8GB DDR2 Windows 7 64-bit and Paging Files
I have 8GB DDR2 running Windows 7 64-bit and noticed that my system managed page files size is 8GB. Now I've seen debates all over the web whether you should disable page files, keep it system managed, or set it for a low number. I'm fine with just letting the system manage it, but my question is, Does it slow you down having such a large system managed page file on the HDD? If that was the case, then having such a large amount of ram defeats the purpose. Having more ram should help me out, not slow me down, right? I hear most people set theirs to 512-700mb, and turning it off could cause the system to crash at high uses of memory. Thoughts, comments, answers............?
Having a large pagefile doesn't really slow the system down as long as you've got enough RAM. If you've got the RAM then the system doesn't need to use the pagefile, so there's no performance impact. The biggest issue with the pagefile is that for an SSD user it can take a fair bit of space that could otherwise be used for wear-leveling (i.e., "TRIM").
To find out how much pagefile YOU need, run Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) and select the "Performance" tab. Look at the number below the left end of the memory graph - that's the total amount of virtual memory your system's using. Anything that's greater than the physical memory is coming from the pagefile. For example, if you've got 8GB and the memory graph says 9GB, then you're using 1GB in your pagefile.
If that number (plus a safety margin) is less than your RAM size even under the worst load you can possibly throw at the system, then you don't really need a page file at all. I've been running without a pagefile ever since I first installed Windows 7 and it's been working just fine. There are a few older programs which choke without a pagefile (Photoshop 6 was one of them), but I haven't found any current-generation programs that require it. I'm on Photoshop CS4 right now and it works just fine without a page file.