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2.5gb Pagefile?

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  • Hard Drives
  • Graphics Cards
  • Pagefile
  • Storage
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April 23, 2004 10:13:34 AM

The sticky <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">Graphics Card Optimization</A> thread in the Graphics Card forum suggests setting the pagefile to 2.5 times the size of system RAM. In my case that would mean a 2.5gb pagefile. I can afford the loss of 2.5gb, but I don't want to do it if it's completely unnecessary. Would 2.5gb be an optimum setting?

<A HREF="http://forums.btvillarin.com/index.php?act=ST&f=41&t=27..." target="_new">My Rigs</A>

More about : 5gb pagefile

April 23, 2004 3:52:23 PM

If there's any actual reason to do that, it's gotta be some mysterious voodoo thing deep within the CompSci theories behind the technology... Far as I know pagefile is just there for two reasons: to hold the overflow from your RAM, and to swap the OS files into when you run a demanding app like a game so that the two don't fight for memory.

Seems to me that the smaller your RAM is, the MORE pagefile you'd want, not the other way around. So, I dunno... it's either just another of those random tweaks someone invented and is convinced it increased their FPS by at least 1/2 when turned on, or it's some mysterious voodoo CS thing in the windows code that doesn't make any sense.

It could also be something that made sense years ago but no longer does due to the increased size of everything. There's that mysterious "AGP Aperture" setting in the BIOS too, people recommend you set that to half of your RAM size, but I have no idea why or what the "AGP Aperture" is actually used for. I just keep doing it cuz some guy told me to years ago. Now I'm wondering, because half my RAM is 512MB...

EDIT: I also notice that sticky recommends some other stuff that I highly disagree with... like turning off "Install On Demand" for internet explorer. That would prevent you from getting the option to install things like Java or Flash updates if you happened to not have what's required to view a page, and IE asks you about those anyway so you can just click "no" on it if you don't want it.

They also have some info that's just plain WRONG, like telling people that if they are on a college campus they have a firewall automatically and don't need ZoneAlarm. THAT'S FALSE. If you're on a college campus you are more exposed and a more high-profile target for hackers who want to use your PC for DDOS attacks, because you often have 20 times the upload bandwidth that a cable modem user does.

They're also recommending that you turn off a whole pile of services in XP, and from experience with those kinds of "unnecessary service" lists, they usually tell you to turn off a bunch of stuff that you <i>do</i> want to have active, just because they don't understand what it does.

Anyway I'm not going to go through the whole thing and comment on everything, but I've seen enough... That post is recommending *lots* of mysterious voodoo stuff that I highly doubt makes any difference whatsoever. "Turn off every system tray service except the volume icon"? Sometimes there are things running in there that are necessary, and in my experience I have sat there and watched the "CPU Time" counter for those programs and most of them get zero seconds of cumulative CPU time in six or more hours of operation. I highly doubt they are sucking up any FPS. The only good suggestion I've seen up to that point in the thread is to remove your spyware.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Grafixmonkey on 04/23/04 11:09 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 23, 2004 10:17:33 PM

Simply allow windows to manage your pagefile. If you are worried about fragmentation assign it to a dedicated partition / hard drive. Run perfom or check Task Manager and monitor the pagefile usage whilst your working, see how much you need.

Personally I think that 2.5 number comes from the Linux world where it advises you to make a scatch parition of 2.5 times your physical RAM.

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/myanandtech.html?member=114979" target="_new">My PCs</A> :cool:
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April 25, 2004 8:39:57 PM

Generally I advise setting the pagefile to twice the physical ram & the AGP apeture to doulbe the cards memory... never seen the need for more & never had any problems...

Trust me I know what I'm doing... ooops, grab the cat...
April 26, 2004 1:15:38 PM

Quote:
& the AGP apeture to doulbe the cards memory...



Curious as to the reason for this setting?

....WW (5.0)
April 26, 2004 2:54:39 PM

LOL Grafix... I like your post ;o)

To be honest I didn't actually rush off and change all my settings to match that thread, (in fact, most of what I agreed with I think I'd probably already done). I'm currently writing a list of things I want setup right after a fresh install of WinXP so I don't forget anything, and I was just looking through threads to see if there were any more useful tips. I agree, in theory I guess the more physical RAM you have the less the pagefile should be needed.

<A HREF="http://forums.btvillarin.com/index.php?act=ST&f=41&t=27..." target="_new">My Rigs</A>
April 27, 2004 12:08:41 PM

Ive been around a while & from what people have said, recommendations range from the same size to half-again to double the gfx card memory... tried with some of my older systems with older cards (P2-400 & Athlon1.2 with Tnt2 ultra & a Kyro2 4500) and 3dmark2000/2001se gave best consistent scores for me with double the mem so I have stuck with it ever since...

