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A ramdisk is a virtual block device created in RAM upon which a filesystem is created. Ramdisks are most often used in operating system installers and applications where a small volatile filesystem is not a limitation (ex. Coyote Linux, BlessTiVo).

One side effect is that file accesses to a ramdisk are far faster than to a electromechanical disk. The latencies for ramdisks are minimal and random seek penalties are nonexistant. Some specialized applications use a dedicated hardware ramdisk to exploit this phenomenon. Supercomputers sometimes use them for increased speed in reading and writing data sets while many high-end hardware RAID systems use them as a write-back cache to reduce the RAID 5 write penalty.

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