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Stripping files to fit on RAMDisk


doveman
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I'm using a 10.5GB RAMDisk on my 16GB system to run DCS from and found it wouldn't fit without removing some stuff.

 

I found the Liveries\A-10A and A-10C came to about 1.2GB so I stripped those, as well as the 360MB P-51D. I'm wondering if this could cause any problems? I don't own any of those planes currently but probably will buy the Warthog in the sale.

 

As I never fly it, I strip the mods\Su-25T folder as well. I see there's a FW-190D9 folder as well but what's that for and would it matter if I left it off the RAMDisk?

 

I still maintain the HDD install as the main one and sync that (excluding unnecessary folders such as distr and JGSME) to the RAMDisk when I make changes, so I enable any mods with JGSME first, as in many cases they just overwrite existing files and don't particularly increase the install size.

 

Perhaps others have got suggestions for files that aren't needed or particularly important that could be left off the RAMDisk?

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You could remove the manual files from mods\aircrafts\<module>\doc and the stock missions for each module

DCS World\distr looks like you won't need it

 

Yeah, thanks I hadn't considered the docs and missions. They add up to close to 1GB and I guess I could just move the missions to Saved Games\DCS and they'll still be available.

Main rig: i5-4670k @4.4Ghz, Asus Z97-A, Scythe Kotetsu HSF, 32GB Kingston Savage 2400Mhz DDR3, 1070ti, Win 10 x64, Samsung Evo 256GB SSD (OS & Data), OCZ 480GB SSD (Games), WD 2TB and WD 3TB HDDs, 1920x1200 Dell U2412M, 1920x1080 Dell P2314T touchscreen

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SSD drives have come down in price. If you switch to one for the main drive you won't have to worry about ram drives anymore.

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Biggest suggestion would be get a SSD not as fast but a'lot less trouble and will you be able to see any difference unlikely.

 

Yeah, I probably will get one but might still just store the RAMDisk image on there so it mounts a lot quicker than from HDD ;)

 

I think the RAMDisk is about 6x faster than SSD but you may be right that it doesn't actually translate into any noticeable difference.

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Yup... this became a problem when going from A-10C to DCS World... the install just wouldn't fit in a RAM disk to leave enough memory to fly on a 16GB machine...

 

Could you please write final a list of all you removed?

 

Cause we luuuuv fast loading DCS, right? :D

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You could also use a RamCache instead of a pure ramdisk. Doesn't catch the first disk access, but will store the accessed blocks in memory until the allocated memory is full. So you can rest assured that nothing is cached that is not used, but it doesn't load as fast as a real ramdisk the first time of course. I use FancyCache (and an SSD) and have not have any troubles with stutters or anything like that. The sim just performs flawlessly (until somebody drops multple CBUs that is, but that's another story).

 

RamCaches are simply almost as good but are much less trouble in terms of tweaking.

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You could also use a RamCache instead of a pure ramdisk. Doesn't catch the first disk access, but will store the accessed blocks in memory until the allocated memory is full. So you can rest assured that nothing is cached that is not used, but it doesn't load as fast as a real ramdisk the first time of course. I use FancyCache (and an SSD) and have not have any troubles with stutters or anything like that. The sim just performs flawlessly (until somebody drops multple CBUs that is, but that's another story).

 

RamCaches are simply almost as good but are much less trouble in terms of tweaking.

 

I actually tried FancyCache (certainly for ArmA, I'm not sure about DCS) and found it caused a lot of problems. I'm not sure exactly what was going on but after it had been running for a while (so I presume the cache had filled up) the game became very jerky and unplayable.

 

Of course, even if it worked it's not going to prevent stuttering the first time you fly over somewhere as that won't be cached yet, so whilst a cache is in theory simpler in terms of setup than a RAMdisk, I wouldn't agree that they're almost as good.

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Yup... this became a problem when going from A-10C to DCS World... the install just wouldn't fit in a RAM disk to leave enough memory to fly on a 16GB machine...

 

Could you please write final a list of all you removed?

 

Cause we luuuuv fast loading DCS, right? :D

 

I haven't removed the docs and missions yet but that should free up an extra 1GB.

 

I've been running the KA-50 and UH1H from a 10572MB RAMDisk (weird size I know, must have been aiming for 11GB and miscalculated!). I've just bought the A-10C but that's only an extra 77MB without the docs and missions so there's plenty of space for that.

 

So the things I don't copy to the RAMdisk:

 

Any _backup folders

Bazar\Liveries\A-10A and A-10C (1.19GB, the rest of the Liveries combined are 1.12GB)

DemoMods (only 330KB though!)

distr (108MB)

Doc (29MB)

JSGME (contains all my mods but those that are installed have their files in the main game folders)

loose files in the root folder (only about 10.6MB)

any Mods\aircrafts\x\docs and missions (rather than try copying the missions to Saved Games\DCS, probably better and easier to just make symlinks from the RAMDisk folders to the HDD ones. I use this for doing that http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinkshellext/hardlinkshellext.html Your RAMDisk will need to be NTFS to create Symlinks on though and although NTFS RAMDisks can be a bit slower than FAT32 ones it's probably worth it for being able to create symlinks )

 

Perhaps if needed and not intending to use it, you could leave MissionEditor off as well but it's only 214MB.

 

I had left mods\aircrafts\Su-25T and FW-190D9 but without docs and missions those are only 2.31MB and 47.7MB respectively, so I can fit those in easily, now I'm deleting all the docs and missions (although I still don't know what FW-190D9 is for!)

 

That leaves 1.58GB free on the RAMDisk, so I could put the A-10 Liveries back on (I'm not sure if they're important or not), or reduce the size of the RAMDisk at around 9GB to leave more RAM free and reduce the loading times. It's probably a good idea to leave it bigger than you need to fit on any new mods you might want to use, although you can always make a bigger RAMDisk and copy the files across from the old one if that becomes necessary.

