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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > using ram disk for system folder?

using ram disk for system folder?
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aronde
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Dec 17, 2000, 06:30 AM
 
i have heard that it is possible to use ram disk (OS9.04) and have your system folder on it thus speeding everything up.

I was wondering if this was true (if you have heaps of RAM!), is it worth it and how you do it. I assume you must have to keep a system folder on your hard drive in case the ram disk stuffs up???
     
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Dec 17, 2000, 06:46 AM
 
yeah
I wouldn't mind that eithier, but it can't be done. If you want it for running stuff like norton you could just copy that to the ram disk, which at least saves you starting from a different disk. (hey, if anyone knows different, lets hear it)
     
\
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Dec 17, 2000, 02:07 PM
 
Originally posted by nemo:
yeah
I wouldn't mind that eithier, but it can't be done. If you want it for running stuff like norton you could just copy that to the ram disk, which at least saves you starting from a different disk. (hey, if anyone knows different, lets hear it)
     
t e d
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Dec 17, 2000, 03:24 PM
 
Lots of RAM is required. I ran this way for about a year each, 1st on my 5300 powerbook (running 7.5), later on my current. Larger system folders as the OS is updated w/o getting more RAM being the only reason I stopped. It makes a lot of sense if you rarely shutdown your powerbook, prefering to sleep it, since a power off/on requires an intermediate boot from the system disk. This may be alleviated with the new iBooks that can save RAM, I don't know. Biggest advantage: on long flights, with a little advanced prep I could put away the hard disk and run entirely off the RAM disk as I work/play. I don't think it makes much sense on systems that don't have reason to spin down their hard disks.

I just installed more RAM so I'm likely to return to that model shortly.
     
Stef_
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Dec 17, 2000, 03:26 PM
 
Just tried it - Mac OS 9.0.4 on PM 7600 with G3 card- copied System, Finder, and other files on a RAM disk, rebooted, works fine. Maybe this does not work on New World macs (ROM in RAM)? Wil try it tomorrow on a G4
     
aronde
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Dec 17, 2000, 03:53 PM
 
thanks for the info - one thing, if you copy your system stuff onto a ram disk how does the mac now to use those rather then the ones on the hard drive?
     
Zeal
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Dec 17, 2000, 03:55 PM
 
I've got a PB 400 Pismo. Unfortunaterly, the type of ram installed in these models (SDRAM) prevents you from being able to load a basic system folder into a ram disk and to restart with the ram disk. Tried it and it won't work. Read the manual - it also says you can't do it. It's on my wish list from (those great people at) Apple.

When I purchased Norton Utilities 5.02 a couple of months ago the CD came with MacOS System 9.0.2. My PB would not allow it to start up as it did not have a recent enough MacOS Rom that satisified my PB. So I tried to load Norton Ulities into a ram disk and to start up from the original PowerBook Install CD's. That wouldn't work either as Norton requries the startup system to include the extension Norton Shared Lib(rary) upon startup.

In the end, Symantec sent me Norton Utilities 5.02 CD with MacOS 9.0.4 onboard. That worked fine and have had no problems - except they updated NUM to 6.0 two months later. Saving up now to upgrade AGAIN! Hope that helps.
     
Zeal
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Dec 17, 2000, 03:59 PM
 
Your final question: you have to go to the Control Panel "Startup Disk" and select the Ram disk. That way it will know to start up from your ram disk.
     
iman_ca2
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Dec 17, 2000, 04:40 PM
 
Reasons for running on Ram
- Computer little faster
- If your using photoshop or any thing that uses a scratch disk it can speed up the program a little
- CAn fix HD problems with out booting to another disk or CD

Problems
- Loss of power means all gone
- You can now erase your HD, having the system on the disk prevented that
- Less ram for programs


     
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Dec 17, 2000, 05:04 PM
 
I don't believe you can do this with NWR machines, or even with slightly older ones... the ability to do this goes WAY back to old PowerBooks I think...
I can't put my finger on it, but theres something nagging at me telling me it won't work, and I seem to remember reading something about it somewhere at some stage...
Ok this is gonna get annoying
But by all means, PLEASE prove me wrong!!!
I'd love to be able to do this...
I remember trying it at one stage on my 5500, after trimming the System down to like 21 megs (HD wise)...
But it wouldn't work...
I did only have 32 megs RAM for it though, so that'd be why. Perhaps...
But in that case it should've given me an error rather than not booting.
Hmm...

