Make A Virtual Drive Using Your Video Card’s RAM

Make A Virtual Drive Using Your Video Card’s RAM

RAM drives aren’t as popular as they used to be, with the speedy performance of solid-state drives good enough for most. But they still have their uses and with the average PC sporting 8GB of system RAM, sparing a couple of gigabytes is not a problem. The thing is, video cards are starting to pack on memory as well. So, is it possible to use GPU RAM as a virtual drive? Certainly.

A project called GpuRamDrive by Syahmi Azhar is available on GitHub and while there is some assembly required, it will let you use some of your video card’s memory as a virtual drive. If you want to give it a go, I’ll say it now — you will need to compile the application yourself using Visual Studio.

After that, you’ll need to grab a few other programs — ImDisk and DevIo. Full instructions can be found via the project’s GitHub repo.

As to how it peforms, you can see the benchmarks for yourself in the lead image. Azhar also provides some additional details:

Using GPU RAM isn’t as fast as host main memory, however it is still faster than a regular HDD. The result [above] is taken on my system with GTX 850M and i7-4710MQ. As IO operation is happening between the CPU and GPU, the GPU can become active from idle state and might causes system to draw more power.

While using GPU memory in this way isn’t very practical, it might prove a decent option once video cards regularly come with 8GB or more.

GpuRamDrive [GitHub, via Reddit]


  • Has anyone actually tried this? I’m curious to know if it’s possible to use the memory of a secondary card? (Like if you have an SLI setup)
    When using SLI, you can only access the memory from the first card, so it could be cool to put something like this to use with the ram on the second card.
    I know talk of memory stacking was thrown around last year from both AMD and nVidia, but I don’t think there’s been any action on implementing it yet.

  • Can you do it? Yes

    Should you do it? No

    Apart from the high likelyness of data loss/ Corruption occuring, You will also be speeding up the process of memory failure in your GPU.

    • Not sure if this was intended as a reply to me or not, but in the scenario I was curious about, it wouldn’t be too bad since the memory isn’t being used anyway.
      It wouldn’t be a long term use thing obviously, but it could be cool to experiment with like I used to do back in the dos days. Loading the whole of doom in to ram and playing it was stunningly fast! 🙂
      Not a lot of games that would fit in there these days (even with the 4gb my card has) but there’s a few little things I’d be keen to experiment with, especially stuff like using it as scratch space for heavy computation work.

  • I’ve expiremented ImDisk (Windows) and zram (Linux) – It’s kind of cool and fast, but wouldn’t use it for anything productive unless there was layers of redundancy.

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