 

I tend to have about 13.5-14GB free before I mount the RAMDisk and 3.5GB afterwards and DCS only seems to use about 2GB, despite being a 64-bit app, so I haven't had any problems with running out of RAM. I have been experienced regular audio cutouts though (not sure if the video is stuttering as well), so I'm not sure if the data is being fed too fast for it to cope or something!

 

Regarding mods, make sure that they install their files (on the HDD before copying to the RAMDisk) overwriting the originals (using JSGME of course), rather than in addition. For example, I had Real Sound 1.2 which was originally putting it's file in Mods\Real Sound but I changed it so that now it just puts them in Sounds.

 

As for updating the RAMDisk, I use FreeFileSync to compare the HDD and RAMDisk installs and then can quickly sync any new/changed files, such as from changing the installed mods, when the game updates, etc.

 

EDIT: One issue I've run into is after dismounting the RAMDisk, I get a lot of HDD thrashing for several minutes. It's not the RAMdisk saving as it's fully dismounted and SoftPerfect is shutdown, so it must be Windows doing something. Maybe it moves stuff into the pagefile when I mount the RAMdisk, even though there's plenty of free RAM and then moves it back out of the pagefile into RAM when I unmount the RAMDisk, but that probably isn't what's happening as there'd be equivalent HDD thrashing when or soon after mounting the RAMDisk if that was the case, in fact probably more as HDD write speeds are slower than read I think, so it would take longer.

 

When playing ArmA in a 11GB RAMDisk, I even found it took ages to close ArmA (and there was about 10mins of HDD thrashing afterwards), despite it running from RAMDisk and the author of SoftPerfect assures me that the RAMDisk itself will never use the pagefile, so I'm not sure what's going on. I might try disabling the pagefile completely but I recall I had problems with DCS when I tried that before.


Edited by doveman

Main rig: i5-4670k @4.4Ghz, Asus Z97-A, Scythe Kotetsu HSF, 32GB Kingston Savage 2400Mhz DDR3, 1070ti, Win 10 x64, Samsung Evo 256GB SSD (OS & Data), OCZ 480GB SSD (Games), WD 2TB and WD 3TB HDDs, 1920x1200 Dell U2412M, 1920x1080 Dell P2314T touchscreen

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  • 4 months later...

I found this comparison of HDD, SSD and RAMdisk for ArmA2 which shows that despite the RAMDisk being about 10x faster than the SSD, it makes no real difference in loading times, etc anyway. I guess it must be that other components bottleneck and make the transfer times somewhat irrelevant after a point.

 

I wonder if anyone's in a position to do the same for DCS? You'll need at least 16GB and to strip the unneeded files from the RAMdisk copy as described in this thread (if you've got 32GB you won't need to do this). You don't need to make a video but it would be good if you could compare loading to the Main screen and then a mission with the three different devices.

 

I haven't bought an SSD yet as the only benefit for me would be to stop using the RAMdisk, which would save me some time but it only takes a few minutes to load the RAMdisk whilst I get a drink anyway, so it seems hard to justify spending £125 on a SSD at the moment. Then again, updating the RAMdisk when DCS updates is a bit of a pain, so I'm still thinking about it!

 

EDIT: This thread explains why we don't tend to see much benefit from RAMdisk over SSD for gaming http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2270087


Edited by doveman

Main rig: i5-4670k @4.4Ghz, Asus Z97-A, Scythe Kotetsu HSF, 32GB Kingston Savage 2400Mhz DDR3, 1070ti, Win 10 x64, Samsung Evo 256GB SSD (OS & Data), OCZ 480GB SSD (Games), WD 2TB and WD 3TB HDDs, 1920x1200 Dell U2412M, 1920x1080 Dell P2314T touchscreen

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Yeah, I probably will get one but might still just store the RAMDisk image on there so it mounts a lot quicker than from HDD ;)

 

I think the RAMDisk is about 6x faster than SSD but you may be right that it doesn't actually translate into any noticeable difference.

 

I don't remember statics for DDR3 but at least with DDR2 it was more than 6x faster what fastest SSD drives are today.

 

If you have RAM, it is great place to cache gamefiles before launching game, even if it takes few minutes to load from HDD/SSD to RAM but then it is so fast you don't even notice.

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I don't remember statics for DDR3 but at least with DDR2 it was more than 6x faster what fastest SSD drives are today.

 

If you have RAM, it is great place to cache gamefiles before launching game, even if it takes few minutes to load from HDD/SSD to RAM but then it is so fast you don't even notice.

 

When I benchmarked with various software and my DDR3 at 1066Mhz I got about 3000 MB/s sequential and SSDs are about 500MB/s.

 

I'm not sure there's much point caching from SSD to RAMDisk though, as the I/O doesn't appear to be the bottleneck once you get to SSD speeds.

Main rig: i5-4670k @4.4Ghz, Asus Z97-A, Scythe Kotetsu HSF, 32GB Kingston Savage 2400Mhz DDR3, 1070ti, Win 10 x64, Samsung Evo 256GB SSD (OS & Data), OCZ 480GB SSD (Games), WD 2TB and WD 3TB HDDs, 1920x1200 Dell U2412M, 1920x1080 Dell P2314T touchscreen

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  • 8 months later...

As others said here,an SSD is by far a safer, cheaper and easier to handle than a Ramdrive. Dcs and most of the games are using Hdd during initial loading or changing the level or map.

Ramdrive is an old solution to speed up the more older HDDs. Current aplications for Ramdrives are related to those extrem intense I/Os like caches, databases etc.

 

It is always best to balance the give-gets and this case is oriented to give only.

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