Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 34 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals

Twice The Maxima

Director of Technical Services, Baka Industries Inc.

Last month, Connectix introduced a new version of Maxima, its popular RAM disk management software. Maxima 3.0 supports all Power Macintoshes, in addition to all 68030 and 68040 Mac models, and incorporates Connectix’s proprietary RAM doubling technology (as seen in RAM Doubler) to create a RAM disk twice the size of the physical memory allocated.

Speaking of RAM Doubler, Connectix says the two products can be used together seamlessly; a Mac with 32 MB of physical RAM, for example, could be set up with a 16 MB RAM disk and still have 48 MB left for system and application memory.

Maxima provides a "non-volatile" RAM disk, a Macintosh volume that acts like a hard disk on the Mac desktop but works at the far-higher speed of memory. The contents of the RAM disk stick around through shutdowns, restarts, and even system crashes. Only a power failure will result in the loss of data from a RAM disk. (If this sounds like a bad idea to you, we suggest you add a UPS, or uninterruptible power supply, to your setup – and avoid tripping over power cords.)

Using a RAM disk to store active system software, applications, and even documents can dramatically improve performance by replacing relatively slow disk accesses with much quicker memory accesses. Maxima enables you to copy your active System Folder to the RAM disk and then reboot from that; subsequent restarts are lightning-fast, and the Mac runs much faster with its system software in memory. You can balance between speed and memory requirements by keeping some, but not all, of your extensions and fonts in the RAM disk. (The rest can still be accessed via a clever alias arrangements.)

On a PowerBook, running from the RAM disk has the further advantage of keeping the hard drive spun down, to lesson the annoyance of having it spin up and conserve battery power. Connectix says Maxima is particularly useful to software developers, who can benefit from dramatically shortened compile times on large programming projects.

Maxima requires at least 8 MB of real memory in order to run on Macintosh computers that support RAM disks already. (Of course, the more memory the better.) On Macs that don’t support a RAM disk in the system software, you must have more than 8 MB of RAM. Memory "created" by RAM Doubler doesn’t count! The software runs on any 68030, 68040, or PowerPC Macintosh, or on an 68020 Mac that has a PMMU added. This means almost every Mac introduced since 1990, including every PowerBook save the 100, can use Maxima. (And the PowerBook 100 already has a completely non-volatile RAM disk built in.)

Maxima is the first member of the Connectix product line to take full advantage of the PowerPC performance of the new Power Macintosh line. The "overweight software" (in Connectix’s words) contains both 680×0 and PowerPC code. All of Maxima’s time-critical sections have been rewritten in native PowerPC code for optimal performance.

Registered owners of previous Maxima versions may obtain a $19.95 upgrade by telephone, fax, email, carrier pigeon (NoDropping protocol only, please), smoke signal, or message in a bottle (allow 4-128 weeks for return bottle delivery). Connectix accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover for upgrade orders.

Connectix — 800/950-5880 — 415/571-5100 — 415/571-5195 (fax)
<[email protected]>

— Information from:
Connectix propaganda
Roy McDonald, Connectix CEO

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For over 33 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. The Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.