Cheap; easy to run RAM disk; provides insane speed for scratch disks & temp files
Needs better chassis design; could have more storage
When we first heard of this USB DRAM disk, we didn’t really know what it was, but we knew we wanted to try it out. Now that we’ve had a chance to kick the tires, we’re impressed, even though it’s not the most practical thing in the world. Then again, acquiring maximum performance is rarely practical, yet it’s still our raison d’etre. The DRAM Disk is a USB 3.0 thumb drive available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities and includes software to create a RAM disk. It works quite well, though the key itself features a boring design.
The way this bad boy works is, when you plug in the drive there are two volumes—the main USB 3.0 drive, and a second volume that appears like a CD/DVD to the system and contains the RAM disk software and a user guide. Once you install the software, which takes five seconds, a new volume appears, and that’s your RAM disk. Whatever you copy into the RAM Disk folder is also synced in the background to a folder on the USB key, which is handy but it also demonstrates the problem with RAM disks. Since they use volatile DRAM, as soon as the system loses power everything on them is deleted, so it’s not safe to keep any data on them without a backup since one accidental reboot or Windows update and all your data goes sigh-oh-narr-ah.
On our test system with 8GB of RAM, the RAM disk was 2.90GB, though we could have made it smaller via the included software. Adding another 4GB of RAM increased the size of the RAM disk by 1.4GB. The RAM disk itself is insanely fast, hitting 5GB/s read speeds and 8GB/s write speeds in CrystalDiskMark. You can copy gigs of data in a millisecond, and it’s truly breathtaking to witness. The USB 3.0 portion of the key is standard stuff, running at about 100MB/s in our transfer tests, so you could use it like a standard-issue key if you want to.
Overall we dig the DRAM Disk. It makes it quick and painless to run a RAM disk, which provides insane speed for scratch disks and other temporary files. It works exactly as advertised and is totally affordable too, costing just $15. We think it’s pretty sweet, but are withholding the Kick Ass, as it needs more capacity and a better chassis design.