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Why is having more than 8GB of RAM detrimental to system performance?

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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
February 8, 2012 10:17:45 PM

I'm not quite sure I'm understanding this anymore - today my boss told me it's because Windows creates a page file that will essentially mirror what's stored in RAM and it will create a 1GB page file for each GB of RAM. He showed me how to turn this file off, and that's cleared up some issues, but can someone explain this to me a little better?
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 3:11:37 AM

Not sure what your boss is talking about, but I have never heard of more ram being worse.

I mean if you are talking about using 8 Gig sticks that most boards can't even read, that is something different. If you just have 4 x 4 GBs there is nothing wrong with that, assuming you have a 64 bit OS and all.

If you have poor ram that has problems or something, I guess more RAM might be worse then too. Corsair has higher failure rates than some other brands.

Regardless, the page file is something that Windows has been designed to use since the days that dinosaurs roamed the earth.

It is helpful for Windows to be able to offload things from RAM onto the hard drive when the data isn't being used, even if you aren't maxxing your RAM.

RAM contents have to be continually refreshed in order for the RAM not to lose the value stored in it, so the system has to work harder if everything must stay in it than it has to if it can offload stuff that doesn't need refreshing anyway to the HD which doesn't have this problem.

In general, I would suggest you leave the page file on. Not sure why the boss would disagree, but I would like to hear his reasoning.

That being said, page files get fragmented just like everything else. Hard drives need to be defragged and page files are no different.

There are programs out there that defragment page files before they are loaded during the boot process and that can help sometimes if you do it every few months as part of routine maintenance.

Either that or you can turn the page file off. Restart. Defrag the drive. Then turn it back on. That should be able to accomplish the same effect without having to get another program.

Also, if it is such a big deal not to have a page file that is huge, say 32 GBs if you have 8 slots of 4 GBs filled to the max, you can always specify a maximum page file size right there in the same menu where you turn it on or off at. If you want to have 32 GBs of RAM and an 8 GB page file that is quite doable.

Anyway, if you explain more about the problems you are experiencing, I might be able to clarify things a little bit more.
a c 93 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 3:39:11 PM

Quote:

In general, I would suggest you leave the page file on. Not sure why the boss would disagree, but I would like to hear his reasoning.


That's partly because I'm using an SSD (64GB Crucial M4) as my primary boot / Windows and the page file was taking up a good 30% of my drive. Windows was reporting the drive as being mostly full when in fact I was only using 35 of the 64GB available. Turning off the file cleared up about 16GB or 1/4 of the drive's capacity.

Quote:
I mean if you are talking about using 8 Gig sticks that most boards can't even read, that is something different. If you just have 4 x 4 GBs there is nothing wrong with that, assuming you have a 64 bit OS and all.


My board has a maximum capacity of 32GB (Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P) and it can support 8GB sticks of RAM. I haven't tried it yet but something tells me I don't really need it.

Quote:
If you have poor ram that has problems or something, I guess more RAM might be worse then too. Corsair has higher failure rates than some other brands.


I've never really experienced problems with Corsair RAM. I use G.Skill and Crucial quite a bit, but I'm certainly open to trying Kingston, PNY, Mushkin, ADATA, or something else.

Quote:
There are programs out there that defragment page files before they are loaded during the boot process and that can help sometimes if you do it every few months as part of routine maintenance.


I'm running Windows off an SSD and I've heard that you're not supposed to format or defrag one, that's true, right?
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 6:26:38 PM

I have never heard that a SSD should not be formatted or defragged. It sounds a bit ridiculous for a storage device to fail during common maintenance tasks, but I guess it is possible that it is like that and I just haven't heard about it.

I would think that Windows would have to format the thing during the install process anyway just to be able to install Windows on it, but that is just speculation.

Per my signature, I clearly don't have one myself.

I am only using Crucial RAM myself and there isn't any more RAM coming in my house that isn't Crucial or last resort Kingston, but if I can reduce my own risk by 2% I would do it, that is just my thing.

