Vista ReadyBoost

So, one of the nifty new features of Windows Vista is – a feature that enables you to plug in a USB 2.0 Thumb Drive and have it show up as physical memory in your system. I wanted to give this a shot, so I rushed out and picked up the highest capacity USB 2.0 drive that I could find: A PNY Attache 4.0GB USB stick. I plugged ‘er in, selected the “Speed up my System” AutoPlay option, and waited for the magic to happen. Turns out, it’s not fast enough!? Okay, so back to the store I’ll go – looking for a high-capacity, high-speed USB 2.0 thumb drive to ReadyBoost my Vista laptop. Since Microsoft isn’t making any recommendations, I need to start compiling a list of which sticks work and which ones won’t. Gotta find a Wiki plugin for WordPress!

31 thoughts on “Vista ReadyBoost”

  1. Pingback: SocioBiblog
  2. I have a feeling your more than aware of this. But you can use more than a thumb drive with this feature. I’m using a 1 Gig SanDisk SD card with no problems. Although I still feel Vista is a usability nightmare for your average user. I’d have to say this feature is one of the things I’ve found interesting. Although I’m not fully sure it’s real world value is as major as many would hope. Then again the OS is still in beta. I’m sure it supplements my 2 Gigs of Corsair TWINX 2048MB PC3500 DDR 433MHz LLPRO well enough though. How exactly did you determine it wasn’t fast enough?

  3. Censoring comments now? And what exactly did I say that was so out of line as to be deleted? I’m all for deleting crap and spam. But I truly don’t feel anything I wrote was out of line.

  4. I found that if a USB stick doesn’t list its speed on the packaging, it won’t be high speed. I successfully used a 512 MB Cruzer Titanium stick; I’m not sure how much it has helped yet.

  5. The PNY Attache that I have (the 2GB) is a Hi-speed device, and it appears to be able to transfer at about 60Mbit/second (read). I got it working with ReadyBoost, but I had to remove and reinsert it a couple of times before is registered as a performant device. Once it did, it worked every time after that. That was with 5381, so it shouldn’t be too different in 5384.

  6. Wouldn’t you be better served by purchasing actual RAM instead? That way you’re not limited by the limited write capacity of NAND flash and it’s faster to boot.

  7. I too was keen to check out READYBOOST using my 1GB pqi flash drive. HD Tach v3 tells me it has a average read rate of 27MB/sec (which is reasonably fast) but Vista Beta 2 (build 5384) tells me its not fast enough? …Aw :(.

    I know Vista is still a Beta release but I could not find a list of flash drives that are currently supported. I am guessing that my flash drive WILL work with future releases, otherwise I will need to purchase a really expensive flash drive that reaches 60MB/sec just to try it out!?!…by which case I’m off buying a second identical hard drive and using Raid striping…

  8. ReadyBoost sounds like a complete gimmick to me. SATA drives advertise max peak throughputs of 3GB/s and are much cheaper than flash drives if you look at the cost per MB. SATA drives sustained throughputs are over 30MB/s which beats most flash drives.

    Let’s not forget how fast RAM is compared to flash or harddrives. DDR can get sustained throughputs of over 3GB/s. There’s no way flash memory is even going to come close, and I really doubt it gives any performance advantages unless you only have 256MB-512MB of system ram.

    So if you have some flash sticks lying around and have little system ram or disk space left, you can plug some in and you might see some improvement if you’re running lots of apps. Buying flash drives to make use of ReadyBoost is just ridiculous. Buy a bigger harddrive or more ram if you want to increase performance.

    Seems to me that ReadyBoost is a marketing gimmick with little practical value.

  9. Okay guys, you all seem to be confused so here are the facts. ReadyBoost does not claim to add physical memory to your system; it takes memory from a flash drive and uses it as a virtual cache for your hard drive. Will this make your games, boot-up times, and file transferring faster? No. ReadyBoost takes advantage of the fact that a USB 2.0 flash drive with decent quality memory is able to send up small chunks of data to the CPU many times faster than a hard drive having to spin up and seek across the platter. Conversely, a hard drive is many times faster than a flash drive when accessing large amounts of sequential data.

  10. I have tried the Sandisk Cruzer Micro 2GB (the tiny one) and an ipod shuffle 1GB (I have yet to test if it still functions). I have been unable to get either of these to work, aside from the fact that the micro benchmark tests exceed the specifications Vista has placed. I have tried format FAT (cruzer standard), FAT32(ipod standard), and NTFS (bye bye Cruzer OS). Nothing has worked. I think this feature is dead in the water.

