I've read lots of questions here in SU about ReadyBoost and that it does help low-end machines. However, there is nothing definitive about the upper limit -- when is using ReadyBoost negligible (or even detrimental)?

My laptop runs on Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, with 3GB RAM, and it has a slot for SD cards. I'd like to know if I'd benefit from ReadyBoost significantly, or if there would be no difference.


From this article : Microsoft Windows Vista & ReadyBoost: Does it Make a Difference?
This article contains performance tests that try to answer this question.

It says:

What many people failed to realized is that newer PCs, with quick hard drives like the Western Digital Raptor (for example) don't necessarily see the same impact from ReadyBoost as first thought. It's really only older computers, which have been upgraded to Microsoft Windows Vista but barely meet the minimum operating system requirements, that potentially benefit from ReadyBoost.

ReadyBoost makes a bit of a difference when the system has 512MB of memory, but it's nothing to write home about. If you're at the minimum end of PC infrastructure, ReadyBoost may make things a bit more bearable but you'd be better off upgrading system memory to at least 1GB RAM.


If you have a fast machine and/or the ready boost drive is slower.

I have no proof if it is Windows or the Intel driver, but I tried Intel Turbo Memory in my laptop when it first came out, which gives 512MB of ReadyBoost and 512MB of ReadyDrive, however my laptop kept BSODing and I was told it is because the memory was to slow to keep up - My laptop specs are T9300 cpu, 4GB DDR2 800 speed.

I think Readyboost works better, but personally, I wouldn't use it - I would rather spend the money on a RAM upgrade and as my machine never goes above 80% memory (when im in full swing of things) I don't really think I would benefit.

  • When did you fill up the 4GB of RAM? I'm not sure Windows would use ReadyBoost unless it ran out of usable RAM. – alex Oct 13 '09 at 12:05
  • I never ran out of 4GB, I have only come close - that is why I took out my Turbo Memory - The R stands for Random, and I can only guess that some of it was being used even when it wasn't needed... I was getting BSOD at random, sometimes within seconds of booting and other times after a few minutes, but the BSOD was always the same driver... from the Turbo Memory - It means that the problem could be just the Intel drivers, however I still say just buy more memory rather than use this tech... If you have a need for over 4GB, the chances are you can afford more memory – William Hilsum Oct 13 '09 at 12:39
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    The R in Turbo? :) – alex Oct 13 '09 at 12:45
  • Ahh! +1 I didn't explain well at all-tried to say that if you have 2GB of memory, and then 1GB of Ready Boost - then you have an application requiring 1GB of memory, your machine has a total of 3GB and it is assigned randomly - maybe half on the ReadyBoost device and half in memory... My point is that if you never exceed your memory, why use a slower device for extra (and isn't that what page file is for :S )... Again, I have no proof that this is how it works, but as I have not exceeded 4GB of memory, I don't see the need for this tech and for laptops with less, I would rather buy memory. – William Hilsum Oct 13 '09 at 13:28

The thing about RAM is that it is extremely fast! Way faster than a harddrive is when feeding the CPU data. This is why RAM was invented. (ram 6gb/s vs disk 60/90MB/s) (aprox.)

However, when there is RAM available, Readyboost will not do you much good. When there is no RAM available, readyboost might improve the responsiveness of your machine, but I doubt it will be any faster.

If you have three GB of RAM. I do not think readyboost will change your performance, not even a bit. SD and USB drives still are much slower than RAM.

So to answer your question. It is never recommended to use Readyboost unless you are totally out of RAM.

  • It is never recommended? Why not? It has no detrimental impact... – alex Oct 13 '09 at 12:23
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    Indeed, you answered the question. It has no XXX impact. Why bother! Would you attach your vacuumcleaner to your PC if I said it would run just the same? – Pit Oct 13 '09 at 13:21
  • readyboost can still help boot time even of you have more RAM than you need – Ian Ringrose Jul 18 '10 at 8:27

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