prices are likely to go up next year?
AMD has slowly but surely been taking over the desktop computer. The AMD brand is slowly encompassing all of the components inside AMD powered computers. For the past few years, the company has been heavily investing in and marketing the idea of an all AMD powered computer filled with parts certified to work with each other and deliver a consistent platform (ie Spider, Fusion, and AMD Vision) experience by using an AMD CPU, motherboard, and graphics card together.
It seems as if AMD was not happy with the amount of case badge stickers from other companies for the remaining parts; however, as the company officially announced today that AMD is bringing to market is own AMD branded DDR3 memory modules with the assistance of experienced memory manufacturers Patriot and VisionTek. VisionTek will be making the modules available in the US through their distributor D&H, while the Patriot modules are generally available in the US already.
A close up shot of the Performance Edition provided by AMD.
The new AMD RAM will be controlled end-to-end on the design, oversight, and certification side by AMD while the physical processes of constructing and mass producing the modules will be in the hands of partners (currently Patriot and VisionTek). AMD will offer three speed tiers with capacities including 2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB (matched 4GB kits). Specifically, the three speed tiers will be labeled Entertainment Edition, Performance Edition, and Radeon Edition memory in order of slowest/cheapest to fastest (and most expensive). The Entertainment Edition should be shipping soon in the last quarter of 2011 and has at least a planned soft launch of November 2011. Entertainment Edition memory will be the slowest tier, weighing in at 1333 MHz or 1600 MHz and will be best suited for low power systems and HTPC applications. Performance Edition on the other hand will come only in 1600 MHz, low latency, and matched pair modules. This middle tier of AMD RAM is planned to launch in January of 2012. Last up is the Radeon Edition DDR3 which will come in 1866 MHz RAM that has been tuned, tested, and certified for certain system configurations.
To make things a bit more interesting, AMD will be allowing software overclocking of the DDR3 RAM via its AMD OverDrive application, along with planned support for Intel XMP memory overclocking profiles.
The company is claiming up to a 20 % platform performance increase in gaming, and in our own tests we did find a noticeable increase in performance with AMD’s Llano APUs when using higher clocked memory modules. For example, in Dirt 3 the system was able to hit a minimum of 31 FPS (frames per second) when using the A-3850 APU and 1866 MHz whereas with slower clocked modules, the system dipped under the ideal 30 FPS minimum that gamers like to see. Further, by using higher clocked RAM, we managed to get a 25 % increase in performance out of StarCraft II, so AMD’s claims aren’t too far off the mark.
I’ll admit that when rumors surfaced a few months ago that AMD might be entering the DRAM market, I was a bit worried. The company has only recently stopped seeing red on their profitability statements, and the DRAM market has notoriously thin margins. Especially after the lackluster Bulldozer launch and bout of layoffs, I really did not want to see AMD try to spread itself too thin. On the other hand, they are not doing the manufacturing themselves, opting to leave the physical processes up to other companies who are already in the business and know how to stay afloat in the crowded waters. The branding and ability for AMD to offer a platform consisting of an AMD CPU, graphics card, motherboard, and RAM is an advantage that their competition simply can’t match, and its good to see the company taking advantage of that. I don’t expect AMD to start making power supplies, hard drives (though I wouldn’t say no to a nice Radeon RAM Drive ;) ), and cases, but the core components are now all united under the AMD banner and the barrier to entry for new DIYers (do it yourself/self built computers) is now lower. As long as the company can make it work, I’m all for it. What do you guys think of the new AMD branded RAM, is it something you’d use?
Subject: Memory | November 28, 2011 - 01:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ram, ddr3, gskill, corsair, commodity, ram drive, memory
Although hard drive prices are skyrocketing, the price of DDR3 RAM is continuing to fall such that it is now at an all time low, according to popular tech rumor site Fudzilla. Currently, value/budget RAM maker TeamGroup is selling a 8GB DDR3 1333 MHz kit for $32 USD, which marks an all time low for the speedy temporary storage. Its not only the super cheap and lesser known brands that are selling for such low prices, however.
8 GB of DDR3 Memory is now a very inexpensive endeavor
G-Skill is offering a value DDR3 kit for $36 USD and Crucial sells their own value RAM for $34.99 over at Newegg. Considering a bit more than 3 years ago (Aprill 22, 2008 via the Way Back Machine's snapshot of Newegg), a 4GB (2x2GB) kit of G-Skill DDR3 RAM went for $279.99, or about $560 for an equivalent amount of RAM today (8 GB 2x4 GB for $36 versus two 4 GB 2x2 GB kits for $560)!
It is pretty crazy to think that DDR3 RAM has dropped so much in price. Even just a few months ago, I upgraded my system to a total of 8 GB of G-Skill 1600 (two 2x2GB kits) by adding a second set of 4 GB DDR3 for less than $50 when I spent twice that on the first 4 GB set (same model and speed) just last year.! With the rise in hard drive prices and fall in RAM prices, I really want to test out a nice 16 or even 32 GB RAM drive; if only I could pry some of that Corsair RAM out of Ryan’s Sandy Bride-E test system! ;) heh. Have you upgraded your RAM recently due to the stuff being so cheap?
