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MinesSkyline

LinusTechTips Review of Dimmdrive

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There are several tests represented here - HDD, SDD, and a few SSD+caching.  I don't see why this isn't a fair test.  Besides representing real games, it's also representing real world usage scenarios.  It's not meant to show an idealized picture of DIMMDrive if you purposely disable features of your computer - it's meant to show what a gamer can expect.

 

I've been running tests of my own with a bit of freeware and manually making the links DIMMDrive creates automatically - or trying copying everything to the RAM drive.  And I'm having issues finding games which run faster than SSD, hence me asking the question.  The features of the program here are kind of nice in that they take some of the manual steps out.  But since it's aimed at gamers, I've been looking for an actual justification to spend the money (versus buying a couple more games, or being 1/2 way to another SSD). 

 

I'm also going to try a caching program (name omitted) which is the same price, but has a trial version (30 days).  Rather than configure each game, the idea here is that overall usage of the system is considered and as you use the machine it caches items that are accessed more often into RAM.  I don't know if that history is retained post-boot or not, and overall I don't know how well the fetching mechanism is implemented, but it's worth a look.

 

I have my most frequently accessed games installed onto 3 SSDs (240,240,120), and the remainder of my games on an HDD (3TB). 

 

It's my understanding that the DIMMDrive software requires some initialization time, and some time spent specifying the games to optimize.  I would hope that it would maintain a log - a report that you could look at later for "most used games" and "most used files" throughout your game library (including perhaps system level stuff).  Is there anything like that which would allow me to treat DIMMDrive as a bit more like a cache-specific program, but with manual controls?

 

So some questions:

1.  Which games do you guys see the biggest boost in, over SSDs? 

2.  What kind of initialization time do you see (I expect that I'll be able to run ~32-40GB RAMDrive, as I have 48GB total)?

3.  Can multiple games be initialized simultaneously, and can this be done on boot?

4.  Can games be played while DIMMDrive is copying files?

5.  Can DIMMDrive save a blob of data to a faster drive (SSD) to make this initialization faster on next boot (bear in mind, I have games across SSD and HDD)?

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OK, so no improvement over SSD with Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, and Bioshock Infinite.

 

 

That is not correct :)   To test improvement, you have to play the actual game as well.

 

Pretty much any game, especially higher end ones, benefit.  There are a lot of posts here, and especially on the Steam discussion forums for Dimmdrive.  A LOT of people are even seeing FPS increases for games like ARMA3, Shadow of Mordor, and basically high-end games.  

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That is not correct :)   To test improvement, you have to play the actual game as well.

 

Pretty much any game, especially higher end ones, benefit.  There are a lot of posts here, and especially on the Steam discussion forums for Dimmdrive.  A LOT of people are even seeing FPS increases for games like ARMA3, Shadow of Mordor, and basically high-end games.  

 

Tim is right.

 

Any game that streams textures (every game ever) can potentially benefit from using DD if the game is only allowed to allocate small amount of RAM for itself. For example, DayZ can only use 2GB of RAM. So it has to load the game from the hard drive as you move from area to area. If you put the entire game on RAM by using DD, the game is essentially already on the RAM, it just has to be moved over to a different part of RAM. This is very fast because RAM is the fastest part of a computer. This will result in FPS boost and loading time boost.

 

However, games like BF4 will not benefit from FPS boosts because you are only playing one map at a time, unlike DayZ where you are on the ENTIRE giant map. BF4 is also capable of allocating a lot more RAM for itself. This means that it can pretty much load the entire map that you are on into the RAM and use it from the rest of the round. There is no more (there is still some other) loading going on while you are playing. So this means that the only time DD will benefit is when you FIRST load the map. This means you can be the first to get into your favorite vehicle.

 

Tim, correct me if my understanding is wrong.

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The DIMMDrive software is marketed toward game load times, hence why think Linus did load time tests.  I think the tests were fair, given how the product is presented.  If you're stating that some games benefit but not posting benchmarks, it's not that useful to me.  I thought this review was useful because it benchmarked.  I also enjoyed Tim's post about WOW. 

 

To be 100% clear, I have since run benchmarks against Bioshock, Far Cry 3, and Tomb Raider, given that I was told I was incorrect.  I stand by my statements and can provide screens of benchmark runs (esp for Tomb Raider).  While I didn't use DIMMDrive, I did copy the entire game into a RAM drive.  No measurable improvement, at all.  Period.

 

If DIMMDrive provides benefits in specific scenarios, I'm specifically asking for those.  I'm not here to argue; I have been looking to make an informed purchase.  Reread my post - I've been asking for specific guidance, not raising a stink.  I think the software has value in simplifying what I am already doing, but I am not gaming with my RAM drive usually.  I am doing calculations against database rows, and using handbrake for encoding.  I'm just trying to determine where, if anywhere, I get additional utility by getting this software.

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I think if you search for my posts you will see that I've done my fair share of poking sticks at DD.  What isn't mentioned is Windows Caching too, which, takes you most accessed files and sticks it in RAM.  Lots of factors here.

 

The point being, although some people say it boosts your FPS, honestly I doubt it does in any major discernable way.  What it does do is creates a pretty slick interface to create RAMDRIVEs easily and it intergrates into Steam.  A newer version will allow you to create drives on SSDs, which, I see as a much more viable economical position.  120GB SSDs are relatively cheap.  By using the features of shifting games from one drive to the next, you get all the benefits of your 4TB spindle to load all your games to and then offload the one game your playing to an SSD temporarily without having to deal with anything, just a slider on DD GUI.  DD moves everything around in the background.

 

I did the same thing DD is doing via batch files.  It's no secret, no black magic.  What DD does it does so with a very simple, clean, easy to use interface.  I've also used DD to create blank RAMDRIVEs for multitude of other purposes.  Anything that requires high number of Disk Access I do off of RAMDRIVE.

 

The ONLY discernable difference are games that dynamically load large compressed files for textures and stuff.  Any game that does this, DD will be a huge benefit.  I'm currently not playing any game that really utilizes this, but I still use DD, not because of "Oh My God hold onto your seat" performance gains in typical games, but, the increase is noticable and the more you use it, the more you want to use it.

 

In the end, what DD is to me, is starting to shine a light on other bottlenecks in a system that were masked due to the limits of the SATA interface.  I'm looking for ways to speed those things up.  It's not a big bang, but, it gives a foothold to move the entire School Bus forward.

 

I don't agree with using RAPID on these tests, it doesn't reflect the true bottleneck of the SSD which is the SATA interface itself.  Everyone knows how to game benchmarks, even DD is a bit guilty on this front.  But if you look at the interface specs alone, it's clear the advantages are there.  The secret, to figure out how to fully utilize it, that's a job I look forward to.

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Hmmm, yes young Linus is a very cluey young man, but, from what I hear on his tech tips doesn't like to spend money. He also didn't say too much about performance. I had Assettocorsa on SSD and my FPS was around 143 FPS (reported by Assettocorsa), on Dimmdrive the software (Assettocorsa) was reporting over 250 FPS (can't get my head around that), so performance was certainly up there. I have used Dataram's ramdrive which was $15 but had to be manipulated to run the games, whereas Dimmdrive takes care of most of the manipulation making the loading simpler, I didn't buy any ramdrive to "load my games quicker" but to run the games smoother achieving a more pleasurable experience. At the end of Linus's review it all came down to price, $10?, I can't see Linus sitting down for hours writing software to virtually give it away. I gladly paid $30 as I noticed the author was right in there fixing up bugs and also asking for input from users for future features to implement and I didn't have to scratch my head as often wondering why something wouldn't run. But that's just what I think.

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