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Windows 7: Windows 7 using Intel Turbo Memory (Robson) as RAM


05 Nov 2009   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Windows 7 using Intel Turbo Memory (Robson) as RAM

Windows 7 and using Intel Turbo Memory (Robson) as a persistent RAM

Quote:
What I am about to describe below definitely falls under the 'unsupported' and 'not-an-intended-use' category for Intel Turbo Memory. I debated about posting this for a few months but it has worked well enough for me that I feel secure in describing how to do this. Of course, if something breaks, please let me know in the comments section and we'll get it documented.

Typically Intel Turbo Memory is included as a mini-PCIe option on laptops and some desktops, and provides an embedded version of ReadyBoost and/or ReadyDrive. Most computers have enough RAM these days so the boost from ReadyBoost is pretty minimal.

With that in mind, I figured I would try to see if I could re-purpose the Turbo Memory. In Windows 7 (as of driver version 1.10.0.1012), the memory is exposed to the OS as a Storage Controller with a disk volume of IMD-0.

Name:  imd-0.png
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By default, it will automatically enable and control the entire volume.

Name:  TurboMemory.png
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Size:  6.6 KB

What you want to do is open diskmgmt.msc and look for a volume that is about 75% of advertised size of the RAM. In my case, I have 2GB which shows up as 1.37GB due to some of the space being used for ReadyDrive.

If you set the View to Disk List, the Device Type will be listed as UNKNOWN instead of IDE or USB or SCSI.

You'll want to delete this volume but make sure it is the Turbo Memory! After deleting the volume, create a new simple MBR volume from what you just deleted. Format the drive as FAT16 with 64KB cluster size. You can use other block sizes if you want less waste on smaller files. NTFS is a bit of an overkill for most scenarios too. Feel free to experiment and report your findings.

After formatting, assign it a drive letter and enjoy a persistent RAM disk, as long as you don't rebuild your computer or upgrade your Turbo Memory driver.

The end result will look something like this:

Name:  RDrive.png
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Uses for this new drive

1. Store your Windows Search index on the new drive. In my case, under R:\TEMP\INDEX\. You can easily move your index by going into the Control Panel, under Indexing Options, under Advanced and selecting Select New. After restarting the Windows Search service, the index will move from the original location to the newly created Turbo Memory drive.

Why do this? Less hard drive thrashing overall and faster search results inside Windows and Outlook. Instead of the index and the content residing on the same drive spindle, you have a 'pseudo' SSD dedicated to your Windows Search index. The old joke about making Vista faster was to do net stop wsearch, but this is no longer needed using this method.

2. Set your TEMP and TMP environment variables to use the drive for temporary storage/scratch space. In my case, I set my user TEMP and TMP variables to R:\TEMP\USER and my system TEMP and TMP variables to R:\TEMP\SYSTEM. Make sure to create these directories on the drive before applying the settings.

3. Internet Explorer disk cache location - I set IE to store cache inside R:\TEMP\IE and limit the size to a small amount.

4. Firefox disk cache location - Using about:config, I set browser.cache.disk.parent_directory to R:\TEMP\FF. In order to avoid stalls on fsync on Firefox 3.x due to SQLite, you can also add toolkit.storage.synchronous set to 0 in about:config. I know this quirk is being addressed in Firefox 3.5+, so it will soon be a non-issue. You do have a slight risk of corruption of Firefox SQLite tables, but in practice, I have not experienced any.

Things to watch out for
If you do upgrade the Turbo Memory driver in the future, you will want to reset your TEMP and TMP variables back to the original values in order to ensure that you can log in properly into your computer. The Windows Search index and IE/FF caches can be dynamically regenerated after you redo the drive setup.

I have experienced scenarios/programs that required more than 1.3GB of free temporary space so I sometimes set the variables back to the original hard drive location on a case by case basis.

Conclusion
Please let me know if you think of new uses for this and I will add them to this blog entry. It has worked well for me since Windows 7 RC and it should work well for you too. It has even inspired me into looking into cheap 4GB Robson modules or a secondary bay SSD.
I would be interested in peoples opinions on this.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

17 Jan 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

I apologize for the necro, but there's no other forum on the internet that discusses this, and I'm quite interested in it.

I'm also using the driver listed in his instructions, however in my case, Device Manager doesn't list a disk volume of IMD-0 under my Turbo Memory Storage Controller. Likewise, there is no additional UNKNOWN device type in Disk Management, whether I set the View option to be Disk List or anything else.

Perhaps it's because my Turbo Memory is 4GB while the author of those instructions is using a 2GB unit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2010   #3

 
 

Did you have the driver installed? It doesn't work without it.
I use the half of a 1 gb module in the way described above it works great!
Also did some tests on it using cristaldiskmark 3.0 x64:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : Crystal Dew World
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Sequential Read : 41.809 MB/s
Sequential Write : 15.780 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 41.755 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 15.787 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 25.369 MB/s [ 6193.7 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 6.348 MB/s [ 1549.8 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 32.522 MB/s [ 7939.9 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 6.467 MB/s [ 1578.8 IOPS]

For comparison a 2gb kingston datatraveler:


Sequential Read : 16.239 MB/s
Sequential Write : 7.000 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 15.943 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 2.793 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 3.452 MB/s [ 842.8 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 0.021 MB/s [ 5.2 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 4.867 MB/s [ 1188.2 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 0.027 MB/s [ 6.7 IOPS]
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


22 May 2010   #4
NoN

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64
 
 

An updated Version Driver can be DL from:
intel drivers pour chipsets

I've post either a thread here:
Intel® Turbo Memory Card on Mini PCI-Express slot
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2010   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Still does not work for me, with or without drivers.

What perplexes me even more than not being able to use the Intel Turbo Memory for this unintended purpose is that I cannot even use it for its intended purpose. It's a strange dance, let me illustrate the steps.

After installing drivers and restarting my laptop, I can open the Turbo Memory dashboard and start pinning programs to accelerate (I have a 4gb TM module). It works perfectly fine, up until I restart again, or power on the laptop from shutdown. I cannot access the dashboard from that point on, as I only get a notice that the hardware was not detected, or something similar.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2010   #6
NoN

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ryvaeus View Post
Still does not work for me, with or without drivers.

What perplexes me even more than not being able to use the Intel Turbo Memory for this unintended purpose is that I cannot even use it for its intended purpose. It's a strange dance, let me illustrate the steps.

After installing drivers and restarting my laptop, I can open the Turbo Memory dashboard and start pinning programs to accelerate (I have a 4gb TM module). It works perfectly fine, up until I restart again, or power on the laptop from shutdown. I cannot access the dashboard from that point on, as I only get a notice that the hardware was not detected, or something similar.
I barely cannot help you cause i was on the way doing that ITM install on my spare slot...thought the same amount 4gigs to pinning softwares.

The way might be long for me as i need a part not included in the card package!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2012   #7

 

Uhmmm... Posting to a dead thread. But I have one of this Intel Turbo 2GB and was wondering... If this method is utilized, ReadyDrive continues to work? Is there a way to know if ReadyDrive is actually working at all?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 using Intel Turbo Memory (Robson) as RAM




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