Plekto, Do you have experience with these as a scratch drive or otherwise? What kind of performance are you seeing? Any issues?
With this one, not yet - though soon. Previously I have run ramdisks as swap areas for programs like Photoshop and it's a massive increase in speed. Memory alone runs over 1000 times faster than a hard drive. Now, the real limitation of course is the memory bus/drive interface, which is much slower. But when you see Windows booting in 6-8 seconds, yes, it's that fast. Generally a Ramdisk will increase speeds about 10x-20x for data heavy tasks.
Issues on ones I've run in the past are zero other than volatility. You used to requires a good UPS if you wanted to run one, and couldn't risk a crash or reboot. That's been solved, which is why I'm going to buy one. The reviews are all favorable, you'll note - just yes, it is pricey.
Now, if you are running a 64 bit OS and have 8+gigs, you can do this via software(which is how I've used it so far). But extra ram is often the largest part of the expense and it has to be initialized every time. A Ramdisk or SSD would solve this at least. Just, SSDs are really not designed to work as a swap space... The optimal use for a ram disk is as swap and temp file space. SSDs for longer term storage. SSDs are in fact, optimal for archival as they never fail on reading data that's already written correctly. Perfect for storing client images and so on for a decade or more.
If you have a dual core(or more) processor, just putting the swap file on a drive other than the apps/os drive makes for a huge increase in speed. While you exit your program or move to your next task, the file cleanup and thrashing continues on the other drive without hanging your system(needs to be able to do two things in actual multitasking, hence the 2+ core need). This is an easy thing to do immediately to get some extra speed.http://www.wideopenwest.com/~dcason6634/
Here's a small review a guy did with proper hardware/controller card instead of the built-in. This is a big increase in performance. The limitation of these things(including SSDs) is clearly the SATA controller.http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.as...hreadid=2244895
This is a currently ongoing discussion about exactly this sort of use - and the comments on the 2nd page about Excel and Outlook opening faster than he could lift his finger off the mouse button or blink are exactly what happens if the entire OS, Apps, and swap are in ram. Obviously this is overkill, but the speed difference is no joke.