A closer look at DimmDrive on Steam

With the Steam Summer Sale going on, I thought it was a good opportunity to bring up DimmDrive, the Steam RamDrive creation tool. I’ve had DimmDrive installed for a few months and have been using it on Shroud of the Avatar which is currently in development. The machine I’m using it on has 32GB of ram with a 24GB ram drive and the entire contents of SotA loaded into memory. That should be an indication that you need a lot of ram and a higher end machine. I’ve seen a lot of reviews from people with mid-range machines and 8GB of ram and that’s just not going to work for you. Putting this on an “older” system or a “laptop” isn’t going to make it run like new.

I will say that my experience has been quite positive. Like I said, I loaded SotA entirely into ram and scenes load quicker and I’m able to enter a new area quicker than other players in my group. Not exactly scientific, but it is noticeable.

I’ve found DimmDrive to be very easy to work with and very stable. I’ve not had any crashes related to DimmDrive itself. For a game that gets updated frequently, I turn off the ram drive, update the game and recreate the ram drive. That seems to work out better and faster.

Overall, DimmDrive does exactly what it says it will do. It loads as much into ram as it possible and gives you quicker access to game files. Yes, there are tools that do similar functions for free, but you’re paying for the Steam integration, which works extremely well. All my games are listed and I haven’t had a problem loading one. Now, the Steam name and the Display Name might be a little different from time to time, but the game is in the list somewhere.

I will state that I think people have unrealistic expectations of ram drives and SSD. They think that just because you have one, game access is instantaneous. That’s not true, the game itself and network speed come into play. As stated, just because SotA is loaded into ram doesn’t mean the game loads in a flash. There are still load times. If has to retrieve data from the server to determine where other players are, their houses, decorations, items they’ve placed on the ground, etc, etc, etc.

For most games you should see smoother transitions and negligible delay as data is loaded. That’s a good thing, and that’s what I get. I think DimmDrive is a solid piece of software that gives me what I ask for – a performance boost, a couple of extra frames per second and a couple of seconds shaved off load and scene transition times.

Is it worth $30? To be honest, I think that’s a bit high. A price of $10-15 seems far more reasonable or a bundle with DimmDrive and CPUCores for $25. But it is on sale for $20 which isn’t too bad. And it’s cheaper than a full on SSD.

If you have reasonable expectations, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with DimmDrive.

As a side note, you can buy 32GB of ram at Amazon for around $120 right now.

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