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page file size with 2GB of ram

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May 30, 2006 3:13:06 PM

For Windows XP and 2GB of PC3200 ram, what should the page file be set to? Swap file... vertual memory, what ever it is called. Should it be turned off completely? I do not think I am capable of using up 2GB of ram. Playing games and messing around with DVDs is about the extent to what I am doing... I want my system to be set up for video editing, but my wife has all but abandoned that hobby.

I think my page file is currently set at 1GB, 1024 min and 1024 max.

More about : page file size 2gb ram

May 30, 2006 3:21:23 PM

Quote:
For Windows XP and 2GB of PC3200 ram, what should the page file be set to? Swap file... vertual memory, what ever it is called. Should it be turned off completely? I do not think I am capable of using up 2GB of ram. Playing games and messing around with DVDs is about the extent to what I am doing... I want my system to be set up for video editing, but my wife has all but abandoned that hobby.

I think my page file is currently set at 1GB, 1024 min and 1024 max.


That sounds good...Maybe 1536/1536. I don't play alot of heavily RAM dependant games, and i have 1 GB RAM. I have my swap file now set to
512/512, and sometimes go to 768/768. I never have any slowdowns, or
even see the HD swapping out. GL :) 

I keep it low to reduce fragmentation. :wink:
May 30, 2006 4:39:37 PM

Well you never want to get rid of your Virtual memory all together (unless you realy realy know what your doing) as some application require it even if your have enough physical ram
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May 30, 2006 5:18:55 PM

vm should be 2x your physical ram..but in the 2 gig case..which i have also..just leave the max swap file at 2000mb and set the initial swap file at 2000mb..so windows doesnt have to increase the neccessary swap file when it needs it..since its already there
May 30, 2006 5:28:28 PM

I just let Windows manage it. But setting it to 2GB and leaving it there would be fine too.
May 30, 2006 5:31:31 PM

Does the need to have vm at 1.5 or 2x the physical ram go away after you reach a point, such as having lots of ram like 2GB?

Why is it suggested to have 1.5 or 2x times the physical ram, ayway?

I might leave it at 1024 min and 1024 max because I set the ram on a different HDD while the HDD was completely empty, so the 1024 MB is on a good spot on the hard drive. Increasing it might split it into two different places on the drive. Is my reasoning correct here?
May 30, 2006 6:13:06 PM

I've been through this debate on a number of boards in different places. I have had my memory paging DISABLED since I went to 2Gb of ram about a year ago. There might be some programs that require paging enabled, but there aren't many. I've run just about every game out there with no issues, and .NET and Visual Studio development tools as well as Poser and a couple other rendering programs. Unless specific applications you use REQUIRE paging, I'd disable it. What I noticed, both at work and at home, is that Windows tends to page parts of almost everything into VM unless you have no page file. This is easily testable by selecting to display the virtual memory column in performance in the task manager. The main effect this has, especially with graphics intensive applications is a slowdown in load times as the application will be swapping textures on and off the hard drive at the same time it's trying to do large sequential reads from the hard drive for application data. In most cases, even when you think you have more than enough video ram, windows still uses system ram for textures. I've been using cards with 128mb and 256mb for a while with applications that only require 64mb and there was still a noticable performance difference with paging turned off. Obviously, this is just my personal opinion, and if you get an out of memory error with a particular application... by all means, turn it back on. I regularly run things like Elder Scrolls Oblivion, WoW, etc. while playing music in ITunes, chatting in AiM, etc. and running voice chat software and/or downloading and never get out of memory errors or performance issues.
May 30, 2006 6:45:54 PM

I have found that Windows works optimally with about 2 gigs of memory TOTAL (Page File + Ram).

Of course, if you do lots of phot editing and Video encoding, you will use more, but for general operation, 2Gb is the sweet point.

If you have 1gb of Ram, it is recommended that you set about 1 gb in swap file.

If you have 2 Gb, then set the minimum to about 500 mb, and the max to whatever you want. The bigger you set it, the more it'll use the page file. For best performance I have found that it is best to set the page file as small as possible, and put it on a seperate drive to the main one you access for the OS.

Mosey on over to TWEAKTOWN if you need any further supporting comments..... They too recommend you operate in this manner.

The rule about having 2x ram as page file is nonsense. It's all relative to the amount of ram you use.

