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HDD thrashing in games, need some help

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May 24, 2007 7:32:32 PM

MSI K8N Neo4 board
AMD Athlon 64 4000+
2gb Kingston Hyper-X ddr
XFX 7900 gs
WD800JD Western Digital SATA II 7200 rpm drive
Mushkin 550w psu (dual 20a)
Windows XP sp2

If any other info is needed let me know. I'm really at wit's end with this issue though. I get stuttering in games due to HDD thrashing, old and new ones. Mainly games that load areas on the fly, like Sacred, Gothic 3, Brothers in arms, or the new Two Worlds game. I've tried just about everything I could find on the internet and nothing seems to make any difference.

Just recently added that second gb of ram, and it has made absolutely no difference as the games don't seem to even touch it even when I disable the swap file. It's like these games go directly to my HDD for loading, and that is when the light flickers a lot and the game stutters for 1-2 seconds. This only happens when the areas are loading, not like constant stuttering or lag mind you.

Just for a checklist of stuff I've tried so it won't be suggested; I've defragged, tried numerous drivers for sound, nforce and video, switched sata ports, switched sata cables, under and overclocked, set page file to various suggested settings, tried a few registry tweaks, xpcachefilter, reformatted pc, grabbed latest direct x, ran error checking tool, everything I could think of.

Is there anything else anybody can suggest trying? Maybe a HDD test so you can check the results? Thanks in advance for any help.

More about : hdd thrashing games

May 24, 2007 10:19:52 PM

Quote:
MSI K8N Neo4 board
AMD Athlon 64 4000+
2gb Kingston Hyper-X ddr
XFX 7900 gs
WD800JD Western Digital SATA II 7200 rpm drive
Mushkin 550w psu (dual 20a)
Windows XP sp2

If any other info is needed let me know. I'm really at wit's end with this issue though. I get stuttering in games due to HDD thrashing, old and new ones. Mainly games that load areas on the fly, like Sacred, Gothic 3, Brothers in arms, or the new Two Worlds game. I've tried just about everything I could find on the internet and nothing seems to make any difference.

Just recently added that second gb of ram, and it has made absolutely no difference as the games don't seem to even touch it even when I disable the swap file. It's like these games go directly to my HDD for loading, and that is when the light flickers a lot and the game stutters for 1-2 seconds. This only happens when the areas are loading, not like constant stuttering or lag mind you.

Just for a checklist of stuff I've tried so it won't be suggested; I've defragged, tried numerous drivers for sound, nforce and video, switched sata ports, switched sata cables, under and overclocked, set page file to various suggested settings, tried a few registry tweaks, xpcachefilter, reformatted pc, grabbed latest direct x, ran error checking tool, everything I could think of.

Is there anything else anybody can suggest trying? Maybe a HDD test so you can check the results? Thanks in advance for any help.
Did you check to see if DMA is enabled(in device manager)?
May 24, 2007 10:46:17 PM

Have you checked to make sure that your anti-virus isn't doing a scheduled scan?
Related resources
May 24, 2007 11:59:12 PM

Yep DMA enabled, as it usually is by default. And I don't use a virus scanner or none of that, have most of the windows services disabled that aren't needed too (indexing, auto update, etc.). So background services aren't the issue, I always make sure nothing is running that would make my pc chug.

Any other suggestions? As in more advanced stuff. This might be not something fixable but I'm still gonna ask around.

EDIT: Actually with the nforce drivers, there is no DMA option for the SATA drives. Only for IDE, which would be my DVD and CD burners. But even when nforce drivers aren't installed, DMA is always enabled by default for me I believe.
a c 167 G Storage
May 25, 2007 12:34:37 AM

What task is doing the i/o? Turn on the performance monitor to find out. Is it reads, or writes? Is the disk cache enabled? Run hdtach to see if the device is operating at speeds that are typical. By reformatting the pc, I assume that you mean you reloaded windows. Could this be normal operations for those games? Question all of your assumptions.
---good luck---
May 25, 2007 12:54:31 AM

What do you mean doing the i/o? Not sure what you're talking about there. I have the option of enabling/disabling read and write caching though. I tried disabling read caching but it didn't even make a difference.

