Configuring/using RAM drives for MP3 playback

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Sam Williams

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Ok, this is partly knowledge-sharing and partly a question. A little while ago, I set up a 120 megabyte RAM drive using some of my PC's spare memory; with 512 MB, I always have at least 200 MB free, so I thought I might as well exploit it. The procedure is: load an album or a set of tracks into the RAM drive (assigned to R:\ on my computer) then play them from there using Winamp etc. as normal. Since setting it up, I've adopted it as my default method of playback.

Benefits:

i. Much less frequent HDD access; once every hour or so, instead of once every few seconds during play-from-HDD. This obviously reduces drive wear, keeps the disc free to serve other needs, and reduces annoying noise and heat generation.

ii. Once loaded to the RAM drive, tracks are accessible -much- quicker than normal; this is great for Pink Floyd-esque albums in which successive tracks run into each other without gaps.

iii. Playback from the RAM drive is much less susceptible to stuttering caused by heavy demand on system resources.

It's well worth a try - it might improve your listening enjoyment :) Hope someone finds this post useful,

S.

------------- Part 2 -------------

Admittedly, loading the songs into RAM before playback is slightly less slick than selecting them directly from the hard disc; you have to drag the files into the RAM disc, basically. What would be ideal is an action (accessible via the right-click context menu for MP3 files) which would first copy the file to the RAM drive, then play it in Winamp (and another which would copy it to RAM, then -queue- it).

Any ideas on how this might be done - or on other ways to make the process a bit slicker? I've done things with batch files and the like, but this only really works for loading and playing specific sets of files, not as a general solution. All suggestions very welcome.
 
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