Can Windows ReadyBoost Actually Speed-up Your Video Editing Computer?

Windows Readyboost

Windows ReadyBoost is a utility built into Windows operating systems to enhance virtual memory speed. Video editors are always looking for more power and speed to run their video editing software programs! Can this utility help? Here's what I think!


What Is Windows ReadyBoost?

What is Windows readyboost?

What is it exactly ? It is a virtual memory space created and located on a USB flash drive or other flash memory device that you've hooked up to your Windows computer.

ReadyBoost is incorporated into Microsoft operating system's... Specifically... Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10It is theoretically faster than using a portion of your hard drive as a virtual memory space. The idea being that the hard drive's mechanical components slow down the read/write speed of the virtual memory process...

The flash drive...

  • Being a solid-state device (no moving parts) and...
  • With virtually no fragmentation...

Does not have these limitations.

I go into Flash Drives a bit more here in this article... Flash Drives for Camcorders.


What is Virtual Memory and Why Is It so Important in Video Editing...

Virtual memory and video editing

Computer programs and system processes need a super-fast memory space to be able to carry out their functions accurately and with great speed.

The physical memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) is used as this super-fast memory space. Sometimes however the computer needs more memory space than it has available in the computers RAM.

 This is where virtual memory comes in! Virtual memory is a space allocated on your hard drive (or in the case of ReadyBoost on a flash drive) where the overflow can be stored and quickly retrieved when needed. 

Of course... if you're using anything other than the RAM (physical memory) the speed of the read/write process is slowed... But, memory hungry programs and processes do sometimes need more memory space than your RAM can provide and this virtual memory system is a way to accommodate them. 

The alternative, if you didn't have virtual memory, would be your computer running slow, freezing or crashing altogether. 

Video editing and RAM

* In video editing we really see how this can be, especially when you're video editing software program is trying to render large audio and video files, especially in HD. You can "grow old" waiting for some videos to render! If you've done any video editing at all... You know that not enough computer memory can be a nightmare!

I discuss Virtual Memory, a little more in depth, here in this article on... Video Editing Computer RAM and this one on... Rendering in Video Editing.


What ReadyBoost Does to Boost Your Systems Performance...

Windows ReadyBoost and system performance

Windows has attempted to help your system run smoother and faster by adding a utility that can turn a USB flash drive or flash memory device into a fast virtual memory space for your computer. 

As this flash drive or flash memory device (because it solid-state) should be faster and more responsive, as far as read/write times, than the hard drive, in theory...This feature should speed up and enhance your computers performance. 

ReadyBoost's Best Use!

This memory booster can make the biggest difference on systems with low amounts of RAM as these types of systems are more likely to use virtual memory a lot more often than systems that have a large amount of RAM on-board.

ReadyBoost can be used with most types of...

  • USB flash drives...
  • SD cards and...
  • CompactFlash units. 

The flash memory device must have an access time however of at least 1 ms or less and at least 2.5 MB/s in read speed and 1.75 MB/s of write speed. 

Not every USB drive or flash memory device is compatible with ReadyBoost however...

The operating system automatically will test the flash memory device for suitability when it is first connected to your computer.

If the operating system has verified that the flash drive or flash device can be used for this purpose... You'll then see a tab for "ReadyBoost" (if you right-click the Computer icon and then go to the "Preference Box" and click on that).


How to Use ReadyBoost...

How to Use ReadyBoost

Just plug-in your flash memory device and the computer does the rest!

As I said earlier... If you want to see if the device is compatible and operational, right click on the Computer  icon and check to see if the ReadyBoost tab has appeared in the Preferences box.

If it has... you can click on the tab and adjust some of the settings and customize your virtual memory usage however you want to.

From what I have been able to see...

it's best used on laptops that have a minimum amount of physical memory…

Like 1 or 2 GB. 

On these types of units I've seen a boost in speed... other types... not so much. 

Another thing I've observed is that video editing computers that are using hard drives that spin at 7200 RPM or 10,000 RPM... Don't get much of a boost either. This is probably because their read/write times are fairly fast anyway

Note: ReadyBoost is not enabled on computers using solid-state drives (SSD's) at all.


So... Does Windows ReadyBoost Speed up Your Video Editing Software Program?

ReadyBoost and video editing software

My Opinion on ReadyBoost...

* Use it only if you're trying to video edit on a machine that has a limited amount of physical memory (less than 2 GB)... Other than that... Probably not.

You should try it though… If you find that you're getting better performance let me know in the comments section below (just click on the link to Comments)… 


As always... I'd love to hear your experiences, thoughts and opinions on it! So if you're using it or have used it in video editing let me know how Windows ReadyBoost has worked out for you!


Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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