Windows by default sets the page file to double the actual RAM. Probably because when XP was written, 512 - 1mb was high end. You'll have to ask microsoft on that one.
May 30, 2006 7:21:59 PM

Quote:
vm should be 2x your physical ram..but in the 2 gig case..which i have also..just leave the max swap file at 2000mb and set the initial swap file at 2000mb..so windows doesnt have to increase the neccessary swap file when it needs it..since its already there


I believe this is the correct answer +/-. I have one source (maximum PC maybe? can't remember) that recommends setting up a pagefile partition and going a bit over 2x. I've done that on my gaming boxes and it has worked well. Defrags required less often, etc. If you've got the HD capacity and can afford to dedicate a few GBs, what's the harm?
May 30, 2006 8:01:08 PM

Quote:
Does the need to have vm at 1.5 or 2x the physical ram go away after you reach a point, such as having lots of ram like 2GB?

Why is it suggested to have 1.5 or 2x times the physical ram, ayway?

I might leave it at 1024 min and 1024 max because I set the ram on a different HDD while the HDD was completely empty, so the 1024 MB is on a good spot on the hard drive. Increasing it might split it into two different places on the drive. Is my reasoning correct here?


Those "rules" really aren't a good idea. What if you had 256 MB of RAM? 640 MB of TOTAL (Physical and Virtual) RAM or 768 MB of RAM isn't enough for Windows. Those rules work great if you already have a lot of physical RAM.

Either let Windows manage it or run your most memory intensive programs and monitor their peak memory usage with the Taskmanager. This will help to give you an idea of what they use and help you determine the optimum amount size for the pagefile.

When you clear it and reset the pagefile, use PerfectDisk ( :wink: thanks wusy) to place it in the best location on your separate drive. You get a fully functioning 30 day trial, but it's worth buying. A separate partition on the separate drive is a nice feature, but not absolutely necessary.

At 2GB, you're probably safe with a 1GB pagefile. However, I've been running a 256 MB pagefile with 2 GB and haven't had any problems but my most memory intensive application would probably be F.E.A.R (..?).

Good luck.
May 30, 2006 8:05:35 PM

Quote:
For Windows XP and 2GB of PC3200 ram, what should the page file be set to? Swap file... vertual memory, what ever it is called. Should it be turned off completely? I do not think I am capable of using up 2GB of ram. Playing games and messing around with DVDs is about the extent to what I am doing... I want my system to be set up for video editing, but my wife has all but abandoned that hobby.

I think my page file is currently set at 1GB, 1024 min and 1024 max.


If it were ME, I would (and have) disable the page file completely. Almost everyone in this forum will advise against this, but for me it works flawlessly. Remember though I will never allow more than 25 processes to run in Windows, and usually stay below 20 (if I didn't put it in ram, and it's not one of the core 14 system processes, it goes away). Now--I'm a weirdo, and have spent countless hours just getting Windows tweaked after the hours I spent running updates, so I truly cannot recommend doing this.

My point is that it is really up to you. Backup your data--if you have Ghost, use it--then play around. Try stuff. Mess it up. Then run system restore to undo the changes. Remember that setting the option to "no page file" does NOT in and of itself remove file swapping. I can't remember where I found out exactly how to do it right, but search google for it. I know it involves several registry key edits to tweak it just right.

Above all, learn about every process you have running on your PC. It'll be the best thing that could happen to you. Even with rootkits, stealth, polymorphic trojans, etc., almost all of them will have a non-windows process along with them. It makes finding software problems that much easier.
May 30, 2006 8:14:14 PM

I haven't seen any hard evidence that there is any benifit to not simply letting Windows XP manage these settings.

So my advice is to just leave the settings be.

If anyone has any links to realiable and through testing that shows a clear benifit to monkeying with these settings I would be very greatful if you were to post them.
May 30, 2006 8:19:53 PM

Quote:
I haven't seen any hard evidence that there is any benifit to not simply letting Windows XP manage these settings.

So my advice is to just leave the settings be.

If anyone has any links to realiable and through testing that shows a clear benifit to monkeying with these settings I would be very greatful if you were to post them.




Quote:

Misconceptions about the Windows page file

There are some common misconceptions about Windows page file expansion, in that a page file can become heavily "fragmented" and cause "performance issues". The common advice given to avoid this problem is to set a single page file size, and not allow Windows to resize the page file. This is problematic for a few reasons;

* If a Windows application requests more memory than is available from both physical memory and the page file, and Windows cannot resize the page file to fulfill this request, then the memory is not successfully allocated. Many applications (and sometimes Windows itself) will crash (sometimes gracefully, sometimes not) as a result of being unable to allocate more memory.
* Concerns about "performance" are moot when a Windows system is using two or three times its total physical memory. Performance concerns about a further expanding pagefile are not going to be a user's primary concern at this time.
* Concerns about "fragmentation" are not significant when considering how and when the page file is used. Windows does not read from or write to the page file in sequential order for long periods of time, so the performance advantages of having a completely sequential page file is minimal at best. Also, if a large number of pages need to be moved in or out of the page file, chances are quite good that other hard-disk activity is taking place at the same time, further reducing performance.

