Dimmdrive: Steam platform RAM Drive launches to speed up gaming
Steam, the gaming online system, have launched Dimmdrive for people who use their Steam platform for their gaming. The Dimmdrive is a RAM disk which will save gaming data to itself and use this area as a type of virtual RAM to help the game runs smoother when bottlenecks would otherwise have occurred.
Benefits of a RAM Drive
A RAM drive has always been a useful extra to add to a Windows system that lacks sufficient available RAM memory to operate efficiently. The dedicated RAM disk works much like RAM in saving what would otherwise be loaded into RAM to the RAM disk on the hard drive or SSD instead.
A RAM disk will be slower with the disk access even when using a SSD compared to super-fast RAM chips but it is often still preferable at times to a system that lacks enough memory and struggles to perform basic functions when the system becomes overloaded.
High Specification PCs Will Always Perform Faster
In most cases, a faster graphic card, more RAM, a SSD instead of a traditional hard drive and a few other tweaks can all help to create a faster gaming system. However, these all can cost a great deal of money and that may be in short supply. In which case, a RAM disk makes for a low-cost or free alternative to help improve overall system performance. Just bear in mind that there are limits to what it can do for speed.
DimmDrive Created For Stream
The Dimmdrive has been created specifically for games that run without the Steam logged in environment. Once the Dimmdrive is installed, a restart is required. Games are shown within the Steam interface with the new option to transfer a game over to the Dimmdrive. This will help to optimize them but the transfer itself can take quite some time depending on the amount of data stored for each game and whether the user has a platter-based hard drive or a SSD.
Customize RAM Disk Settings
The General Settings is the place to set up the size of the RAM drive that you wish. The default is 2 gigabytes in size but changes to the size can be reflective of the installed RAM and would amount of RAM would have been more ideal, plus available storage space to install the RAM disk.
Game By Game Detailed Customization
There are further customizations on a game by game basis. Individual game running can be optimized so that with some games it is completely loaded into RAM whether as with other larger games the load up is split between RAM and the Dimmdrive RAM disk. A user can experiment on what setting works best for the fastest, smoothest performance for each individual game. Therefore, the new software is not really ideal for beginners who may not understand how to ascertain what is the correct setting for each installed game in their Steam account. There is the option to auto-load a game directly into the Dimmdrive rather than using RAM but this will not be ideal for all games to be sure.
Copying To RAM Disk is Slow
While the copying process is being completed between storage and Dimmdrive the game usually cannot be run. If a game is partly being loaded into RAM and partly being accessed via the Dimmdrive then this will slow down the launching of the game though ultimately it may improve overall performance once the loading is complete. Gamers can be an impatient lot at times so this aspect may not appeal to some.
DimmDrive May Be Used For Other Applications Too
The Dimmdrive can also be used for non-Steam games and programs. Their folders can be dragged and dropped into the Steam interface and it will them display the app. This can be useful for people who take to the Steam interface and are happy to use it both as a RAM disk and a program launcher in one.
The Dimmdrive appears to have been well produced. It will take time to setup the games properly for it and the startup time is longer, but once running propertly the gaming performance should be better especially on older PCs. For gamers who like to play an hour, then go back to something else and load up the same game again later in the day they'll likely see improvements in performance for this repetitive gaming in a single day scenario.