8GB sticks, I have assisted one person on here that had 8GB sticks, nothing worked to get it going. As soon as they returned the 8GB sticks for a refund and got 4GB sticks instead then the computer worked right away without any fuss.

64GB SSD, I suppose if you are putting 16GB worth of page file on it I can see how it might eat up most of the free space on the drive and make it get full disk errors.

You would probably be fine just putting the page file on your data drive instead. 16GB should be much less important over there.

It would perform worse, but page file performance isn't excessively slow to begin with for people that have no SSDs. It would probably take 1 or 2 more seconds to start some programs after the data was moved to the page file on the 7200 RPM drive, but the effect probably wouldn't be that noticeable.

Either that or you could limit the page file to 4 or 8 GBs which is still quite a bit of room and that would free up some of the difference and you would keep the same performance level for the most part.
February 9, 2012 6:52:56 PM

After 98 no one has demonstrated any advantage to disabling the "page file". Sure all kinds of anecdotal crap on the Internet. OK yea sure you have 8GB's RAM and a 12GB HDD sure disable as you lack the HDD space. But if someone did have that config I would want to address more serious emotional and intelligence issues than page file.
The pagefile was designed to optimize the use of RAM, however much you might have. It does this by offloading rarely used data to the pagefile, thus leaving more RAM available for more important uses.
a c 93 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 7:09:14 PM

Quote:
I have never heard that a SSD should not be formatted or defragged. It sounds a bit ridiculous for a storage device to fail during common maintenance tasks, but I guess it is possible that it is like that and I just haven't heard about it.

I would think that Windows would have to format the thing during the install process anyway just to be able to install Windows on it, but that is just speculation.

Per my signature, I clearly don't have one myself.


I've heard that from a few places besides Tom's about not formatting SSDs. I've only ever done quick formats just to be on the cautious side. I've never defragged an SSD for that reason as well but I have defragged plenty of mechanical HDs going all the way back to Win 95.

Quote:

I am only using Crucial RAM myself and there isn't any more RAM coming in my house that isn't Crucial or last resort Kingston, but if I can reduce my own risk by 2% I would do it, that is just my thing.


I use Crucial a lot, however right now both my systems run Corsair XMS and I have yet to encounter a problem with any of the RAM I've used so far (knock on wood :lol:  ).

Quote:


64GB SSD, I suppose if you are putting 16GB worth of page file on it I can see how it might eat up most of the free space on the drive and make it get full disk errors.


There were times that I was getting full disk errors but I moved a bunch of applications I use including MS Office, my Outlook .PST file, and some other programs that use large amounts of data like that to the secondary HD I use and it's been pretty problem free in that area.

Quote:
You would probably be fine just putting the page file on your data drive instead. 16GB should be much less important over there.


How do I do that? My secondary HD is a 1TB Spinpoint so I definitely won't notice 16GB taking up any room on the secondary.
February 9, 2012 7:26:22 PM

g-unit1111 said:


Quote:
You would probably be fine just putting the page file on your data drive instead. 16GB should be much less important over there.


How do I do that? My secondary HD is a 1TB Spinpoint so I definitely won't notice 16GB taking up any room on the secondary.

windows help can be your friend also
f1, search "virtual memory"
use the search because it has shortcuts to where you want to be.
Quote:

Change the size of virtual memory

If you receive warnings that your virtual memory is low, you'll need to increase the minimum size of your paging file. Windows sets the initial minimum size of the paging file equal to the amount of random access memory (RAM) installed on your computer plus 300 megabytes (MB), and the maximum size equal to three times the amount of RAM installed on your computer. If you see warnings at these recommended levels, then increase the minimum and maximum sizes.

Click to open System.

In the left pane, click Advanced system settings. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

On the Advanced tab, under Performance, click Settings.

Click the Advanced tab, and then, under Virtual memory, click Change.

Clear the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives check box.