Trust me I know what I'm doing... ooops, grab the cat...
April 27, 2004 7:14:22 PM

[EDIT] I just got home and decided to spend a little bit more time replying to this.

What prompted me to write the Performance sticky in the first place was a guy with a benchmark problem. His Aquamark3 score was around 34000 and change. After a three-page thread of tweak suggestions I made his score was over 38000 that’s an improvement over 10%. I figured I would sum it up in a sticky instead of repeating the same stuff to dozens upon dozens of newbies. Yes, I am a voodoo PC-doctor :evil:  If 10% overall performance improvement means nothing to you then by all means DO NOT follow any of the recommendations in that sticky.

Quote:
Seems to me that the smaller your RAM is, the MORE page file you'd want, not the other way around.

Wrong. I have no time to explain technical details right now. Do your own research. But I will say this:

1. <font color=green>For most systems</font color=green> 2.5 times the size of system RAM is the optimal size of the page file.

2. The reason it should be <font color=green>fixed-size</font color=green> is that if you allow Windows to manage it and you have lots of free hard drive space the page file may grow insanely huge and every now and again when the system needs to purge its page file data your PC will crawl to a standstill. Try this: Install TweakXP Pro. It allows you to set an option to clear the data from your page file on shut down. Time how long it takes your PC to shut down before you set this option and after. You’ll see what I mean.

Quote:
It could also be something that made sense years ago but no longer does due to the increased size of everything.

This is partly true. If you have 1Gig of RAM you don’t really need 2.5 Gigs of page file because if the system is to become unstable this will happen long before the whole page file is filled.

Quote:
I also notice that sticky recommends some other stuff that I highly disagree with... like turning off "Install On Demand" for internet explorer. That would prevent you from getting the option to install things like Java or Flash

This is wrong. You will still be able to install stuff. The only difference is that the system will ask that you confirm that you want the install to proceed. Having "Install on demand" enabled allows many things to install themselves on your PC without your knowledge. Personally, I think MS should disable all these things by default and remove the options from the configuration altogether.

About college networks, I suppose it depends on the network and how well it is set up. I am one of the sysadmins in a college with 16 thousand students + close to 3 thousand faculty and staff AND over 5 thousand PCs on campus . . . since I was hired 6 years ago we did lots of things and even moved to a brand new building where everything had to be set up from scratch . . . but never did we have any successful DOS attacks. I suppose I based the "LAN" comments in that sticky on my own experience. Let me tell ya, if you had a PC on our campus you would not need any firewall whatsoever. Period.

I could argue with this guy further, but I have no time. Trust me: Though he has some idea, he really does not know what he is talking about. That sticky was reviewed/fixed by many knowledgeable guys, not just me though I was the original author.

<font color=green>Stingy people end up paying double. One kick-ass rig every three years or one half-decent one every year?</font color=green>
<font color=red>I got no sense of humor but my porn is better than yours!</font color=red> :cool: <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Slava on 04/27/04 05:01 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 27, 2004 9:22:20 PM

Well, I don't have time to go searching, I have renders to deliver to campus and then a bunch of other stuff to worry about. All I have time for is a post. If someone who does have time wants to point me to something that shows any real performance difference between page file sizes, then I'll go check it out, but seems to me my PCs hardly ever access the hard drive except on program load and program termination, and that's with a lot of high memory requirement programs running. I do have 1G of ram, but that's getting to be standard for any system that does more than just games, and I have a ridiculous amount of storage space (810 GB) and have never seen this thrashing slowdown you speak of except when the Indexing service and System Restore are on. (those I turn off on first boot.)

Quote:
Having "Install on demand" enabled allows many things to install themselves on your PC without your knowledge.


But, my three PCs all have this turned on, and everything asks me if it's alowed to install? Are some plugins allowed to "sneak past" that dialog box that I don't know about? I mean, even the Windows Update plugin asks you for permission.

And what about those piles of services? I've seen tweak guides for shutting down services before - they're usually really extreme, and the services they say to shut off are things that only execute code if you do a specific task in the UI. I checked my own service lists, to see what has been taking CPU time over the last 72 hours that this particular system has been up. The only 'svchost.exe' that got more than zero seconds of CPU time in 72 hours was the one that included the following services:
<i>AudioSrv, BITS, Browser, CryptSvc, Dhcp,
dmserver, ERSvc, EventSystem,
FastUserSwitchingCompatibility, helpsvc,
HidServ, lanmanserver, lanmanworkstation,
Messenger, Netman, Nla, Schedule, seclogon,
SENS, ShellHWDetection, srservice,
TermService, Themes, TrkWks, uploadmgr,
W32Time, winmgmt, wuauserv, WZCSVC</i>

... for a total of 32 seconds of CPU time in 72 hours. And that includes my DHCP client, my audio, and a bunch of stuff that's been heavily used. (this PC used network drives heavily during its uptime.) I notice that since this is a recent install I've forgotten to disable Messenger, but other than that, why should I turn these off? It's not going to give me better performance in games, I know this because I went through that whole schpiel when I was trying to get decent framerates in Deus Ex 2, and it made no difference. Ending task on Windows Explorer made a little difference, maybe about 5-10%.

