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Skyrim Modding: Reduce lag with a RAM Drive

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Skyrim Modding: Reduce lag with a RAM Drive Empty Skyrim Modding: Reduce lag with a RAM Drive

Post by Zhu Yang on 2016-06-19, 16:32

Original Link - https://www.reddit.com/r/skyrimmods/comments/4ou9g3/op_skyrim_nolag_nodrag_the_power_of_ram_drives/

Hope I got your attention! Very Happy
Just wanted to tell you guys a bit about how using a Ram Drive can make your modded Skyrim experience 200x better.

Why should you care?
I'm currently running 4-500 mods with a buttload of graphic stuff and a demanding ENB, all with 60FPS and zero stutter. ZERO. I have a Titan X and SSDs, but I've always had stutter until now. I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to be able to whip your cursor around with no lag. AND- Load times are near-INSTANT! I load Skyrim saves within 8 seconds. Enter: The RAM Drive.

What did I do?
I put my ModOrganizer 'mods' folder on a RAM Drive, which is like, you know, a hard drive but using RAM. Cheapo RAM is a bajillion times faster than the best SSD. However, it deletes it's contents upon computer shut down. So, I'm using software called SoftPerfect Ram Disk to mirror my RAM drive to my SSD, so I keep my stuff when I turn off my computer.

How much RAM do I need?
As much as you can spare. I have 64GB, so I made my ram drive 48GB, leaving 16GB of actual RAM to use. RAM is cheap. I got my 64gb for $100-something I think.

It's really not hard to set up, all I did was run SoftPerfect to make an img file (where I mirror the files in my RAM drive) and the RAM drive itself. They have great documentation on their website. After that, I just pointed ModOrganizer to the mods folder on the shiny new RAM drive.

Hope some of you find this interesting!
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Post by Corenat Rovarnus on 2016-06-20, 12:57


    There are a couple of problems with this:
  • RAM Disks only reduce loading time, "stuttering" has nothing to do with loading time.
    Gunblast wrote:I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to be able to whip your cursor around with no lag.
    If this is what the OP means by stuttering, it is completely unrelated to how fast your computer can load information onto RAM.
  • Ditto with "lag". If you're getting any performance issues when you're in game and everything is loaded, it's not because of your hard drive.

  • Gunblast wrote:I load Skyrim saves within 8 seconds.
    This is kind of nitpicky, but if you want to load just the save files fast, put just your save files onto the RAM disk. Those probably don't need even a single gigabyte of space and loaded fast already.

  • If you are already using an SSD, especially a top of the line Samsung PROverated like I am guessing the OP has, you don't need a RAM disk at all. The performance gains/time saved is negligible. If you already have more RAM than you could possibly use then sure go for it, but please don't go out and buy more RAM(or download it Razz ) just for doing this. It's not worth it.

  • gunblast wrote:RAM is cheap. I got my 64gb for $100-something I think.
    It's not that cheap. Now this is where OP really shows his first world privilege. $100 is a drop in the bucket for someone who had the budget for a Titan X (Which is still retailing for over $1000) and multiple SSDs, so there is likely to be a large margin of error because $150 would also seem a small sum on that budget. And it was probably on sale too, as most 64gb bundles I see at the time of this writing are in the $200-300 range, $125 at the lowest.


All things considered, RAM drives really aren't as great as OP's tone would indicate. What it boils down to for the average consumer is that if you go out and spend over $100 on a hardware upgrade, there is a chance that one game, which you may or may not have heavily modded as much as OP did, will run slightly smoother. This is nothing new, and you can spend that kind of money on a better graphics card instead.
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Post by Zhu Yang on 2016-07-10, 12:54

A few clarifications here:

The "lag" they are talking about when turning around refers to micro-stutters caused by loading textures on and off the VRAM, not a constant low fps. This often happens when you have 2k or 4k textures that take up a lot of VRAM, and then turn to look at a new cell. Since that cell uses different textures than the one you were just looking at, you'll need to swap something out of your VRAM to make space.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that having all your textures loaded in the RAM drive would greatly reduce micro-stutter of this nature, since the textures no longer have to go from SSD->RAM->VRAM (as explained by this website - http://jacksondunstan.com/articles/2068 ), and instead go from RAM->VRAM.

The only thing system RAM can’t do is serve as the pool of memory that the GPU uses while it renders your 3D scene. For that, you must “upload” (i.e. copy) data from system RAM to VRAM. This means that your graphics data will temporarily be in both places: system RAM and VRAM. However, once the upload is done you may choose to get rid of the copy in system RAM.


Last edited by Vroop on 2016-07-10, 21:06; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Corenat Rovarnus on 2016-07-10, 21:01

That link you provided results in a 404 error for me. And I'd think that the textures for all nearby cells would be loaded onto system RAM already, in the beginning when first entering the game, or when entering a new area. I have not experienced this stuttering effect for Oblivion which I have a good bit of visual mods installed on. Well actually I have, but it was only in the form of massive FPS drops when moving at extremely high speed which forced the loading of many new cells. It should only be loading when you enter a new area, not just for looking around. It doesn't make sense to me that the textures have to be swapped in and out of VRAM all the time, they would have to be ridiculously high resolution or something as the Titan X has 12GB of VRAM.
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Post by Zhu Yang on 2016-07-10, 21:11

Link is now fixed, it was including the parentheses in URL.

This is probably going to vary from person to person. Skyrim can only use 3.1 GB of RAM, due to how it's designed (https://forums.nexusmods.com/index.php?/topic/1032885-step-investigates-the-31-gigabyte-ram-limit-and-modding/ ).

From what I've read, once the application reaches that limit, you'll need to start swapping textures.
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Post by Corenat Rovarnus on 2016-07-11, 00:38

That could be due to it being a 32 bit application, and oddly enough I don't see anyone discussing the use of a program like Large Address Aware to remove this limit as it seems to be the perfect solution.

The leddit OP is using a 48GB RAMdisk, and I don't doubt that his heavily modded installation actually needs a good portion of that. Let's consider the feasibility of upgrading to at least that amount of RAM for computers across the board. If you're using a desktop you'll need to check if your motherboard can support at least that amount, many consumer level boards I've looked at only go up to 32GB. After that, you have to look at how many slots it has. If you bought your computer pre-assembled from a standard retailer it might have only 2 slots, which means that you have to look for quality over quantity in RAM modules, which is what really drives up the price, ie. 1x8gb costs more than 2x4gb. Most retailers don't even carry 32GB sticks yet so if you're a 2 slotter then you're outta luck.

It gets worse with laptops, which are guaranteed to have only 2 slots for memory anyway. Laptop memory is definitely not as cheap due to the smaller form factor.
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Post by Zhu Yang on 2016-07-16, 14:54

I'm not sure what the deal is with Large Address Aware.

A RAM Drive may be a low priority purchase, but it seems to have its uses.
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