Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If you use Windows Vista or Windows 7, what has been your experience with Windows ReadyBoost?

Do you find that it provides a meaningful performance boost, or is the effect negligible or negative? What circumstances may yield a gain, and what circumstances may yield no gain?

What are some tips to getting the most out of this feature, either on desktops, laptops, etc.?

share|improve this question
add comment

closed as too broad by random Mar 29 at 5:01

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

13 Answers

up vote 22 down vote accepted

I was very skeptical, having 6GB of ram on my 8730w laptop running 64bit Windows 7 RC. But, since SD cards is so cheap now, I went out and bought a Panasonic Class 10 (22MB/s) 8GB SD card and put it into my laptop and enabled ReadyBoost. To my surprise, it was quite a noticeable performance gain. One must understand though, that it's a cache kind of performance gain, meaning that you will notice a quite substantial improvement the 2nd, 3rd time you start an application. Nevertheless, I'm most certainly keeping the SD card in my laptop, it's "hidden" away and doesn't stick out like an USB stick.

share|improve this answer
4  
I've changed the accepted answer to this one. With Windows 7 I seem to benefit more noticeably than with Vista. –  Chris W. Rea Jan 13 '10 at 21:36
3  
"it was quite a noticeable performance gain" - how much gain are we talking about? Did you do measurements? How did you rule out placebo effect, and the normal effect of Windows' built-in system cache, from affecting the results you saw? –  thomasrutter May 22 '13 at 5:43
    
@thomasrutter, it's much faster, trust me, you don't have to always measure everything to know that it is much faster. Especially when things are 10 times faster and you have been using a PC everyday for 10 years straight, it becomes obvious. –  David d C e Freitas Mar 29 at 4:55
add comment

Yes, it does. You'll see a significant increase in performance whenever the system is I/O bound. Disk-heavy applications like Visual Studio and Apache OpenOffice start up noticeably faster compared to without ReadyBoost—and this is on a system with 8 GB of physical memory!

The most obvious gain in performance I've noticed is when the system resumes from hibernation. My computer has always been unresponsive due to heavy disk activity for the first five or so minutes after resuming, and ReadyBoost produced a vast improvement in system performance and responsiveness during this time.

share|improve this answer
add comment

This is in a pretty specific case, but: I've used it for the past couple of years on my Toshiba m200 tablet. I had a 1GB card that I set the computer to use all of for ReadyBoost. Pretty much all of my times decreased by half. Sleep (and sleep recovery) is the only exception, because power drivers on my tablet couldn't handle sleep anyway.

I haven't done any testing with this on Windows 7.

As far as recommendations, Microsoft recommends using 1 to 3 times the amount of RAM you have in your system. See here.

share|improve this answer
add comment

www.anandtech.com did a vista performance review a couple of years ago and looked at this. Apparently readyboost is only of any use on PCs with 512MB of RAM. If you have any more than this, (and you really should), you won't notice any difference. ReadyBoost Performance

share|improve this answer
9  
Don't quite agree. Windows 7 works quite well with ReadyBoost and I've seen good performance on my laptop (which has 2GB of RAM). That review must be really old and irrelevant by now. –  ymasood Sep 2 '09 at 20:19
3  
I think Win 7 ReadyBoost has improved as well - but this is completely anecdotal, I have nothing to back this up, just what I feel! –  Chris W. Rea Jan 13 '10 at 21:41
6  
Vista != Windows 7 –  mxmissile Feb 5 '10 at 22:44
add comment

Yes! ReadyBoost worked and provided significant improvements on my laptop.

I'm using an entry level laptop with dual 2.10GHz cpu, 2gb ram, and low end video card around 32bit and only 128mb dedicated memory - the laptop is acer emachines 5725.

I tried installing windows 8 on it and everything got slow specially when I open up the metro menu and its very noticeable so I reverted back to windows 7. Next thing I did is running ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS6 in win7 and it took 5 mins to start it up and it also took 4 hours to install the entire ADOBE CS6 package! It is very laggish so I reverted back to old versions of Photoshop (cs3).

I bought a new sd card for my phone and used the old sd on my laptop to dedicate for readyboost. I noticed great improvements in terms of program start up speed specially with photoshop cs3. Copying large amount of small files also improved so I upgraded to windows 8 and to my surprise, the laptop's speed greatly improved compared to my first attempt.

Delighted with the result, I installed ADOBE CS6 too. Guess what? It only took about an hour to install it and it only took a few seconds to open Photoshop plus I am not experiencing any lags when editing images. I can also open multiple tabs in chrome now (around 100 most of the time) and open multiple images in photoshop (usually around 30) without experiencing any kind of lag. Lastly, my laptops temperature isn't as hot as it did before. Now that is great improvement!

