Virtual Memory Optimization Guide!

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles' started by Dashken, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Hello shkj,

    I wouldn't recommend you put it in a separate partition just to make it permanent. You can make it permanent even without putting it in a separate partition.

    In any case, the operating system always formats the hard drive from the outer tracks inwards, for obvious reasons. So, in the Partition Magic bar, the outer tracks would be at the beginning of the bar.

    Hope that helps you some! :)
  2. Waiko

    Waiko Newbie

    Need advise

    Hi everyone....Good Day....This is my first post and I must say that this is one of my best source of information that I have ever come accross. Congratulation to everyone who contributed.:lol:

    I have read the article about pagefile and Im still curious about afew things. This is what I have now

    A. Raptor 150GB SATA I (OS)
    B. Western Digital RE2 500GB SATA II
    C. Seagate 750GB SATA II

    Memory = 2GB

    1. Whats your opinion in setting up this 3 drives for pagefiles?
    2. Would it be better if I create the pagefiles only on my B & C rather than A?
    3. How about distributing the pagefiles in all drive A, B and C?
    4. If so from 2GB memory that I have, how much should I set the pagefiles size for each drive?min?max??

    If there are no pagefile in the OS drive, I think the performance will be slightly better. Another way will be creating a small size pagefile in OS not large size. This is just my opinion is.:idea:

    What do you suggest? Is there any reasonable way to optimize what I have now?:think:

    Thanks ....:)
  3. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Hello Waiko,

    Thanks and welcome to Tech ARP. :wave:

    1. It all depends on how much hard drive space you are willing to sacrifice. :) I would personally create a small paging file in each of the three drives.

    2. Possibly. But like I said, it depends on whether you are willing to sacrifice space on A. If you are, then having a spare paging file there won't hurt.

    As mentioned somewhere in this thread, creating a paging file won't hurt performance. Windows XP will just use it if it's available and free.

    3. Read no. 1

    4. Err.. Did you read the guide and/or this thread? If you did, you would have noted that we mentioned quite a few times that there is NO WAY anyone in this world can tell you how big the page file size should be.

    It all depends on your usage as well as the amount of free memory you have. The only way you can determine the optimal size for your paging file is to test and find out. :D

    Hope that helps you some! :)
  4. Justarius

    Justarius Newbie

    Drowning in options!

    Hey guys, I remember reading this guide when it was first posted and that it offered excellent advice. Now I'm staring down the barrel of a reformat with a new drive arrangement and some complicated page file options and I thought, I know who to ask for advice!

    So here's my setup:

    - 300GB SATA 1
    - 300GB SATA 2
    - 400GB SATA 3
    - 320GB @ Primary IDE (Master)
    - DVD Burner @ Secondary IDE (Master)

    And naturally my question is, where to put the page file(s)?

    As you can see each drive has it's own channel so no worries about P-ATA limitations (I learned that from the guide) :thumb:

    I bought 2 identical 300s planning on making a 600GB Raid 0 array but after reading more articles decided against it. It won't help much with game performance and introduces increased risk.

    My plan so far is to put WinXP/Apps/Games on 1 of the 300s. My primary focus is to maximize speed for Battlefield 2, Photoshop, etc. We can assume constant disc activity on this drive if I'm playing BF2. Consequently, I'm ruling it out for the page file. Since the page file is continuously accessed, I'm assuming it will slow down my apps or my apps will slow down it, right?

    The 400GB SATA will also have constant disk activity as it's being used as a file server for my home LAN. I DL to it and stream from it, etc. For this reason, I'm ruling it out for Page file so the constant disc activity won't slow down the page or the page slow down the disc activity.

    The 2nd 300GB SATA I will use for encoding DVDs (I do video production), RARing/UnRaRing, as well as storage. There are times when it will sit and times when it will have constant activity.

    The 320GB IDE is just storage. Probably put my data, digital pictures, etc. here. Since data is accessed infrequently, this seems the best spot for the page file. I was thinking of making a 2GB partition (and making it the 1st partition) for the Page file and making the page file 1GB permanent. I know the guide doesn't recommend separate partitions because of inflexibility, but I've seen Diskeeper do a lousy job of moving the Page file to the outer edges and if I make the 2GB partition the 1st partition, the Page file is guaranteed to be on the outer edges, correct? Plus it won't ever get fragmented with the continuously changing data.

    Any advice? I guess I could make multiple page files on all 4 drives but like I said, does it make sense to put a page file on drives that are continuously in use? And is Windows REALLY smart enough to say "gee, he's playing BF2, I better not use that drive's page file... Hmm, but he's also DLing so no 400GB either. I guess I'll use the 320GB"?? :think:

    That would be pretty sweet if it did, but I'm skeptical. I really don't want BF2 to be trading off with the Page file on 300GB SATA 1 any more than I want my DLing or streaming to slow down the Page file if it's on the 400.

    Sorry for the length and thanks for taking the time to read it all!

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2006
  5. Justarius

    Justarius Newbie

    Diskeeper's advice wrong?

    Here's a little tidbit you might want to address officially.

    I went into Diskeeper's Config options (where you can extend the MFT and check if your page file is setup to their approval).

    For advice on my page file it said the size was good but...

    "Note: There is no paging file on your boot volume. Microsoft highly recommends that you have at least a small paging file on your boot volume."

    I'm using Diskeeper 10 Professional

    Any comments? That goes against the advice of moving the page file to a 2nd drive entirely...

