Increasing RAM usage and Improve re-draw time

I have an Intel I5 Ivy Bridge CPU, Win 7 64-bit Home Premium OS, 16Gb RAM and Nvidia GTX 550 TI graphics board with 1 Gb DDR5 memory. I run two real-time stock charting/trading programs on two monitors.

My objectives are to improve screen re-draw time and to decrease Windows' hard disk access. While there are other alternatives to consider, I'd like to invite the community to offer thoughts on two questions:

1. How to increase Window's RAM usage for paging/caching : The System Monitoring tools are showing that RAM usage is only about 30% of the 16Gb installed while Windows' hard drive caching is continuously busy. If there is a tweak to increase RAM usage, I would expand RAM memory to 32Gb.

2. Otherwise, I might install a 120 Gb Solid State Drive. Then, the question is whether using the SSD for the OS or as the cache drive as per Intel Rapid Storage would yield the best solution for the stated objectives above?
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  1. A point to be made first - likely any hardware adjustments are going to turn on the particular design of the software in question - software can be optimized very differently viz. hardware depending on the design. I'm not familiar with trading platforms. Depending on the design, I think it possible that the GPU could in theory be involved in the rendering process, though since it's not 3D graphics, I'm not sure how much of a contribution there would be.

    1. This program probably caches a lot for some reason instead of loading into RAM (perhaps a performance tweak on the part of the software). 16GB should be MORE than sufficient for this type of work, so expanding the RAM probably won't help. Moreover, if you're only at 30% usage, expanding the paging file won't likely help either - Windows uses its own algorithms to determine when to page/cache something and when not to.

    There are I believe ways of running RAM disks (an assigned portion of the RAM that acts like a hard disk) and installing the program directly into them, such that the entire software will execute in RAM and won't access storage at all.

    I'm not familiar with how to do this, though I'm fairly sure it is done in certain applications.

    2. Certainly going to an SSD will improve your overall performance regardless, and if indeed the software is constantly accessing the disk - that will help.

    Separating the Paging File from the OS on different disks to my knowledge doesn't have great effects (I think in the past it may have), so I suspect just loading the OS into the SSD and leaving the paging file onboard will help.

    3. Alternatively - it might be best to research the trading platforms you're using viz. software, and finding out specifically what users with those programs have done, and how the programs are designed - I've found that people (particularly hardware people, and after all, this is a hardware forum!) underestimate the software component when they go about looking for hardware improvements.

    Off-Topic but, just because it happened to me yesterday... e.g. I recently found out that my youtube desktop player uses Flash (it was supposed to be Flash-less, since Flash is just terrible viz. performance), so I switched to a true no-flash Youtube player (Minitube), and the result was tremendously improved RAM usage (less).
  2. Then you are only using 30% of the ram and don't need more. windows uses the rest for cache and moves stuff into based on what it thinks you will do next. You can always turn off your page file anyway. Only a few weird programs have issues without one.

    Screen redraw is your gpu anyway. But what you are asking would really have nothing to do with realtime trading. the software is only going to go as fast as it gets Data, and it's only going to get Data as fast as your internet provider delivers it
  3. If you're interested in installing the program on a RAM disk (note you would want to install the PROGRAM, not the paging file, as separating the paging file again is just not really a performance variable).


    Also - what trading platforms/software do you use?

    unksol is correct that your WAN connection is going to be significant viz. the number or speed of updates you receive, but in terms of the program performance, that IS a local variable you can probably improve upon.
  4. I should point out using more RAM decreases performance...
  5. Thanks for all the good ideas and suggestions.

    Over the past several days, I disabled pagefile virtual memory to see what the effects are. The risk is that some programs may not run, as noted in this thread, and Windows won't be able to write an error log if the pagefile is less than 800Mb (Windows Knowledge base).

    The results are based on unscientific Windows Performance Monitor and observation:

    1. Overall hard disk access and transfers were reduced by around 20%.

    2. No problems with any browser or programs that I normally run. A noticeable improvement in browser response.

    3. RAM usage increased to about 42% from 30%.

    4. Graphics re-draw appears to be slightly faster particularly when switching to/from a text box to charts.

    I'm satisfied with the improvement, however slight and subjective they may be.

    Cheers to all.
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