Ran hd tach earlier, all normal results for this drive. And it isn't necessarily normal for all these games to stutter like this. Most people have said the extra gb of ram for Gothic 3 would smooth it out for example, but it plays the exact same as if I had 1gb still. I also don't think it's normal for an older game like Sacred to always stutter upon new areas being loaded, isn't like the game has hi-res textures.

I can run some games perfectly, it's the games that use on the fly loading that do it. They should however be accessing the ram, but instead I see my HDD light flickering and my game stutters from that.
May 25, 2007 1:00:23 AM

What games do you play? does it happen to all games?

Try turning off virtual memory to see if the thrashing is caused by swapping or by another app.
a c 167 G Storage
May 25, 2007 1:10:04 AM

You are assuming that your game is doing some sort of HDD activity. Verify that this is so by looking at the performance monitor. It will tell you what task is issuing the i/o, and what the service time is, ...etc. You may find that something else is happening. For example, you may be having a disk error recovery problem and the i/o is to a log file. Who knows what you will find.
May 25, 2007 1:39:34 AM

I already addressed what you replied with EchDskEch beforehand, in my opening post. I tried no swap file and same results, and it only happens with games that use on the fly loading like most 3D rpg's.

I still have no idea what you're talking about regarding i/o (input/output?) and what not geofelt. I opened task manager after the game loaded up, and after some stuttering I checked it. What info are you looking for exactly?

Under the performance tab, it says nothing about what task is doing what or a system time. There are no different services running. Can you be more specific? Are you sure you're talking about something on Windows xp?
May 25, 2007 1:40:36 AM

Defrag your hard disk.
May 25, 2007 1:56:59 AM

Guess I should repost this in bold since people seemed to have overlooked it somehow.

Just for a checklist of stuff I've tried so it won't be suggested; I've defragged, tried numerous drivers for sound, nforce and video, switched sata ports, switched sata cables, under and overclocked, set page file to various suggested settings, tried a few registry tweaks, xpcachefilter, reformatted pc, grabbed latest direct x, ran error checking tool, everything I could think of.
May 25, 2007 2:13:49 AM

If you could post a list of the games you're having issues with, maybe others playing those specific game/s are having issues too. it could be title specific rather than a hardware/OS problem.
May 25, 2007 2:20:06 AM

I'm positive it isn't title specific, as it happens with numerous games not just a select few. It's almost like the games are accessing the page file, even when they don't need to. And even when I disable the page file, in task manager it still shows it being used during gaming.

But for some games I have this problem with..

Oblivion, Gothic 3, Sacred, Brothers in Arms, Two Worlds, Civilization 4, Neverwinter Nights 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Titan Quest, etc.
May 25, 2007 2:22:17 AM

Quote:
MSI K8N Neo4 board
AMD Athlon 64 4000+
2gb Kingston Hyper-X ddr
XFX 7900 gs
WD800JD Western Digital SATA II 7200 rpm drive
Mushkin 550w psu (dual 20a)
Windows XP sp2

If any other info is needed let me know. I'm really at wit's end with this issue though. I get stuttering in games due to HDD thrashing, old and new ones. Mainly games that load areas on the fly, like Sacred, Gothic 3, Brothers in arms, or the new Two Worlds game. I've tried just about everything I could find on the internet and nothing seems to make any difference.

Just recently added that second gb of ram, and it has made absolutely no difference as the games don't seem to even touch it even when I disable the swap file. It's like these games go directly to my HDD for loading, and that is when the light flickers a lot and the game stutters for 1-2 seconds. This only happens when the areas are loading, not like constant stuttering or lag mind you.

Just for a checklist of stuff I've tried so it won't be suggested; I've defragged, tried numerous drivers for sound, nforce and video, switched sata ports, switched sata cables, under and overclocked, set page file to various suggested settings, tried a few registry tweaks, xpcachefilter, reformatted pc, grabbed latest direct x, ran error checking tool, everything I could think of.

Is there anything else anybody can suggest trying? Maybe a HDD test so you can check the results? Thanks in advance for any help.