Cipher13

[This message has been edited by Cipher13 (edited 12-17-2000).]
     
multicore
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Dec 17, 2000, 05:14 PM
 
You can't do this with newer machines, I think B&W G3s onwards, because the RAM disk does not persist (ie it gets cleared at reboot). You can't use something like "Rambunctious" either, because it won't load before the ROM (obvious).

Going back a few years I did this with a PB5300, it was stunningly fast, but because that machine will only take 48MB of RAM you're a bit screwed on what you can actually do with it. :-)
     
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Dec 17, 2000, 07:50 PM
 
It's true. You can't do it on newer machines. I think that I read a technote somewhere that attributed it to something, called a grackle, that dealt with memory but I am not completely sure. Even if there is no grackle I sure can't do it on my G4. The RAM disk doesn't appear in the Startup Disk control panel or in System Disk. It's funny, though, because the OS 9 installer lets me install onto the RAM disk.
     
hh
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Dec 17, 2000, 10:47 PM
 
hey, just wondering... would a cardbus ram card be a good idea here? doesn't the mac os treat these like ordinary volumes, so you could probably set one as a start-up disk- that and the access time would be pretty fast, right?
     
Addict@mac.com
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Dec 17, 2000, 11:50 PM
 
It can't be done on New World Machines. The machine can not use the ROM of the RAM disk, only of a Hard Drive. I could be possible if someone wrote a Open Firmware script or something. Possible.
     
nufo
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Dec 17, 2000, 11:54 PM
 
you can do it with most powerbooks some desktops more RAM the better. not just OS 9.0.4 others as well.
     
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Dec 18, 2000, 12:20 AM
 
I sure wish it was more feasible than it is! I remember how fun it was to load my Amiga's 800k of operating system into a RAM disk and have fun with the full 32 megs ram. Talk about instant on technology! Booted in 3 seconds.

I'd love to try to do the same on the 99 iMac DV SE.

Darcy
Macbook (white glossy) 2.16GHz | 4GB RAM | 7200RPM HD | 10.5.x
     
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Dec 18, 2000, 12:38 AM
 
Of course, as soon as OS X comes out, the whole issue will probably be moot (for those of us who are planning to upgrade, that is), as I've not seen any mention of the RAM disk feature in OS X.

To make matters worse, it probably *would* be feasible under OS X, because the Mac OS ROM isn't neccessary under BSD/Quartz/Aqua/et al. So if you had a fantasically large amount of RAM (OS X is pretty big, after all), you could get a killer system going.

[This message has been edited by Oneota (edited 12-18-2000).]
"Yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation" yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation.
     
pmacleod
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Dec 18, 2000, 04:08 PM
 
Zeal,

As long as Norton Shared Lib is in the same folder as Disk Doctor, Speed Disk etc it will all work normally.

Cheers,
Paul.

Originally posted by Zeal:
When I purchased Norton Utilities 5.02 a couple of months ago the CD came with MacOS System 9.0.2. My PB would not allow it to start up as it did not have a recent enough MacOS Rom that satisified my PB. So I tried to load Norton Ulities into a ram disk and to start up from the original PowerBook Install CD's. That wouldn't work either as Norton requries the startup system to include the extension Norton Shared Lib(rary) upon startup.

In the end, Symantec sent me Norton Utilities 5.02 CD with MacOS 9.0.4 onboard. That worked fine and have had no problems - except they updated NUM to 6.0 two months later. Saving up now to upgrade AGAIN! Hope that helps.
     
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Dec 18, 2000, 04:54 PM
 
Originally posted by aronde:
i have heard that it is possible to use ram disk (OS9.04) and have your system folder on it thus speeding everything up.
Since extensions and control panels are loaded into RAM at startup, putting copies in a RAM disk would not help anything after startup.

Libraries, however, could be moved to a RAM disk for improved performance (if you can trick the OS into getting them there). Libraries are called as needed by the system and other programs. They are not kept in RAM. Plug-ins might be another candidate for the RAM disk.

What other possibilities are there? If we find enough things to put in a RAM disk, it might be worth the trouble to write a script to automate the process.

happy holidays
Tom
iMac 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 6GB, OS 10.6.8
Macbook Pro 2.2GHz Core i7 8GB. OS 10.6.8
iPhone 3GS 32GB, OS 5 / TiBook / Newton (2)
     
   
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