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Do I need a separate Partition for Page File?

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November 3, 2003 9:04:41 AM

I am getting a new 80 GB hard disk with my new system. I would like to have a 10 GB partition for Win XP ( Pro ) and all my programs and three partition of 10 GB each for data and leave the last partition of 40 GB for storing the Images of previous partitions using may be Drive Image software or use it to make an extra 10 GB partition in case if I need one in the future.

(1) I need to know if this makes sense and if it is a good decision and if too many partitions would slowdown the system?

(2) In some posts I have read people making an extra partition for a page file. I don’t quite understand the purpose behind it when Windows already manages the virtual memory. If I have to then how big and where should I put it and what should I put it in there and do I need a separate page file partition for each regular partition?

I am going to get 512 MB dual channel DDR SD RAM ( 400 MHz ) with my P4 2.6 GHz with hyper threading and 800 MHz FSB.

(3) Since I am not a computer pro and I am not able to buy separate components where I live, I have decided to go with DELL. (Of course not a smart choice but I have no other choice either.) They are also going to charge me twice as much for an extra 256 MB RAM and won’t tell me which brand they use. ( They said may be Infinion or Samsung, are they any good?

Same goes for Hard disks. I have really had bad luck with 4 Seagate hard disks which usually develop bad clusters after only few months and they won’t give a replacement, just repair it and I usually throw them away because it is not worth the risk & headache.

(4) The only other available brand is Samsung where I live. So I have decided to give that a try hoping it would be compatible with whatever I get with DELL?

(5) Also would I be able to install the OEM version of Win XP ( Pro ) or Home on a second 80 BG hard disk which I am going to use as a back up disk and if yes then does that second hard disk have to be the same brand and size for installing the Win XP.

(6) Should I put up extra bucks for XP (Pro) if I am going to network only home PCs?

Lots of questions and need lots of help and I would be very grateful for it.

I know you guys are the best when it comes to any kind of PC advice.

Thank you in advance.

Greg

More about : separate partition page file

November 3, 2003 10:20:45 AM

Lots of questions and most of them are subject to discussion. Anyway, here are some of my opinions

(1) Is ok. Well, actually I'd say Way to many partitions. I agree with one system partition and a data partition. Makes management easier, makes your data better organized and decreases the chance that you (or someone else less knowledgeable) accidentally deletes part of the system. But why 3 data partitions? (actually there are many good reasons for multiple data partitions, but usually one is sufficient for home systems) Keep in mind that you cannot easily change partition size (you need to buy something like Partition Magic first), more partitions generally mean less performance. Also, keep in mind that your backup is on the same physical drive as the original, so if your drive goes you lose.

(2) Creating an extra partition for your page file is nonsense. The purpose of this is to avoid fragmentation of a growing page file. But by moving it to another partition you lose performance as the disk head has to travel farther. However, it is a good idea to fix the page file size, to avoid fragmentation of the page file.

(3) Any branded memory is ok. On the memory forum you can read many questions about which memory is best, but this is relevant only if you want to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the memory.

(4) The same goes for the HDD. Any branded disk is usually good. Some are faster or bigger, and therefore more expensive. All brands have had problems with drive reliability. I have used some seagate drives and I am quite happy with them. However, all hdds are *very* fragile. If you have the habit of hitting the system everytime you get shot playing Doom, or if you kick the system accidentally because it is standing on the floor, or move the system without shutting it down... well, you shouldn't complain then.

(4) Sorry, not much experience with Samsung. I have used only one, so far so good. It's in a rather slow system, so I can't give any judgements on performance, seems average.

(5) I don't really seem to understand the problem here. Well, if you create an image of your system partition on another drive you should be able to boot from that image, what's the use of an image otherwise?

(6) No. You only need to spend those extra $$ if PRO gots something the home version hasn't which you want. Like running a HTML server, ... well, read th MS website.
November 5, 2003 11:38:22 AM

Quote:
(2) Creating an extra partition for your page file is nonsense. The purpose of this is to avoid fragmentation of a growing page file. But by moving it to another partition you lose performance as the disk head has to travel farther. However, it is a good idea to fix the page file size, to avoid fragmentation of the page file.

Err, this is not totally correct. When done correctly the page file should be placed on its own partition and the very beginning of the hard disk ( inner zone). This is where the highest rates of transfer exist and where the head comes to rest at idle. Not sure why you say the head will have to move farther unless you think that the OS itself is needing to use the page file and not the app. Merly fixing the size of the page file does not guranntee a contigous file. Better than a seperate partition, a seperate drive would offer more advantages. Still better yet would be enough RAM to eliminate the need for a page file.

It's not what they tell you, its what they don't tell you!
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November 5, 2003 2:06:29 PM

Ok, defrag after fixing the page file size.

Putting the page file on a separate partition is physically putting the page file away from the system files (a partition is one contiguous space on the disk drive). Putting the page file on the system partition places the page file physically between the system files.
If the system needs to access the system & page file simultaneously the head has to move between 2 partitions. Which is on average farther. And therefore takes more time.



Now about putting a page file on a separate partition (a little more comprehensive)

The page file is used only if the system is low on memory. If that happens often you'd better RUN to buy some more RAM since that is about a million times faster than a HDD.

If the system starts running low on memory the first thing that's happening is the cache gets smaller. That means that if Windows needs to reload a (part of) a program it needs to load it from disk instead of the cache. Again if this happens often it's time to walk (no need to run now) to the store and buy some RAM (or maybe employ some discipline: close unused apps, do not run unused services, etc)

So a page file is supposed to be used very infrequently. Under normal circumstances the page file is indeed hardly used, and therefore you won't gain anything by optimizing its location.


