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Is it worth to use RAM drive for browsers temporary files today?

21.06.2009, Happy, main   Bookmark and Share
My own measurement comparing performance of the Firefox browser with cache located on RAM drive and local harddrive, March 2008

Goal

Is it worth to allocate spare memory for RAM drive and use it for browsers temporary files?

Setup

System

  • Windows XP SP2
  • Athlon XP 2GHz
  • 1GB RAM (1,5GB overall)
  • HDD Hitachi Deskstar 320 GB (PATA, 7200 RPM)
  • 1MBit Cable connection

Browser

  • Firefox 2
  • Tamper Data extension
  • Bookmarks
    • www.seznam.cz
    • www.idnes.cz
    • www.cnn.com
    • www.youtube.com
    • www.slashdot.org
    • www.avsforum.com
    • www.lupa.cz
    • www.zive.cz

RAM disk

Measurement process

  1. Boot OS
  2. Setup Firefox to cache files on local harddrive
    1. Run Firefox and clean its cache
    2. Open all sites above ("Open all in tabs")
    3. Measure time (Tamper Data), close tabs
    4. Open all sites above ("Open all in tabs")
    5. Measure time (Tamper Data), close tabs
    6. Repeat steps 1-5 for 3 times, then restart Firefox and repeat steps 1-5 for 4 times.
  3. Setup RAM drive (0,5GB), restart OS
  4. Setup Firefox to cache files on RAM drive
  5. Repeat steps 2.1-2.6

Measurement results

Harddrive Start Time End Time Difference
Note
Empty Cache 23:09:41,56 23:10:13,94 00:00:32,38
Initial browser start

23:16:17,75 23:16:39,30 00:00:21,55


23:18:30,75 23:18:55,69 00:00:24,94


23:20:32,38 23:21:03,06 00:00:30,69
Browser restarted

23:22:49,20 23:23:09,86 00:00:20,66


23:24:29,86 23:24:50,73 00:00:20,88


23:26:32,92 23:26:57,36 00:00:24,44

Empty Cache Average

00:25,07
Average per site 3,13s






Full Cache 23:31:56,03 23:32:11,84 00:00:15,81
Initial browser start

23:33:12,33 23:33:22,20 00:00:09,87


23:34:37,59 23:34:46,73 00:00:09,14


23:36:09,89 23:36:24,92 00:00:15,03
Browser restarted

23:37:26,41 23:37:36,92 00:00:10,52


23:39:45,42 23:39:55,09 00:00:09,67


23:41:14,45 23:41:23,44 00:00:08,98

Full Cache Average
Average 00:11,29
Average per site 1,41s






RAM disk Start Time End Time Difference
Note
Empty Cache 23:46:12,02 23:46:34,69 00:00:22,67
Initial browser start

23:47:56,25 23:48:17,09 00:00:20,84


23:56:11,30 23:56:34,30 00:00:23,00


23:57:57,08 23:58:22,30 00:00:25,22
Browser restarted

23:59:10,86 23:59:34 00:00:23,11


00:00:26,53 00:00:50,36 00:00:23,83


00:01:42,22 00:02:03 00:00:20,47

Empty Cache Average

00:00:22,73
Average per site 2,84s






Full Cache 00:11:31,94 00:11:44,36 00:00:12,42
Initial browser start

00:13:30,80 00:13:39,58 00:00:08,78


00:14:36,73 00:14:44,66 00:00:07,92


00:15:28,25 00:15:38,89 00:00:10,64


00:16:59 00:17:11,66 00:00:12,66
Browser restarted

00:17:49,14 00:17:57,36 00:00:08,22


00:18:45,61 00:18:53,53 00:00:07,92

Full Cache Average

00:00:09,79
Average per site 1,22s

Conclusion

Following table shows differences between RAM drive and local harddrive when using them for caching temporary files of the Firefox browser.

Difference [sec] Empty Cache Full Cache
RAM disk 22,73 09,79
Harddrive 25,07 11,29

Even the Firefox browser is little bit faster when using RAM drive, it is not worth it at all, especially in the case, that RAM drive software cannot save and restore its image after the OS start.

And the question is, if it is worth in general to use RAM drive comparing it with today's big and fast harddrives.

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