Improve PC Performance With Ready Boost: Slow Computers Running Vista May Show Performance Benefits
Beginning with the Vista operating system Microsoft began incorporating a special utility known as Ready Boost. This program allows a system running on Vista to use removable flash memory as additional memory space that is used as a super fast swap file.
In the same way that hard drive manufacturers are using flash memory in solid state hard drives, these super fast flash memory chips can be used to speed up computer response times by using the flash memory space as a highly effective data cache.
How Does Ready Boost Increase Performance?
By default, Vista uses the hard drive as cache space when it runs out of system RAM. Traditional hard drives are very fast but are limited by the amount of time it takes for the drive to physically find, read, and transmit the data to the computer's CPU. When Ready Boost is active, the most often used bytes of data are stored as an encrypted file on the flash drive, allowing them to be recalled faster than if the data was being read from the hard drive.
What types of flash memory work with Ready Boost?
Not all types of flash memory are fast enough to provide the benefits that Ready Boost is intended to provide. Most typical thumb drives and digital photo storage cards have slower data transmission rates and thus negate any possible benefits from using them to cache information.
Still, There are a great number of devices from many different vendors that do work with the Ready Boost system. Devices that are Ready Boost capable should display the Ready Boost logo on the packaging or on the drive itself. If in doubt, a user can simply plug in a piece of flash memory and allow the system to perform an automatic check of the drive's capabilities.
If the drive performs fast enough the option will be given to use the drive as Ready Boost cache space. If the drive is not up to the specifications the system will say so and not allow the user to configure it for that use.
Will Using Ready Boost Make A Computer Faster?
Users that run software that requires large amounts of data transfer such as 3D games and other intensive tasks will likely see a noticeable benefit when using Ready Boost if their system is underpowered in terms of system RAM.
In an online interview Microsoft program manager Matt Ayers speaks in great detail as to the fact that a computer with one gig or two gigs of RAM will likely be much more responsive when on Ready Boost. The same system with a full four gigs of RAM however might not show much benefit at all as system RAM is faster than flash memory and the system will always use the fasted memory channel available to it.
Author: Chad Criswell