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Alternate thoughts on moving the pagefile to another disk

Last response: in Windows 7
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August 26, 2011 2:11:28 PM


So I've looked around a bit on the webs about moving the Windows pagefile to another physical disk. What I've discovered is that the general consensus is that it might improve system performance. However, I've got a somewhat different home setup than most scenario's I've came across. I'd appreciate some words from the community/experts on this matter.

-My OS disk is a Samsung HD753LJ 750gb, 7200rpm. Pretty fast disk, but nothing special (compared to SSD's or Raptors).
-My 2nd physical disk is a Samsung HD204UI 2TB, 5400rpm. This is a so called 'green' disk which runs on 5400rpm along with some energy management functions. So it's a bit slower than the boot disk. I'm using this disk for data storage (music, video, porn etc).

My OS is Win7 64bit, 4GB RAM and I'm mainly using my system for gaming and video/audio editing. On both disks I've got plenty of space.

1>Will my system performance improve when I move the pagefile to the slower, but non-OS, physical disk? Or will it prove the opposite effect?
2>Windows gives me an option to create two pagefiles on each disk. Any idea's if creating two pagefiles improves system performance?

Now, one might ask why don't you just try? Well, atm I'm trying and running two pagefiles. I don't see any major increase in system performance (yet). The reason I'm posting the questions here is that I'd like to understand it more and have some feedback from the experts.

Thanks
a c 209 $ Windows 7
August 26, 2011 3:50:09 PM

As modern systems get bundled with more and more memory the pagefile is becoming less and less important. If you haven't exhausted all of your memory then chances are that the pagefile isn't getting used very much and therefore it probably its location isn't going to make much difference.

If you are oversubscribed on memory, then your best bet is to add more - it's pretty cheap these days and it will give you a much, much bigger performance boost than fiddling about with pagefile locations.

If your system is paging and you can't add RAM for some reason, then you're probably better off with the pagefile on the faster disk. The only case in which that wouldn't be true is if the system disk is very active - but that's not normally the case once your programs have been loaded into memory and are running.
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a c 352 $ Windows 7
August 26, 2011 4:16:44 PM

Moving a page file to a different disk is a good optimization thing to do, but it will not make a speed incrase that is noticable to you at all. You'd need to run a benchmark to really tell any difference. You don't want to use two page files.

The idea of a page file on a different disk is that when the system needs to write to it, it won't have to move the disk heads from where they are to do so. This is really a small time though, so your seat-of-the-pants experience won't change.
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August 27, 2011 4:05:46 PM

Thanks for the response guys. I have removed the 2nd page file and have the primary pagefile on the 2nd disk. One thing I noticed when video editting, is that the program (Sony Vegas 11) keeps crashing when I had the pagefile on the 2nd disk. Dunno if that's a Vegas issue though.

I read your advice and the explanations but I'm still a bit confused where to put the pagefile since Sminlal says primary disk and Hang-the-9 says 2nd disk. I know it's not really noticable but still.
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a c 352 $ Windows 7
August 29, 2011 2:23:47 PM

00mp said:
Thanks for the response guys. I have removed the 2nd page file and have the primary pagefile on the 2nd disk. One thing I noticed when video editting, is that the program (Sony Vegas 11) keeps crashing when I had the pagefile on the 2nd disk. Dunno if that's a Vegas issue though.

I read your advice and the explanations but I'm still a bit confused where to put the pagefile since Sminlal says primary disk and Hang-the-9 says 2nd disk. I know it's not really noticable but still.


Your primary disk is faster, which is why it was recommended you keep it there. I did not actually say you should move it, just that it would be a "perfect" solution, it's more of a best practice thing, but maybe not in your case. You won't notice the difference either way. The best situation is to get a fast disk that matches your primary one, and move the page file to there. For page file, there are a few things that you can do to make it run the best that it can. The one where it states it should be 1.5 times the RAM has been around since the days of 128MB RAM being standard, you can make it the same as your RAM these days with no issues.

Here are the things I do for pagefile settings.

Pick a size (3 gig is good, maybe 4)
Set min and max sizes the same (this creates a pagefile.sys file in that size and helps to prevent the page file from getting fragmented). Note that Windows will not crash on you if it needs more space than given, it will expand the pagefile usage if needed.
Put it on a second disk if you can to keep head and platter movement on the primary disk to a minimum. Although having a slower disk for that may offset the benefit you get.

You can check the Sony software to see if it has the scratch disk set to something manually, may editing programs have quite a few options you can set up for temp files. Could be that there is an issue if you have the page file on a different disk than the temp file from the prgram. Check for any updates to the program also, could have patches for this crashing issue already out there.
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August 30, 2011 8:39:15 PM

hang-the-9 said:
The one where it states it should be 1.5 times the RAM has been around since the days of 128MB RAM being standard, you can make it the same as your RAM these days with no issues.


The old 1.5 x RAM has always been somewhat arbitrary. I belive you could choose any number for the pagefile size, it is just the amount of hard disk backed virtual memory you are willing to accept.


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