In short, a Windows system does not benefit from having a locked page file size. A larger "minimum" size will indeed help systems with little physical memory by reducing resizing of the page file by the OS, however if set too high you could be wasting disk space. A large "maximum" will incur no performance penalty.



Wikipedia seems to concur.
May 30, 2006 9:20:45 PM

I have followed been following such discussions since Windows XP was released.

I tested it myself years ago, but I leave open the possibility that I didn't use the best possible custom settings or I didn't use the most relevant benchmark.

My personal conclusion that if you leave these settings alone XP will do the best possible job on its own.

The only think I personally interested in reading at this point is hard evidence, by which I mean properly done benchmarks showing how custom settings have a clear performance advantage over XP's default.

Without the benchmarks everyone is more or less just guessing and speculating.
May 30, 2006 9:59:29 PM

I've had a gig for a long time and have never used it all, but I don't play the latest games. I've heard of a lot of people using ramdrives (allocating memory as a seperate disk and using it as your page file). Your setup sounds just fine though (my own speculation).
May 30, 2006 10:14:24 PM

Leave it off, there's no point in using one.
Makes for a way speedier computer not messing with that crap.

I have Never filled all two gigs with any game or application.
(Photoshop uses its own little swap system)
May 30, 2006 10:49:48 PM

I have 2GB RAM and 0GB paging file. I upgraded from 1 to 2GB exactly so the paging file would be unnecessary, so turning it on seems rather self-defeating. The most memory I've ever used at one point was in GRAW, with all the textures preloaded into memory, at 1.4GB. I've played FEAR, D3, Oblivion etc and never needed a paging file. I'm not a professional video/picture editor either, so I don't see a chance of my 2GBs being filled up any time soon.
Ronaldo38741
May 31, 2006 7:45:56 AM

If you claim never to go over your physical memory then why bother turning off the page file?

---
Dumb virutal memory managers only move stagnant files to the hard drive when there is no physical memory availiable.

So there is no harm having virtual memory just in case.

---
Smart virtual memory managers might anticipate need, and when the system is otherwise idle duplicate stagnant memory unto the hard drive.

If the need is real the memory can imediately be made available because there is a copy on the HD.

If not then zero harm because there is still a copy in memory and the anticipatory transfer was done when the CPU is idle.

---

Plus just because a program doesn't ask for more memory than the system has available doesn't mean that it couldn't take advantage of more memory if it were available.

---

Again I challenge anyone to come up with a test that shows turning off virtual memory improves performance.

Either that or show me technical info on Windows Virtual Memory Manager that shows that MS chose to implement it in some retarded fashion.

If you compare Linux vs Windows Software RAID you see that sometimes Microsoft does implent some features in "retarded" fashion.

But given how crucial memory management is to the performance of an OS I wouldn't bet on Microsoft getting this one wrong.
May 31, 2006 8:35:39 AM

I think Microsoft would rather you left it on "let windows manage swap file"

because this would ensure that people aren't messing with the settings. Let's

face it, alot of people make changes, and will change several things at once,

then when trouble happens, they aren't sure what the offending change is.

If people are led to believe that windows managing swap file is the best

setting, they won't experiment....thus less support calls to M$. I find that,

if you want to know how much RAM you'll need, after a reboot, load up

your machine with as much running as you can...I've had 20 some

browsers open, every program i have, games.etc.etc. Then open the Task

Manager and , under the performance tab, look at "commit charge(k)".