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Hi Phatasamal; Y'know I had the same problem once upon a time ,,and my
cure was/is to create a seperate partition for my swap file which is set to 700/1.5g [i have 1g ram] the primary function of my system is gaming,also i found out that my mobo an Asus A8N-SLI Se and it's non sli twin do not like little hdd's which is basically anything under 160g,currently i an running 1x320g for the net,and 1x250g for gaming,[all my hdd's are WD's]so much for my crap..
Have you tried the WD utility DLDIAG,is it possible??that your hdd's not up to scratch,maybe?? the onboard cache 8m,is snafu'd??..
The other thing that might help is to ghost your primary?? partition,store the ghost on another partition,format and restore the ghost the partition..[or equivilent]
On the other hand you might just have a less than righteous hdd,in which case,you would need to RMA the beast.Mind you.I get 1-2 seconds stutter in Dark Messiah now and again,but I put it down to unoptimised code,or illegal short cuts used by the lazy progammers ????
One more thing and I will get out of your face ,for what it's worth NTFS partitions are not more efficient/faster than 32 bit,because of the overhead,all of my gaming drives partitions are 32bit fats..Good luck..
May 25, 2007 2:32:59 AM

Lower the texture quality in your games and see if that makes a difference. Also have a look at the access of HD during gaming or whenever you seem to have this problem. Use either windows ctrl+alt+del or another application to monitor this. Also did you do a virus check? Could also be your HD failing.
May 25, 2007 3:13:10 AM

That's about the only thing I haven't tried yet dokk, is creating another partition. Guess I should give it a go then and see if I have any luck. I did try WD diagnostic tool and everything passed. According to the few HDD tests I've tried, my drive appears to be working fine but those tests don't recreate gaming experiences so their accuracy is nullified by my issue.

I've tried tons of game settings darkguest. And nothing makes a difference really. I even played some games on all low settings and the stuttering still takes place whenever new scenery appears. You'd think these games would go to the ram or even my 256mb of video memory for stuff like this, but my HDD is always being accessed for some odd reason.

Oh and nope, no viruses. This problems happens after a fresh format even so it isn't that. It'd seem like my HDD is working perfect, as I don't have any other problems besides this.
a c 167 G Storage
May 25, 2007 3:49:19 AM

As I remember for XP, go to administrative tools, under computer management, then system tools or monitoring tools you should be able to find performance monitor. This is not the same as task manager, it can be more detailed, and therefore, more helpful. There, you should be able to collect whatever performance data you want. It can be logged to a file if a snapshot is not enough. I'm sorry, I have been on vista long enough to get fuzzy memory about xp details.
May 25, 2007 4:20:01 AM

Alright I tried another partition and placed swap file on it, unfortunately made no difference. I don't think partitioning will help me out, because it's still accessing the same HDD and that seems to be where the problem lies. It shouldn't be using my HDD so much, I mean, isn't that what ram is for?

Checked that out geofelt, just shows the normal stuff that task manager shows for me. Doesn't appear to be anything else making it act differently, just the game itself using 100% cpu which I believe is normal.

Almost at the point where I think I'll need a new identical drive to set up raid, but on another forum they said that more ram would've helped and raid wouldn't. Dunno what to try now, any other suggestions? Any tweaks or something?
a c 167 G Storage
May 25, 2007 5:15:32 AM

If your cpu is 100%, then the hdd is not the limiting factor. There is something else going on. Can you verify that you have all of the memory that you think you have. Run memtest, and make certain that it has 2gb.
May 25, 2007 8:06:08 AM

Ran a memory test, and received 0 errors. So my ram appears to be functioning correctly and it's all there, I even have them set up in dual ram mode and cpu-z confirmed this.

Thanks for all the help so far, wish this was something easier to fix or diagnose. This is why I'm stumped, doesn't seem to be anything left to test or change. Maybe different ram slots or a tweak to disable the page file, I don't know.
May 25, 2007 8:26:01 AM

try loading your memory with your swap turned off just to confirm that its not a ram overloading problem.. create a huge image in photoshop or gimp if you dont have photoshop. windows should complain about having low or insufficient memory before the drive start thrashing.

also, you can try running the games disconnected from the network just to eliminate the possibility that something in your network might cause it.

if you have a spare disk around, you can try installing a fresh OS there just to eliminate the drive itself as the problem.

another (longshot) tweak you can try is turning S.M.A.R.T in the bios. there are only a couple of things i know off the top of my head that caused windows to burn my hd:

- file indexing
- av scanning
- swapping
- large file transfers
- game loading

the posts above seem to have tackled most of these tho.

good luck!
May 25, 2007 9:33:25 AM

Tried to create the largest possible sized image in photoshop, it worked on it for like 10 seconds then an error came up not enough memory and whatever.