My old RAM drive, aren’t they fun!? ;)
Subject: Editorial | November 10, 2011 - 04:39 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: tegra 3, tegra, ram, Puget, podcast, nvidia, maingear, Intel, gtx560 ti, evga, corsair, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #178 - 11/10/2011
Join us this week as we talk about the EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win, a Puget Systems silent HTPC, Tegra 3 and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 0:00:29 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:02:55 EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win
- 0:13:25 SilverStone Strider Gold
- 0:17:00 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:18:00 Puget System Serenity Core i5 HTPC Review
- 0:28:05 Samsung Infuse 4G Delivery
- 0:31:20 Tegra 3 and Asus Transformer Prime
- 0:42:30 Maingear Epic 180 Cooler
- 0:49:20 64 GB Corsair DDR3
- 0:51:30 Asus 3 Board 900 Series Review
- 1:00:00 Ryan pretends to make a difference.
- 1:02:40 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- Jeremy: Quick defroster
- Josh: Nice musics! http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Video-Music-Amazon-Bonus/dp/B005WV6ZI8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320891616&sr=8-1
- Allyn: mp3tag
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Memory | October 13, 2011 - 10:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ram, memory, corsair, sandy bridge-e
Sandy Bridge-E and its quad channel memory is nearly upon us. Corsair is gearing up with a new 32 GB DDR3 memory kit. The Dominator GT memory kit is comprised of four 8 GB DDR3 DIMMs (Dual In-Line Memory Module) that the company claims are from strenuously tested and highly binned chips. Specifically, the DDR3 kit has a part number of CMT32GX3M4X1866C9.
The new modules feature Corsair’s removable red and black DHX heatsinks and a RAM fan. The quad channel kit is rated to run at 2400 Mhz with CAS latencies of 9-10-9-27, and all while running at a mere 1.5 volts. Further, the memory is also rated to run with CAS latencies of 9-9-9-24 at 1300 Mhz; however, having the higher latencies and corresponding higher speed of 2400 Mhz will result in better overall performance versus the lower latency settings.
The 32 GB quad channel memory kit is available now with an MSRP of $999.99 USD. How much RAM do you currently use in your systems?
Subject: Memory | October 7, 2011 - 08:52 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: memory, hybrid memory cube, HMC, micron, Intel, Samsung, ram, DDR, DRAM
Micron Technology and Samsung Electronics, in cooperation with Intel, Altera Corporation, Open Silicon, and Xilinx among others have formed the “Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium” to develop and encourage adoption of a new storage interface specification. This new storage technology is based on Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) technology, which is comprised of PCB, a thin logic layer, and stacks of DRAM chips. These memory chips are stacked vertically on top of one another and connected via TSV.
A mock up of a HMC (Source: CNET)
According to Tech Connect Magazine, Micron’s Vice President for DRAM Marketing is quoted in stating “HMC brings a new level of capability to memory that provides exponential performance and efficiency gains.” Hybrid Memory Cube technology is claimed to be capable of using 70% less power than current DDR3 memory modules (DIMMs) while being up to 15 times faster.
Reinforcing Micron’s position is Intel’s CTO Justin Rattner who talked very highly of the technology and it’s massive bandwidth and I/O improvements versus traditional DDR style memory designs. The Hybrid Memory Cube is capable of sustained transfer rates of 1 terabit per second, and is “the most energy efficient DRAM ever built” by a bits transferred per amount of energy consumed.
Both Intel and Micron have expressed that the HMC technology will be a boon for data centers and high performance computing that demands low power and high bandwidth memory storage. Assuming the numbers pan out, the Hybrid Memory Cube will be quite a leap in memory efficiency and will further accelerate adoption rates of so called “cloud” applications as well as more efficient high performance servers used in scientific research endeavors. All in all, the idea of the Hybrid Memory Cube is cool stuff, and it will be interesting to see if the actual memory will live up to its grandeur name.
Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2011 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ram, FeTRAM, low power, flash
There's a new type of Flash RAM looking to make its name on the street called FeTRAM, which sounds as interesting as the phase change memory that we've been hearing about. It is an improved version of Ferrous RAM, which is very fast and uses very low power but uses a destructive reading technique. The T in the new RAM stands for transistor, so instead of the charge on the memory cell being negated by a read, the transistor will hold onto the charge so that the data can be held long term. That spells the difference between a memory module good only for RAM and a module that can be used in an SSD. The Register points to an article citing a 99% reduction in power usage when compared to current flash memory technology.
"Nanotechnology boffins are exploring a new type of nonvolatile memory that not only has the potential of being faster than today's flash RAM, but also requires 99 per cent less energy.
Called ferroelectric transistor random access memory – FeTRAM, for short – the scheme is based on a new type of transistor that combines silicon nanowires with an organic ferroelectric polymer – P(VDF-TrFE) – that switches polarity when an electric field is applied to it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Information explosion: how rapidly expanding storage spurs innovation @ Ars Technica
- Amazon Kindle Fire Surfaces @ Slashdot
- BM partners with Intel, Samsung and TSMC for fab research @ The Inquirer
- Lenovo, Compal snuggle up to build notebook plant @ The Register