Under Drive [Volume Label], click the drive that contains the paging file you want to change.

Click Custom size, type a new size in megabytes in the Initial size (MB) or Maximum size (MB) box, click Set, and then click OK.

Note
Increases in size usually don't require a restart for the changes to take effect, but if you decrease the size, you'll need to restart your computer. We recommend that you don't disable or delete the paging file.
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 7:28:30 PM

Can't you just go back to where your boss told you to change to no page file and instead of "no page file" click a different drive letter other than C out of the available options?
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 7:28:48 PM

I dont think windows does mirror RAM into a page file . That would add a lot of latency at the very best .

But if you use 16 gig of RAM there are slight inherent latencies . Windows wants to find data in RAM .......it has more places to look and that takes time .
Once you are saturating 8 gig then then more pays off , but the only apps that do that are 64 bit , and they are very few .
Even 8 gig is overkill for almost all users .
Only gamers with multi-card set ups that have more than about 3 gig of combined vRAM should use that much . Anyone using a single graphics card in a gaming build needs 4 gig
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 7:32:59 PM

IIRC, multiple video cards don't reserve multiple of the video card RAM out of the main RAM addresses.

If you have 4x SLI with 2GB cards, I think they all use the same 2GB of VRAM, not 8, and they only reserve 2GB of the regular RAM instead of 8.

I could be wrong.

I personally think that 8GB is fine for pretty much anybody, but that's not really what we are talking about here. We are talking about making a computer work with 16GBs installed.
a c 93 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 7:42:08 PM

Raiddinn said:
Can't you just go back to where your boss told you to change to no page file and instead of "no page file" click a different drive letter other than C out of the available options?


OK so I went and changed the page file to run off my secondary - it's a 1TB drive so I probably won't notice any space really gone if the 16GB are taken up on the second HD.

Quote:
IIRC, multiple video cards don't reserve multiple of the video card RAM out of the main RAM addresses.

If you have 4x SLI with 2GB cards, I think they all use the same 2GB of VRAM, not 8, and they only reserve 2GB of the regular RAM instead of 8.

I could be wrong.


On an SLI setup only the NVIDIA control panel recognizes all 4GB of VRAM - Windows will only recognize up to 2GB and the other 2GB are considered virtual or shared memory..
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2012 8:49:14 PM

According to my knowledge, the way it works is that the video card blocks off an amount of the regular RAM equal to the amount it uses and that amount of regular RAM becomes completely wasted.

If you have 8 GBs of RAM and a 2GB video card, you effectively have 6GBs of regular RAM. All of the addresses that would have pointed to the 7th and 8th GB of regular RAM instead now point to the 1st and 2nd GB of graphics card RAM.

When the processor wants to know what is in the 7th and 8th GB of RAM, it asks the graphics card instead of asking the regular RAM chips in this scenario.

I am 80 - 90% sure that even if you put in 4x 2GB video cards that only the 7th and 8th GB of the original 8 will be reserved and only the 1st and 2nd GB on Card #1 are going to be used.

The other 2GB of regular RAM and the 3x 2GB from Cards 2, 3, and 4 are then completely wasted.

This allows the processor to always know what is going on at any point in time and keeps the processor from having to wonder which video card's RAM it should poll when it needs to process something based on the contents of the video card RAM.

If the other video cards need to know what is in the video card RAM, they just ask Card 1.

It is said that people who are doing multiple video card setups who intend to use multiple monitors at high resolutions should get cards with the highest amount of Video RAM possible per card.

I am pretty sure it is not because to render on 3 monitors with 2 cards requires 6GBs of video card RAM and you need 2x 3GB cards to handle it, but more because it takes more than 1GB of RAM to render high resolutions on 2+ monitors and the 1 total GB you get from 2x 1GB cards is just not going to cut it.

I have been around for quite some time and haven't read anything different that I can remember. If you have any links to an analysis that describes things differently, I would love to read it.
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