The weird thing about my swap file is though, even when I disable it or set it to a low number, when I run a game and check task manager the game is still using a page file all the way up to 800mb or more. Shouldn't it not be used at all for games?
a c 167 G Storage
May 25, 2007 3:31:17 PM

Many games have an option to save the status of the game automatically, either explicitly, or by default. I know that CIV-4 does. At the end of every turn, it will write out 150k to 800k worth of data. This will blast the disk for a few moments. as far as I know, civ-4 does not load anything after it gets started, it just uses more memory. Two gb should be fine.
On some occasions, I notice that my cursor gets very sluggish for a few moments and may not move at the end of the turn. I turned on the performance monitor, and found a windows process being very active. I think it was windows onecare(security program) checking the newly created checkpoint file.
See what happens with the games' auto checkpoint turned off.
What do you mean by on the fly loading? That seems to be a common thread.
May 25, 2007 6:32:55 PM

Most games give you the option to turn off auto save, which you are referring to. I never have it on so of course it isn't that. And you must be thinking of Vista or something again, Win xp has no auto checkpoint or even checkpoint process that turns on that I've ever heard of.

What I mean when I keep saying "on the fly loading", is from games like Gothic 3, Two Worlds, Boiling Point, Oblivion, Sacred, etc. Where the game will only load up your surrounding area initially, then as you move about in the world new cells will load up with new scenery causing the stutter problems I have. With 2 gb of ram, it SHOULD smooth out the stutter lag I get from most games with this type of loading as the ram should be at work for this process, not the HDD or page file.

I understand that Gothic 3 and Oblivion will always suffer from it as they are poorly optimized, but I get it from EVERY game that uses this feature no matter what. Even old Sacred does it to me, which is like a Diablo 2 clone if you're wondering what it is. People don't normally suffer from this problem on all these games. So something must not be functioning correctly or set up right.
May 26, 2007 8:27:35 AM

Hey I have a question since this issue seems about impossible to fix, at least over the internet.

Would it maybe help if I created a seperate partition on the drive, set it to Fat32 and installed my games on it? Dokk and others around the net mentioned Fat32 is faster for gaming, but would it help just to make a smaller partition for only installing games to?
May 26, 2007 12:03:37 PM

Quote:
Hey I have a question since this issue seems about impossible to fix, at least over the internet.

Would it maybe help if I created a seperate partition on the drive, set it to Fat32 and installed my games on it? Dokk and others around the net mentioned Fat32 is faster for gaming, but would it help just to make a smaller partition for only installing games to?
I doubt the minimal speed difference between NTFS and FAT32 would eliminate the hard drive thrashing. I would say it's something other-than an HDD(or file-system) problem. It's either a simple, yet unthought of setting :wink: that's wrong, or some other(than HDD or RAM) hardware issue/failing. GL :) 
May 26, 2007 7:23:24 PM

Darn, alright thanks. I guess I really am stumped then, have tried every possible thing and nothing makes a difference it seems. Even the basic settings and all that.

The guy who runs Tweakguides site said this stuttering problem that some people get is simply not fixable, it just happens to certain hardware setups. Guess I'll just have to wait to get a faster cpu and a raptor someday. Bummer.
May 27, 2007 10:49:09 PM

Same thing happends to me. Stuttering on many many games. Tried everything i'v been told but nothing works. I upgraded everything to stop this but nothing works. The only thing left stock in my PC is the HDD!

My PC:

Pentium 4 3.4 Ghz HT
2GB RAM
XFX 7600GT
Windows XP
Maxtor 60GB HDD
May 28, 2007 12:59:00 AM

Will you check something for me justinone?

Go into your device manager, click on view and check "Resources by connection". Double click interrupt request (IRQ) and find the channel that says "PCI system management". Double click it then click the resources tab. Under conflicts would you happen to have this?

Input/Output Range 4C00 - 4C3F not available.
Input/Output Range 4C40 - 4C7F not available.

Because after some more research, I read about some people having this with certain mobos. Could be a nforce problem or something, not sure. I can't seem to find a fix either, not even on Nvidia's own forums (they seem useless).

I'm guessing this might be the culprit, or part of the problem. Wonder if there's any solution.
May 28, 2007 12:25:53 PM

Quote:
i do not see the bit you mean when you say "PCI System managment" there is not an option for it.