  6. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    TBH, with so many hard drives and so much storage space, the best option would be to create a small paging file in EACH hard drive.

    Determine how much virtual memory you need, add a little for buffer and divide that by 4 (the number of hard drives you have). Use that number to create the paging file for each drive.
  7. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    There's really no hard and fast rule for or against moving the entire paging file to another hard drive.

    Remember, the original guide was written back in the days when hard drives were expensive and storage space limited. With many people using multiple hard drives and large ones at that, the most practical solution is to create small paging files on each drive.

    Hmm.. I think I should update the guide.
  8. SgtPitt

    SgtPitt Newbie

    Hello, just read your write up on Pagefiles, but one thing you didnt really go into was having no paging file

    Wouldnt having no paging file offer the biggest performance increase of them all ? Provided you had the ram, and you never went over the rams limit ?

    Well for the last 3 years i've never used a pagefile, i always disable it,

    Just wondered what you thought about that.
  9. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Hello SgtPitt,

    I'm pretty sure I've talked about it somewhere, either in the article or on this thread. :think:

    Generally, it isn't advisable to go without a paging file. Many applications require a paging file to work properly.

    But theoretically, of course, using only RAM is the ultimate solution. As mentioned in the article, virtual memory is not faster, it's just better than not having enough RAM.

    If you have more than enough RAM and have no problems running your applications without a paging file, your system isn't going to get any faster though. With a paging file enabled, all Windows will do is keep a copy of pageable data in the paging file just in case they need to be paged out.

    In fact, enabling a paging file will allow Windows XP to allocate more memory for the disk cache, improving its performance. So, I would still recommend enabling the paging file.
  10. Flyhii

    Flyhii Newbie

    Hi All,

    I read this guide & have setup my pagefile as follows:

    I put the OS & programs only on my RAID 0 using 2 WD 74Gb Raptor SATA HDD's (logical C: drive).

    I then put the pagefile on a 2nd HDD (a WD 74Gb Raptor SATA HDD-base E: drive) & setup in the outer tracks of this drive & using System Managed setting to let Windows do with it as it wants to (Windows is gonna do this anyway) since the only other thing I do w/ this drive is store my RAID image & other minor data on it so room isn't an issue.

    From what I've seen this setup gives the absolute best performance when optimizing the pagefile performance. I run w/ 2Gb of RAM on top of this & 10 programs running at the same time on a dual-core CPU setup & I have absolutely no slowdowns or stuttering at all regardless of load. I attribute this to the SATA interface which allows concurrent reads/writes between the RAID array & the ghost drive & those FAST Raptors! To date, I haven't witnessed not 1 issue w/ any apps, games or Windows itself having a problem running w/o a pagefile setup on the HDD where the OS & apps/games reside, at least on my box. Your mileage may vary.

    I am a big-time gamer & this setup is the way to go IMHO, especially if you got other stuff running in the background-ie, multitasking.

    Thanks for this very informative article!

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  11. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    No problem! :D
  12. Flyhii

    Flyhii Newbie

    Hi Adrian,

    Since I "brought it up" :lol:

    I got a question concerning as to why would any app or game have a problem accessing a pagefile that is put on a base disk other than the disk that contains the boot volume (OS)?

    Now I understand the reasoning from an IT standpoint of being able to contain a full memory dump for debugging purposes, so this isn't my concern as I don't have, run or maintain a corporate networking type of infrastructure.

    But why would any software developer write into their program(s) to look for a pagefile addressed on the boot volume drive instead of just letting Windows do the pageouts when needed?
    This is the only issue that I can think of that would cause a pagefile setup like I have problems.

    This wouldn't make sense. Since the user is essencially "instructing" Windows to place the physical location of the pagefile on a particular HDD & the setup parameters(s) to "tenetively" use so that the OS can perform the related functions-& the OS is the "brain", then why would software be written to query the OS as to a pagefile's certain location on a certain HDD instead of just querying the OS for the existance of a pagefile & leave the handling of all this to the OS?


    Care to comment?

  13. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Unfortunately, I'm no application programmer. I can't tell you why they do what they do. :mrgreen:

    But I don't have any problem running the paging file in a partition that does not contain the operating system. What kind of problems are you talking about? :think:
  14. Flyhii

    Flyhii Newbie

    Hi Adrian,

    What I was referring to was the Microsoft article that recommends to leave a small pagefile on the drive that contains the boot volume (OS) when setting up pagefile(s) on multiple HDD's.

    The only other reason that I can see as to why to do this (outside of wanting to contain a full system dump upon a system crash) is that some software devs write into their .exe's to look for the pagefile on the boot volume drive (or HDD where the app is installed on) instead of just querying the OS for the existance of a pagefile regardless of where it's addressed (which makes infinitely more sense).

    I'm not having any problems running either & I have my pagefile setup on a 2nd HDD that does not have the OS & apps/games on it & no pagefile setup at all on the 1st logical HDD (RAID 0 array) & this "drive" contains the boot volume, OS & apps/games on it. My results seem to contradict this MS recommendation. This was my comment in previous posting.

    Was just wanting to hear your comments on this.

  15. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Actually, Microsoft only recommend you keep a small paging file on the boot drive for debugging purposes. Here's a quote :

    AFAIK, there should be no problem for applications if the paging file is not on the boot drive. In fact, I don't believe the applications can even directly access the paging file.

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