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Is it possible to force a media player to load an entire video to my ram before attempting to play it?

I usually heavily mutitask on my computer and sometimes run into the situation in which I'm watching parts of a movie and generating data from my thesis at the same time. Theres nothing else to do while my programs generate data so i watch a movie. However, my programs tend to be extremely hard drive intensive and are constantly reading and writing to the hard drive. As a result, it conflicts with my media players and i end up with choppy movie.

I want to be able to load my video onto ram directly from the hard drive and then play the video from ram so that my media player and my programs do not compete for the same (and very slow) resources (the hard drive). Is there any way of doing this without having to go and mount a RAM drive?



Edit: Note, the bottleneck here is my hard drive speed, not my CPU or RAM, both of which have plenty of headroom to use.

PS. I'm not sure what to tag this as, please feel free to add some.

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You could get a cheap extra HDD for your media, this has other advantages too. – Phoshi Jan 1 '10 at 22:09
It would be a good idea to state what OS you use. – CarlF Jan 1 '10 at 23:56
up vote 11 down vote accepted

if you have enough memory to spare, create a RAM disk large enough to hold a full movie and play it from there.

which OS and player are you using? some player allow to increase the buffer, which might solve your problem.

Edit: in VLC you can increase the buffer via file caching in preferences > input > access > file

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Currently using VLC. I have no experience with ram discs (other than i know they exist and the basic premise on how they operate) and i don't have enough spare RAM to allocate it permanently to a RAM disc. Ill look into increasing the buffer, basicaly that was what i wanted in the beginning i guess (entire video to RAM = 100% buffer...) – Faken Jan 1 '10 at 21:47
which OS? Gavotte RAM Disk works with any 32-bit Windows, installation is plain and easy:… – Molly7244 Jan 1 '10 at 21:50
Windows 7, 64-bit. Why would anyone be using a RAM disk on a 32-bit OS? Your already pretty limited by the 4GB limit to start with... – Faken Jan 1 '10 at 21:52
oh, i could name tons of reasons to use a RAM disk, anyway, if you don't want to use a RAM disk, fiddle with the video buffer settings in VLC. – Molly7244 Jan 1 '10 at 22:02
ahh, Wil, by "memory-disk application" you could have referred to something like FlashPoint which will use system memory as disk cache (quite popular in the netbook scene to overcome issues with slow MLC SSDs). if you mean RAM disk you should say RAM Disk :) – Molly7244 Jan 1 '10 at 22:11

Not that I know of.... I have seen a few codecs where you can adjust memory usage, but not load a whole movie into memory before you play.

The two solutions I can think of are either installing a memory-disk application, or even easier perhaps you could get a USB stick and just copy the file to that then play from there?

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That might work as well, so long as the bit rate doesn't exceed the memory stick's read capacity, which it shouldn't. Only problem would be having to wait for the file to transfer over to the USB stick. I usually only get about 5MB/s transfer rates (writing) to the stick, which means some waiting would be involved (which is not an issue for HD to RAM which moves at over 70MB/s in sequential read mode). – Faken Jan 1 '10 at 21:50

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