Two weeks ago I mentioned here that I was trying a new product called eBoostr that basically works similar as Ready Boost does for Vista. I originally stated that:

To begin with, the eBoostr software costs $29.00 and currently comes with 2 years of support and upgrades if ordered before December 31, 2007. In addition to the purchasing of software, you will also need a compatible USB 2.0 thumb drive. These usually can be found on sale from a variety of vendors and I’ve seen them for $15 or less for 2G’s. Using a theoretical cost of say $29 for the software and $20 for a flash drive, It would be under $50 to add a few G’s to your system without having to crack open the case.

I also received some reader comments concerning the software product:

Michael Plant stated:

Thanks Ron. I’m running XP with 2GB of RAM on an aging Centrino notebook. You’ve confirmed my suspicions about eBoostr – not likely outside of a low RAM situation. I’ll await your full comments next week (or so)!

Also another comment from Mike stating:

Eagerly awaiting Ron’s final report. In the interim, I’m running 1.1 on a Centrino notebook (1.4Ghz single core) with 2GB RAM and have two 4GB and a 1GB cache setup. I”m noticing a serious slowdown in my boot times, with or without the drives connected and have written to the developers about setting the service to manual and disabling the CP from starting with windows. No response yet.. For now, anyone else having problems? Mine occur after the deskopt appears – explorer.exe (I assume) freaks out for a while because the taskbar and system tray do not respond to mouse input and there is a good 4-5 minute pause before the system tray starts to populate. This is NOT normal. Event viewer doesn’t report anything out of the ordinary.

Eddweb said:

I’ve now been testing eboostr, im using a AMD 3700+ laptop with 2gb of ram. iv got a 4gb flash drive dedicated to the swop file. the main problem i had with the machine is its got a slow hdd, since installing iv noticed some of the programs that caused the bigist slowdowns (paintshop pro XI & Photoshop CS3 being the worst) have sped up a fare amount. after looking through the files cashed within the cash file (an option on the menu) it showed that it was now loading a lot of the small files from the flash drive. so far iv been impressed, but hope to see some improvments in the system such as removing the cash for temporary internet files. from what iv read and tryed flash is great for fast access of little files but a hdd will beet it for constant access, so a compmise between the 2 as this seems to be offering is good. all this being said u need a large pen drive to take advantage of this system, its not a substute for system memory – id still recommend system memory over this but once your down to the hdd slowing you down and u have a slow hdd give this a try. and i’ll only recomend using large pendrives, as large as possible

And Vion Sandor said:

I’m also testing eboostr on a 512MB RAM XPpro. There seems to be a lack of documentation at this point, as well as clear directions regarding how to set up the flash drive. I’m getting some erratic random read speeds -when these are very low (>2000 KB/sec), it also seems to have generated a severely fragmented cache. My solution in that case was to reformat the drive and set it up again (is there any way to defragment in this situation?). Every time I do this I get a different read speed on the same device (SanDisk Cruser Micro -readyboost enhanced) Still don’t know which file system is best -the company recommends NTFS, but my personal tests were dismal with it -FAT32 seems to work better. They also recommend 1GB allocated space, but I think the ‘more is better’ idea makes better sense here?

One of the things that is mentioned on the eBoostr site is how the software may improve performance for those using a laptop system, which I used to perform my testing on. However, my system has 1G of RAM using Windows XP and I really didn’t notice much of a performance boost. This does not indicate that eBoostr didn’t work. But as mentioned in the comments, eBoostr may be used best on systems with either 256MB or 512MB of RAM, running programs such as Photoshop that tax the system.

Guess what? I have such a system. My wife’s laptop has 512MB and she also runs Photoshop at times. So I gave eBoostr a try on her system. I noted that there was a marked improvement using a 2G USB stick when running Photoshop. The system rendered changes to photo’s she was working with much quicker and there was less hard disk activity. In fact most of the time there was no hard disk activity. 🙂

So what does this prove?

eBoostr does work on systems with low on board RAM using taxing programs such as Photoshop.

It also provides an easy way to increase performance without having to open the case. This is particularly attractive for laptop users.

So what is better? Using eBoostr or actually installing more physical RAM?

I’d personal recommend adding more physical RAM. But if cracking open the case, especially a laptop intimates you, than eBoostr is a definite alternative.

Comments welcome.

[tags]eboostr, software, ram, memory, laptop, alternative, performance, [/tags]