Now assume someone is loading so many programs and data that the page file is actually used. Depending on the type of access the page file is about 2000-1000000 times slower than RAM. Obviously, the more data in the page file (and the more random it is accessed), the slower the system. Not only this, but the file cache is now minimal so a lot of code reloads must be loaded from disk rather than cache. That's why you would want your page file as close as possible to your programs.

*side issue* if the page file is not on the boot partition Windows cannot make a system dump. No big deal for me as i'm not going to send it to MS anyway and I'm not going to try to figure out what's inside the dump by myself.


Thus
1) there is no good reason to put the page file on a separate partition;
2) you actually degrade your performance by putting it on a separate partition (although only a little bit and only occasionally);
3) if you run low on memory a page file is only an emergency solution: buy RAM or clean up your system.



I do agree however that if you decide to put the page file on a separate partition the method you describe is best.
November 5, 2003 4:09:34 PM

Quote:
Putting the page file on a separate partition is physically putting the page file away from the system files (a partition is one contiguous space on the disk drive). Putting the page file on the system partition places the page file physically between the system files.
If the system needs to access the system & page file simultaneously the head has to move between 2 partitions. Which is on average farther. And therefore takes more time.

This is a vague assumption on your part. For one system and page file access can only happen if the page and system files exist on seperate drives ( and seperate channels). Next, a partition adds no more space in and by itslef. One could make a simple three partition setup on one drive with for example a 1 gig partition at the very begining of the drive with the next partition being for the OS. while your assumption abou tthe page file now being farthr away from the system files may seem to be the case, this is not neccesarily so. So, yesit is possible to degrade performance with the page on a different partition, this is not neccesarily the case. I also think you maybe thinking that be designating a set page file size and letting windows manage it you are thinking that this will automatically make the page file contiguous. I can tell you this is not the case. What you may have is 2-3 chunks of space allocated for the page file itself.

Putting the page on a seperate disk ( assuming the 2nd disk as as least as fast as the first and on a separate channel) is always preferable, however the performace increase would not justify buying a 2nd drive solely for this purpose. To further complicate matters, if you have 2,3,4 or more drives splitting the page file up and placeing them on all the drives yields even slightly more performance.

Quote:
side issue* if the page file is not on the boot partition Windows cannot make a system dump.

Are you sure about this and if so what OS? I have no page file on my OS drive and I am sure I can do a dump in 2k.

Quote:
Thus
1) there is no good reason to put the page file on a separate partition;
2) you actually degrade your performance by putting it on a separate partition (although only a little bit and only occasionally);
3) if you run low on memory a page file is only an emergency solution: buy RAM or clean up your system.

1) define good... on some instances ther are very good reasons too.
2) yes if done wrong a degradation could occur. If done correctly a slight improvement could result as well. All depends on the implementation.
3)always a good idea.

It's not what they tell you, its what they don't tell you!
a b G Storage
November 5, 2003 4:31:57 PM

I put mine on its own partition just to keep the main drive from fragmenting so bad. I have 512 meg and still use anywhere from 90 to 160 meg page file even though there is plenty of memory left free. It may slow me down some but I never see it.
November 5, 2003 10:46:02 PM

I use WinXP and have my pagefile in with my OS files on a 5Gb Partition.
Ive got the pagefile fixed at 768Mb, so it just sits there as one big chunk and doesnt fragment.

Given that ive got lots of ram its rarely used anyway... as it should be.

So i would only recommend a pagefile on a seperate partition if you are going to do some serious dedicated audio/video editing.
And if that were the case i would also be recommending a RAID 0 array to speed things up also.

<b>I am not a AMD fanboy.
I am not a Via fanboy.
I am not a ATI fanboy.
I AM a performance fanboy.
And a low price fanboy. :smile:
Regards,
Mr no integrity coward.</b>
November 6, 2003 9:13:13 AM

Basic system files of course.
They take up around 2gig, leaving 1 free.

And cauz the pagefile is fixed, the OS slowly gets fragmented around it.

if you have 512 to 1Gb of ram the pagefile is hardly used anyway.
Which is how it should be.
Any page file use will be slowing your system down.

<b>I am not a AMD fanboy.
I am not a Via fanboy.
I am not a ATI fanboy.
I AM a performance fanboy.
And a low price fanboy. :smile:
Regards,
Mr no integrity coward.</b>
November 6, 2003 6:14:08 PM

Look at what you're saying. You are buying an 80 gig hard drive and are going to actually only use 40 gigs of it. Why you are storing images of one partition on another partition on the same disk also seems odd to me. If your hard disk dies, then your data + your backup images are all gone. Imaging should be done to a CD or DVD for sure.

Make a 20 gig system partition for c: which has your OS + programs. Make a 60 gig data partition. Install windows to your c: drive, and then immediately on first boot of the new install, set your swap file to 768 MB fixed. Reboot. This will be plenty fine for you.

Defragging AFTER this does absolutely nothing as the pagefile is unmovable (ever seen those "unmovable files" in defragmenter? That's your page file. If it's fragmented first, it'll stay fragmented and will continue to aid in fragmenting your other files).

Linux uses a separate partition for it's page file and it works great. I have never come across a defrag utility for linux because it's never a problem.

Infineon and Samsung both make good ram. The best ram I ever had was some PC 133 C2 infineon which ran 190 MHz C3 and 178 MHz C2.

Some day I'll be rich and famous for inventing a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet.
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