About college networks... My old university, the U. of Illinois, had nothing much blocked that wasn't a direct legal problem for the administration, such as Kazaa. (and that wasn't even blocked, it was just limited to a very very tiny pipe to make it less of a piracy problem.) If you were plugged in, all ports were visible. In my opinion that's a good thing for those who are technically competent on campus, because they were able to do things like run a game server for a bit if they wanted, or host a TeamSpeak channel, or use their own FTP server to gain easy access to their work from computer labs. Granted it's a bit of a problem for the rest of campus, but I think the only thing that could cause damage to the networks on that system would be if a keylogger got installed on a student's computer, giving a hacker access to a campus account - but that would be partially blocked by a bunch of bidirectional DNS checks and server settings that refuse access to non-campus IP addresses. So, they had heavy protection on their own servers, but the students were on their own. All they did was provide a site-license for some commercial antivirus and firewall programs.

Anyway, the guide has some good points but also some things that I'm inclined to question. The anti-spyware and such I agree with, except maybe for using so many different programs at once for one task... The pagefile thing, you might have a point, but I have not personally ever seen that "huge slowdown / thrashing" that you speak of. The services, no, I think that's nuts. Unfortunately I don't have time to go searching so I'll give it the benefit of doubt, but there is such a culture of tweaking just for the sake of tweaking, and passing tweaks along forever without re-verifying their results on a modern computer, that it will take more than "you're wrong, lots of people agree with the guide" to convince me on those points. But I'm open to a reasonable argument to their effect if anyone wants to jump in.
April 27, 2004 9:59:28 PM

Bro, I retract my comment that you don’t know what you are talking about. Obviously you know much more than the average bear. But one thing you are not taking into account is that your system is far from average. My system is similar to yours (actually, I have the whole network at home and one of the machines is similar to yours re RAM/storage space). When you are talking a true supercomputer you are right, the benefits of those tweaks may be hard to see.

Following your post, I actually added a line in the sticky that results may vary and the more powerful your system the less of an overall boost you will see. And though I was mad that you trashed my beloved sticky I am nevertheless grateful for some of the things you pointed out.

Regarding Services, you have not read the sticky carefully enough. IT DOES NOT suggest that users disable services. It shows how to find typically unnecessary services and suggests that they be set to Manual. It also explains the difference between automatic, manual and disabled. Finally, it warns that only professionals should DISABLE services . . .

Anyhow, this is a community and little by little we write good stickies :o ) Why don't you take a closer look at it and send me a Private Message with observations/suggestions/additions? If you do this, please do this when you have free time and when you feel like it may be fun. No sacrifice is sought here.

Hey, and (just for fun) check out my Far Cry review

<A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...;/A>

It is not a sticky per se, but it has been hovering at the top of the charts for weeks :o )

P.S. You are running 16 Services more than I :o ) and believe me my system works perfectly . . . without the extra services.


<font color=green>Stingy people end up paying double. One kick-ass rig every three years or one half-decent one every year?</font color=green>
<font color=red>I got no sense of humor but my porn is better than yours!</font color=red> :cool: <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Slava on 04/27/04 06:50 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 27, 2004 11:18:21 PM

Hey, I'm not taking offense. I enjoy these kinds of discussions, they're the only ones that really hammer out any facts. This particular system is dual 3.06 xeons, but I see similar results on my Athlon 2400 and Athlon 2500-M->2.3G system. You're right, I only read some of the sticky, because the guy was asking about page file size... my intention was just to point out that some of those tweaks, apart from the spyware ones, are for very slight performance improvements. I'm gonna go read the rest now cuz I have some time again...
May 1, 2004 12:33:04 AM

I don't know much about Windows' paging, but I have never heard the 2.5x ram as a rule of thumb for workstations/pc's. Certain servers need much swap space (like app servers), but the general rule is 1.5 times ram. The reasoning behind this is mainly so that a memory dump can be analyzed after a crash.
The only reason for a huge swap space is when working on multiple instances of large apps, but in windows the limit nonetheless is 2GB of addressing space and for 32-bit systems it's a total of 4GB. Swapping can make applications slower ,and while most programs need at least one page, a large swap space will in rare cases (in Windows) make the whole system slower since it has less than optimal paging.

I have heard, but not confirmed, that windows sometimes forces more paging than necessary so that a very small swap space (eg 10MB) will improve performance if there is enough free ram to do the job. Maybe someone here can confirm or deny that claim?

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