It will show you how much RAM is available, how much is in use presently

and what your highest peak usage was. the most i could get was ~950MB.
May 31, 2006 8:59:38 AM

Optimal setting would be 1.5x the size of RAM. If windows manages the size itself its alright as well , however to get optimal performance set the initial and maximum page file size to 1.5x of ur memory.
if windows is managing the size, it dynamically keeps on changing the size of page file depending upon requirements of application or whateva ur running, it can lead to a little bit performance loss coz windows have to use memory, processor and hdd IO operations to change that size.. so its better to set it to fixed.
May 31, 2006 9:07:29 AM

Quote:
Optimal setting would be 1.5x the size of RAM. If windows manages the size itself its alright as well , however to get optimal performance set the initial and maximum page file size to 1.5x of ur memory.
if windows is managing the size, it dynamically keeps on changing the size of page file depending upon requirements of application or whateva ur running, it can lead to a little bit performance loss coz windows have to use memory, processor and hdd IO operations to change that size.. so its better to set it to fixed.
1.5x setting isn't optimal for every situation. Take for instance,

the minimal requirements for XP. ~256MB. Using that number, then virtual

memory should be ~384.With the 256 system memory, that's only a

"combined" 640MB. I don't think the 1.5x rule is acceptable in this

circumstance. So...there should be a cutoff point MB-wise, where you can

set the page file size yourself. ie: With 1GB or more, it's safe to set it to

1.5x, or your own setting. :?
May 31, 2006 9:15:47 AM

what about this idea:

put 3 gigs of ram in a rig, create a ram-drive of the size of 1.5gigs and put the windows page-file on the ram-drive...


would this work?
May 31, 2006 9:52:54 AM

1Tanker Yep it is not optimal in every case, however should be alright if RAM is huge, like 2 GB. The bottom line is Set a Fixed Size
May 31, 2006 10:09:28 AM

Quote:
what about this idea:

put 3 gigs of ram in a rig, create a ram-drive of the size of 1.5gigs and put the windows page-file on the ram-drive...


would this work?


That should work, but i wouldn't put 3GB in a machine. That would prevent

you from using dual-channel mode. At this point, over 3 GB isn't wise, until

Vista come along. :?
May 31, 2006 10:29:14 AM

Quote:
If you claim never to go over your physical memory then why bother turning off the page file?

Plus just because a program doesn't ask for more memory than the system has available doesn't mean that it couldn't take advantage of more memory if it were available.

---

Again I challenge anyone to come up with a test that shows turning off virtual memory improves performance.

Either that or show me technical info on Windows Virtual Memory Manager that shows that MS chose to implement it in some retarded fashion.

If you compare Linux vs Windows Software RAID you see that sometimes Microsoft does implent some features in "retarded" fashion.

But given how crucial memory management is to the performance of an OS I wouldn't bet on Microsoft getting this one wrong.


I've never gone over 1.5GB. Not a claim, but a fact. On the point of it just helping to have a paging file anyway, no, it doesn't. Any logic will tell you that if a program doesn't need more RAM with 0 paging file, then allowing it free access to the much slower hard disk isn't going to speed things up.

I don't know if there are any scientific studies on the subject. What I do know is that, as someone who never uses even 1.5GB RAM, turning on the page file is a) a waste of my HD space, b) extra wear on my HD if it's used, and c) creating the possibility of an errant memory manager using my haard disk for memory when RAM is available. Simple choice. Whenever I had 1GB RAM, I had a fixed 1GB paging file, and that never filled up either.

I think people are taking the whole "paging file should be 1.5-2x RAM size" far further than it was ever intended to go. It is a useful statistic for those with 128-1024MB of RAM, and it may become useful again in the future. But right now for people with 2GB RAM, with no retail Vista, with no Crysis etc, and (personally at least) no possibility of suddenly becoming a pro video/picture manipulator, the paging file is unnecessary.

Synergy6
May 31, 2006 11:31:39 AM

Quote:
If you claim never to go over your physical memory then why bother turning off the page file?

Plus just because a program doesn't ask for more memory than the system has available doesn't mean that it couldn't take advantage of more memory if it were available.

---

Again I challenge anyone to come up with a test that shows turning off virtual memory improves performance.

Either that or show me technical info on Windows Virtual Memory Manager that shows that MS chose to implement it in some retarded fashion.

If you compare Linux vs Windows Software RAID you see that sometimes Microsoft does implent some features in "retarded" fashion.

But given how crucial memory management is to the performance of an OS I wouldn't bet on Microsoft getting this one wrong.


I've never gone over 1.5GB. Not a claim, but a fact. On the point of it just helping to have a paging file anyway, no, it doesn't. Any logic will tell you that if a program doesn't need more RAM with 0 paging file, then allowing it free access to the much slower hard disk isn't going to speed things up.

I don't know if there are any scientific studies on the subject. What I do know is that, as someone who never uses even 1.5GB RAM, turning on the page file is a) a waste of my HD space, b) extra wear on my HD if it's used, and c) creating the possibility of an errant memory manager using my haard disk for memory when RAM is available. Simple choice. Whenever I had 1GB RAM, I had a fixed 1GB paging file, and that never filled up either.