Contrary to many users, I am using 32gb Micro SD which is 16 times more than my current ram since its the only spare I got but I'm still enjoying great improvement in speed with readyboost.

share|improve this answer
add comment

It always seemed to me to be sort of a kludge. If you want your applications to start up fast, put them on a SSD.

share|improve this answer
    
Yes, I have an SSD myself, already. I'm thinking about the boxes I build for family members, etc. –  Chris W. Rea Jul 16 '09 at 11:25
6  
An SSD is significantly more expensive than a USB key... –  Nighthawk Dec 31 '09 at 22:04
add comment

Like so many things relating to performance, it has a lot to do with what you're doing and the other components in your system.

If you have a low-end PC, which I doubt anyone on a site called "Super User" would :-), it's probably beneficial. For those with capable systems with at least 2G memory (and 4-8G is becoming more common), ReadyBoost probably doesn't add enough performance increase to warrant dedication of an entire flash drive and more important USB port.

Memory is cheap, I just doubled my HTPC upgrading to 4G, using the same exact memory I built the system with originally (2x Corsair twinxsomethingfast) for less than half the price I paid a year ago ($35 vs ~$75). I have a 4G memory flash drive that I'd used with ReadyBoost prior, and it "feels" faster with the actual memory. Boot times are irrelevant, my system is a media/gaming PC and runs pretty much 24x7.

share|improve this answer
2  
True, I don't have a low-end PC myself, though us "super users" often end up building lower-end PCs for others on a budget, even if our own boxes are impressive :-) –  Chris W. Rea Jul 16 '09 at 11:27
1  
Good point! Though most often my 'old' system gets repurposed for someone else, and sometimes I put Linux on the old one before giving it away :). –  jtimberman Jul 16 '09 at 14:01
add comment

Yes, yes it does...I noticed a huge difference in Vista a few years ago when I tried it.

I've seen recommendations to not use a flash drive more than 2.5 times the size of your available RAM, but I'm not certain how much factual basis there is to this.

share|improve this answer
add comment

ReadyBoost was designed to be faster access memory than most laptop hard drives.

Sort of between the system RAM and the hard drive.

Most laptop hard drives spin at 5400 rpm and have access times of about 10 to 15 ms for random reads and writes. By comparison flash memory has access times of 4 to 6 ms for equivalent random reads and writes.

What ReadyBoost was designed to do was place the most often or recently used 2 to 8 GB of data on the flash memory where accessing it would be at least twice as fast as reading it from the hard drive.

share|improve this answer
add comment

it does improve performance by storing program launch data which ram does not, or which is cleared when not needed, or via system powerdown.

the simplified results of those few tests that were performed have been used by every website since, and its rubbish (google it and 99% will tell you it offers no performance increase, few have actually tried it), totally misleading.

ive tested myself using win7 (64), 9gb ddr3 (only ever reached about 6gb in use) and a 16gb sandisk microsdcard.

the speed programs launched improved drastically, from 3-5 seconds to under 1.

thats where the performance gains are, and thats why it was created. it will not give read or write performance increases for other files a program might use, it is dedicated to program launch.

"

It always seemed to me to be sort of a kludge. If you want your applications to start up fast, put them on a SSD.

"

i did, a small cost effective one :) we all know a 128gb ssd is not enough for windows over a couple of years use, what with program updates and installations, anything over that has scandalous prices. not to mention the serious bugs that have sprung up with a whole host of ssd`s. 16gb card cost around $15 at the time, much more affordable option.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I found it sped up some things (shaved 10 seconds off the boot time) on a 1GB machine, but slowed down others (iTunes playback etc). In the end I didn't feel it was worth having a USB key sticking out of the laptop to warrant it.

My theory is that since Readyboost encrypts the data it caches, and older iTunes DRM'd songs also require decryption there was too much CPU load to play the tunes without glitches.

share|improve this answer
1  
Agree - I don't like the idea of a key sticking out like that. I ended up going with a very tiny USB key that's actually a microSD adapter. It only sticks out about 4-5mm! –  Chris W. Rea Jan 13 '10 at 21:37
add comment

We just made a detailed comparison on two computers: one with Windows 8.1 and one with Windows 7.

The improvements we measured when enabling ReadyBoost on a system with low amounts of RAM, are the following:

  • Opening media files like photos, music or video is slightly faster (approximately by 2%).
  • The loading of web pages and the use of Office applications is slightly faster (approximately by 2%).
  • Your system's boot timings are improved (up to 7%).
  • Your most used applications start faster (by 10 to 15%).

ReadyBoost had no positive impact when playing games or running applications that are CPU or GPU intensive.

You can find the detailed testing procedure plus all the results, here: Does ReadyBoost Work? Does It Improve Performance for Slower PCs?.

share|improve this answer
add comment

ReadyBoost provides an enormous advantage when you are writing alot to the hard disk. I have a fairly decent machine. 5GB RAM with a quad-core 3GHz processor. With ReadyBoost I often see a tenfold increase in write speed when performing I/O intensive tasks like copying large amounts of data of compressing/decompressing archives. When not writing alot of data I do not notice any performance benefit, but I understand that if your system is short on memory, ReadyBoost can speed up evn the most mundane tasks.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.