  11. I bought a Sandisk Cruzer 512 (U3) and had to remove the U3 software before I could use all of the drive. Remember, Vista is somewhat intelligent. It caches applications. Previously on my Pentium 630/2gb 80gb sata, it took about 8 to 10 seconds for my Quickbooks application to load. After installing the flashdrive, it loads in about 1 sec (after loading it once). Other applications show similar results. Word, Powerpoint, … I like it. (Vista beta 2 5384)

  12. Is there any one that has compiled a list of compatible USB:s?
    One would think microsoft could provide us with that since they must have tested veeeery many different ones while developing and testing readyboost, but i guess not….
    Thanks RStarid for your post! I was very close to buing a Sandisk Cruzer Micro.

  13. I was wondering if a usb hard drive (40 gb) could work with ReadyBoost, or a 8 gb flash drive. I think that for some reason it supports up to 128 gb of ram

  14. Gab, I read there is a 4 GB limit for ReadyBoost.

    I would like to see how the gaming community is going to use this. In order to play BattleField2 on my PC, I have to insert the CD (wont run without it), stop tons of running processes to free up as much memory as possible ( I have 1 GB), and then load the game into memory. Wouldn’t it be great if the game came pre-installed on a 1 GB memory key and I got both the game and the additional needed memory in one! That would be a nice thing.

  15. Readyboost does speed up certain games, Ive seen a 20 percent speed increase by using readyboost in one game I tested so far, Sim City 4.

    readyboost helps speed things up not by being faster than your hard drive at all taks, but by being faster than your hard drive for specific files of certain sizes. which certain programs use a whole lot of.

    but the real test is to find all the apps that will actually improve by using this technology.

  16. It seems that many flash drive/cards are set not to write cache in Windows. My SanDisk Cruiser Mini did not work until I set the hardware properties for the device to “Optimize for Performance”, then all was fine. It can be changed with right click on drive icon and select hardware tab and choose the drive in the window and the properties button below.

    Planning to check my SD cards that initially failed the test. Good luck

  17. i have apac 512 mb mp3 player readyboost works on it’s flash drive just fine so other usb devices besides usb drives may work also

  18. James and all

    you guys are totally wrong. ReadyBoost not only benchmark sequential i/o (which all of you talk about).

    SATA Drive are much faster than solid memory in sequential writes/read. Random access is what you need for a RAM. Random access is wrongly measured often as random read/write in MB/s while what you really care is the latency of the memory. RAM get faster and faster with access time improvement not just MB/S of burst transfer.

    This kind of benchmark is measured in storage env in IOPS (number of I/O operation in a second). A sata drive gives normally 80 IOPS. A Fibre Channel drive (10krpm) si around 120 IOPS. A FC Drive 15Krpm is around 180 IOPS. A solid state disk/memory or RAM chip is can give over 1000 IOPS.

  19. Just FYI for people who have a SanDisk U3 Cruiser USB Flash drive that doesn’t want to work with like me. I had to use the SanDisk LaunchPad Removal Tool found on the Sandisk site. Formatting the drive does not completely remove the tool even though it appears to work as a normal USB drive.

    After I ran the LaunchPad Removal tool it worked great as a ReadyBoost drive.

  20. Im not sure if its the same for all, but i have a hp nc6400 1Gb RAM(integrated) and i added 1GB in the expansion slot. now i found out about readyboost and like u all i tried it out. what it does is use its available memory and allocates it to the RAM. but you wont notice the difference, say on task manager. let me put it this way, when your real RAM will be overloaded it can get what it needs from what ever memory u have allocated to it..(to a maximum of ur computer’s limit of course.). i ve got a 4GB limit, & im thinking of boosting it, just outta curiocity!

  21. I have 4 flash drives and none of them work with ReadyBoost. I have an 8gb Sandisk Cruiser Micro, 4gb Kdata MyFlash, 1gb Geek Squad thumb drive and a 128mb Sandisk Cruiser. I tried refomatting them several times, but no luck. I agree that ReadyBoost is just a gimmick. It seems like it has little practical use, but it was still an exam objective on the Vista certification exam. I have never been able to get ReadyBoost to work. I still passed the exam though. What Microsoft really needs is VideoBoost. Why not use a thumb drive to boost your Video RAM so you can use the Aero interface with older video cards? That would be more useful.

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