I think people are taking the whole "paging file should be 1.5-2x RAM size" far further than it was ever intended to go. It is a useful statistic for those with 128-1024MB of RAM, and it may become useful again in the future. But right now for people with 2GB RAM, with no retail Vista, with no Crysis etc, and (personally at least) no possibility of suddenly becoming a pro video/picture manipulator, the paging file is unnecessary.

Synergy6



You still need swap except for specialized applications.

windoze will often crash and burn when it does run out of memory.
May 31, 2006 11:37:36 AM

Quote:

a)You still need swap except for specialized applications.

b)windoze will often crash and burn when it does run out of memory.




a) No, I don't. I thought "I've never gone over 1.5GB." might have tipped you off. The very fact I've been running *0* swap for the last 6 months is another clue.

b) My WindowsXP is very stable actually, but thank you for being concerned about it. It's only crashed once, and that was due to a graphics card overclock doing bad things to my PSU. Never had memory or XP -caused crashes. Perhaps this is because, as I tried to state very clearly, I never have run out of memory.

Synergy6
May 31, 2006 11:54:17 AM

Quote:
If you claim never to go over your physical memory then why bother turning off the page file?

Plus just because a program doesn't ask for more memory than the system has available doesn't mean that it couldn't take advantage of more memory if it were available.

---

Again I challenge anyone to come up with a test that shows turning off virtual memory improves performance.

Either that or show me technical info on Windows Virtual Memory Manager that shows that MS chose to implement it in some retarded fashion.

If you compare Linux vs Windows Software RAID you see that sometimes Microsoft does implent some features in "retarded" fashion.

But given how crucial memory management is to the performance of an OS I wouldn't bet on Microsoft getting this one wrong.


I've never gone over 1.5GB. Not a claim, but a fact. On the point of it just helping to have a paging file anyway, no, it doesn't. Any logic will tell you that if a program doesn't need more RAM with 0 paging file, then allowing it free access to the much slower hard disk isn't going to speed things up.

I don't know if there are any scientific studies on the subject. What I do know is that, as someone who never uses even 1.5GB RAM, turning on the page file is a) a waste of my HD space, b) extra wear on my HD if it's used, and c) creating the possibility of an errant memory manager using my haard disk for memory when RAM is available. Simple choice. Whenever I had 1GB RAM, I had a fixed 1GB paging file, and that never filled up either.

I think people are taking the whole "paging file should be 1.5-2x RAM size" far further than it was ever intended to go. It is a useful statistic for those with 128-1024MB of RAM, and it may become useful again in the future. But right now for people with 2GB RAM, with no retail Vista, with no Crysis etc, and (personally at least) no possibility of suddenly becoming a pro video/picture manipulator, the paging file is unnecessary.

Synergy6
Try running Photoshop with no pagefile. :wink:
Even a 10MB static will do.



Indeed :-D

Photoshop or any app that behaves like it will kill it.

Also imagine a buggy program leaking memory..... horrors!!!!!

Result = BSOD
May 31, 2006 12:08:11 PM

The original post. "Playing games and messing around with DVDs is about the extent to what I am doing"

I don't use Photoshop/apps like it, and it sure as hell sounds like the OP is in the same boat. Try answering the question he needs answered, rather than the question you want to answer.

Synergy6
May 31, 2006 12:16:07 PM

Quote:

Also imagine a buggy program leaking memory..... horrors!!!!!

Result = BSOD


Brings back memories of Win98/ME :o 
May 31, 2006 12:47:21 PM

Quote:

Also imagine a buggy program leaking memory..... horrors!!!!!

Result = BSOD


Brings back memories of Win98/ME :o 



Indeed.

Some games and apps consistently BSOD under XP but 95/98/ME were much much worse.
June 1, 2006 1:01:03 PM

Quote:

a)You still need swap except for specialized applications.

b)windoze will often crash and burn when it does run out of memory.




a) No, I don't. I thought "I've never gone over 1.5GB." might have tipped you off. The very fact I've been running *0* swap for the last 6 months is another clue.

b) My WindowsXP is very stable actually, but thank you for being concerned about it. It's only crashed once, and that was due to a graphics card overclock doing bad things to my PSU. Never had memory or XP -caused crashes. Perhaps this is because, as I tried to state very clearly, I never have run out of memory.

Synergy6

Another witness here, running w/o page file for about 6 months myself...
!