I don't have a Nforce Mobo either. My Mobo is an asrock p4vm800

http://computers.pricegrabber.com/hard-drives/m/511514/...

Thats my HDD at the moment. Is it poor for gaming?
Yeah, with today's cheap HDD prices, there's no reason not to have a decent 7200rpm drive with 8/16MB cache. :?
May 28, 2007 12:29:08 PM

Yeh it doesn't surprise me. It came with an intel celeron 1.8 Ghz 256mb ram and onboard graphics! so my best bet would be to buy a whole new HDD right? you think you could link me with a decent one for general gaming use?
May 28, 2007 1:12:03 PM

The only time that I ever experienced that kind of stutterring was with GTA San Andreas. And I definetely knew back then that the drive I installed it in was pretty much slowly dying. SMART test reported OK. Seagate Disc Utility did tell me that I did have a few bad sectors. The only solution was getting another hdisk. Forget about WinXP's chkdsk utility as it could only tell bad sectors if you did actually only put data on the bad sector! Maybe you could try getting a different hdisk.

Though one other thing to consider maybe is if your vid card is overheating. Though this is just a thought.
May 28, 2007 7:54:41 PM

theres no way its overheating. it runs at 40 degrees
May 28, 2007 7:59:38 PM

So you don't even have a PCI system management channel? Guess it's just an nForce thing then. I think you and I have two different problems then, as I have a SATA drive that appears to be working perfectly.

Does anyone else here know anything about IRQ conflicts or how to fix them?
May 28, 2007 8:38:46 PM

I am buying a completly new HDD so does anybody know any good ones that will run well with todays games?
May 28, 2007 9:25:34 PM

Get a WD Raptor if you want the best performance, or a Seagate 7200.10 if you want better value but still good performance.
May 28, 2007 9:33:02 PM

Quote:
Get a WD Raptor if you want the best performance, or a Seagate 7200.10 if you want better value but still good performance.
Yeah, the 320GB Seagate is one of the best performance/$ HDD's. WD makes some great drives as well. GL :) 

Seagate 320GB@Newegg
May 28, 2007 10:19:37 PM

Quote:
Oblivion, Gothic 3, Sacred, Brothers in Arms, Two Worlds, Civilization 4, Neverwinter Nights 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Titan Quest, etc.


Titan Quest: Immortal Throne has rubber banding issues with about 90% of the systems on the market.

I'd suggest that you try setting the page file on C: to 5 - 20MB (yes, megabytes) and set up a larger 2GB- 4GB page file on a different physical disk. That should solve the rubber-banding and stuttering in Titan Quest for the most part.

I had some stuttering issues with S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and I solved those by setting some of the display settings down one notch.
May 28, 2007 10:55:30 PM

I was talking about the regular Titan quest, I already knew of and experienced the even worse stuttering problems of Immortal Throne. Anyway, you're talking fixes for a few games, my issue is with all those games listed and some.

I've already tried a low pagefile, I even tried without one but windows still preserves one anyway and it gets used regardless.

If I had the money for another drive, I wouldn't even be here asking for help. I'd just grab a Raptor or something.

I still think there's a problem with that IRQ conflict I have though. It definitely isn't normal.
May 28, 2007 11:39:16 PM

Quote:
I still think there's a problem with that IRQ conflict I have though. It definitely isn't normal.


I wouldn't say it isn't normal. That's what IRQ Steering is for. It allows several devices to share IRQ's. If there isn't a yellow exclamation point icon beside anything in your device manager, then you don't have a conflict.

I've had a system or three in my lifetime that had 3 or 4 things share the same IRQ without problems or conflicts. Some things coexist nicely, some don't.

Titan Quest can also suffer from the same rubber-banding, but it's far less frequent than with TQ:IT.

It probably isn't a single problem causing your issues. It's probably a combination of things. But hey, excuse me for suggesting some known-to-work solutions for some known problems that sound much like the symptoms you reported.

I am curious to know though if "Plug & Play O/S" is turned on in the BIOS.
May 28, 2007 11:55:47 PM

Quote:
The weird thing about my swap file is though, even when I disable it or set it to a low number, when I run a game and check task manager the game is still using a page file all the way up to 800mb or more. Shouldn't it not be used at all for games?


Windows will always insist on a swap file on the boot partition. Further to that, if you set the initial size and the max size to the same number, Windows will ignore that and resize to whatever it feels like.

