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RAM Doubler was a memory compression utility developed by Connectix for classic Mac OS and Windows.

Usage[]

RAM Doubler compressed less-used memory contents of background applications, and recovered free memory for use by the foreground application. Only when all free physical memory was occupied, would it start writing swap files to disk, like virtual memory.[1]

Product history[]

Mac versions[]

Version 1.0 debuted for Mac users in January 1994 at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. At least a Motorola 68030 processor (or a 68020 paired with a 68851 PMMU) was required to enable its memory management routines which doubled the amount of available memory over what was physically installed. The demand was driven by a worldwide spike in already high RAM prices driven by a factory fire in Japan.[2]

Version 2.0 was released in August 1996, introducing faster memory management and a new user interface that allowed users to select the amount of desired memory, up to triple beyond what was physically installed. The slider could be set from 1.0x to 3.0x to prioritize memory quantity vs. performance. Even set at 1.0x, RAM Doubler's enabling of "file mapping" through the Code Fragment Manager on PowerPC-based systems would allow applications to use less memory than if no virtual memory had been turned on.[3]

Version 8 was released in July 1998 and skipped version numbers to indicate its support for Mac OS 8. It also fixed compatibility issues with Microsoft Office 98 and was available as a free update for users of RAM Doubler 2.[4]

Version 9 was released in January 2000 to support Mac OS 9. It was available as a free update for users of RAM Doubler 8.[5]

Windows version[]

SoftRAM_-_The_Story_of_the_Incredible_RAM_Doubling_Scam_(A_Retrospective)

SoftRAM - The Story of the Incredible RAM Doubling Scam (A Retrospective)

Connectix attempted to bring RAM Doubler's success in the Mac market to the PC market with a version for Windows 3.x. However, Syncronys Softcorp had brought a competing product into the marketplace called SoftRAM with a graphical user interface. After selling as many as 700,000 copies, it was discovered that the software actually did nothing except write more swap data to disk with worse performance and report false memory savings, leading it to be called "placebo software". Lawsuits were filed and the Federal Trade Commission investigated the scam. Syncronys went bankrupt in July 1998 before all its fines and rebates to customers could be paid. Connectix discontinued development of its Windows version as the negative publicity of the scam, combined with declining RAM prices, had effectively destroyed the market for such software.[6][7][8]

Legacy[]

Connectix closed in 2003 after selling its flagship Virtual PC product to Microsoft.[9] In 2013, OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" introduced memory compression to allow Macs to use memory more efficiently, in a manner reminiscent of RAM Doubler.[10]

References[]

  1. RAM Doubler remembered by Daved L. Farquhar, The Silicon Underground. 2020-05-11.
  2. RAM Doubler by Adam Engst, TidBITS. 1994-01-10.
  3. RAM Doubler 2 by Adam Engst, TidBITS. 1996-10-28.
  4. Free RAM Doubler 8 Update by Adam Engst, TidBITS. 1998-07-20.
  5. Connectix Releases Free RAM Doubler 9 Update by Adam Engst, TidBITS. 2000-01-24.
  6. A trick of memory? by Julian Dibbell, Time. 1995-11-27.
  7. Retrotechtacular: Double For Nothing by Jenny List, Hackaday. 2021-05-21.
  8. Snake oil software, or how SoftRAM hoodwinked the world by Brad Jones, Digital Trends. 2016-09-17.
  9. Microsoft Acquires Connectix Virtual Machine Technology: Move Eases Consolidation and Migration to New Operating Systems for Customers. Microsoft (2003-02-19).
  10. Memory compression brings RAM Doubler to OS X Mavericks by Topher Kessler, CNET. 2013-06-10.

External links[]

Articles[]

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