There was a time, back in the day, when RAM disks were all the rage, an easy and fast way to store and move files and data on a Mac or Windows PC. A RAM disk takes a block of RAM from your Mac’s memory and uses it like a disk. What’s the benefit? A RAM disk usually is much faster than storage on a disk drive.
It’s been awhile since I setup and used a RAM disk so I thought I’d check around and give one a try. The one I found first has the clever name RAMDisk Manager. That’s about as simple and self descriptive as a Mac app name can be.
RAMDisk Manager lets you create, manage, and monitor RAM disks on your Mac.
Setup couldn’t be much easier, especially if you’ve ever used Apple’s built-in Disk Utility app (found in Applications > Utilities). Select a name for the RAM Disk, set the size, select where you want to store the RAM disk, and click the Create button.
There are other options but that’s sufficient to get your started.
What’s the benefit of a RAM disk? Files stored in a RAM disk are accessed and saved much, much faster than if the same file were stored on the Mac’s hard disk drive.
RAMDisk Manager gives you options to create either standard or custom System-based RAM disks, synchronize RAM disks with a linked folder, and even setup and create (or restore) a RAM disk when you log into your Mac.
Also included is the option to monitor your RAM disk’s space with an alert should the RAM storage drop below a specific threshold.
How does a Mac RAM disk perform? Reading and writing files to a RAM disk is much faster than similar tasks with a file stored on the Mac’s disk drive. In an age when RAM is relatively cheap, why don’t we see more RAM disk utilities?
I suspect the reason may have more to do with the inconvenience to setup and use a RAM disk, coupled with the fact that most Macs these days come with solid state drives (SSDs), which are an order of magnitude faster than most traditional disk drives. In my tests, files from a RAM disk could be read and saved a bit faster than to my iMac’s SSD, but the difference was nominal.