You can, however, choose (as I said earlier) an initial size of 5 MB and a max size of 20MB. As long as you have a large swap file on another disk, windows will not fsck with the one on the boot partition.

I've had games that rubber-band and stutter that this method has fixed. What's happening is that Windows is reading from the game folder and swapping stuff (writing) to disk at the same time. Whereas reading from disk C: and swapping to disk D: (as long as they are phisically different drives) will alleviate the read/write bottleneck.

However, if you don't have 2 physical disks to try this with, you're hooped.
May 29, 2007 12:16:16 AM

Yeah I tried that low page file setting and was testing Two Worlds for a while. The game eventually crashed and windows showed I had my virtual memory too low. But if I did have a second drive, I'd love to try out raid and see if that would help.

Also, just because there isn't an exclamation point next to it in device manager, doesn't mean there isn't any conflicts. Here is a screenshot for what it is I'm talking about:

Screenshot of IRQ conflict

Sorry, forum isn't letting me use IMG tags, getting a timeout error for some reason.

EDIT: Forgot to answer one part; I don't have a PNP OS option in my bios.
May 29, 2007 12:39:45 AM

What board is it?
May 29, 2007 12:44:22 AM

MSI K8N Neo4
May 29, 2007 1:08:15 AM

I'm sure you've already looked at this, but just in case I'll spew forth...

In your BIOS, under PnP/PCI Configurations, make sure "Resources controlled by" is set to Auto/ESCD

Under Advanced BIOS Features, make sure IOAPIC Function is enabled.

Those two options will ensure that the OS gets to choose IRQ's and resources.
May 29, 2007 1:31:10 AM

Yeah I checked into that earlier actually. Nice thing with MSI is they usually have the bios set up pretty good by default. So those features were already enabled.

I even tried to disable the IRQ channel PCI system management was on, but it just ended up being assigned to another channel and still having the same conflicts show up in device manager.

Been looking for help even on the nForce forums and it seems even they're stumped.
May 29, 2007 1:38:08 AM

whats your total mem consumption when you load XP? have you checked which process is doing all the I/O as suggested? benchmark your harddrive using hdtach, run disk on your harddrive to make sure its not getting errors, is there any continuous errors in XP's event manager? what happens when you lower the in game gfx to crap quality?
May 29, 2007 2:08:12 AM

I understand that your disk is doing some i/o, but some things not specified in the OP or insuing thread are:

What is stuttering? I don't have a clear idea of how long the pauses are, and what i/o are being delayed. Sometimes audio buffers will be depleted, and sound will suffer, or, your entire program is waiting for something to happen (such as loading something from disk).

When does this happen? Large area games that have to load zones from time to time were mentioned. I don't have any of those titles, but past experience with similar designs usually involved an understanable delay (1-5 seconds on a good machine of the day) while the new data was loaded. Having a lot of memory won't do much, if anything for this. Maybe if you load a new area, and go back to the old area, the disk cache (in RAM) will prevent most fetches from disk. The OS controls when the disk cache becomes stale, so disk I/O may still happen no matter what. You can check the disk cache by reading "System Cache" in the memory performance display on the task manager. I haven't used Windows XP with the banner, so I can't recall if you have to turn it off to see performance data. Memory free can be small, but if system cache is a large value, then you just have a lot of stuff that can be read without disk access (unless stale). When free memory and system cache are small values, something is probably leaking memory, unless you have 700 or so processes running :) 

What advice I can offer is that if you're having issues with device buffers running out of data, change the burst of your PCI devices. Audio device latency timer settings seem to be best for me at 64-96d. Your results may vary, and could require experimentation. Note on PCI-e: i/o bandwidth is much greater than that of PCI, so the latency timer should be set okay by default. I haven't yet read the documentation on PCI-e, so the ramifications of latency timers are not known to me, though I'd expect smaller values (64d) to be sufficient for nearly everything (if they do anything at all). There are some Windows tools that you can search for to automatically configure PCI device latency timers. Higher values make the device less "willing" to give up the bus, allowing it to burst more at a time.

As far as the swap/pagefile goes, that thing is mostly useless, especially if you have large secondary (RAM) memory. Smaller pagefiles can prevent runaway programs from stalling the system for a long time while it eats all free memory before being aborted by the OS. Putting the pagefile on another spindle shouldn't help performance with today's fast disks and large RAM.
!