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3D Spotlight : Tweaking : Tweaking your System Memory (Win 98 & Millennium edition)

Tweaking your System Memory
Last Updated on September 26, 2000 by Thomas McGuire - Page 4/8

Windows 98/Millennium users

Before you begin doing anything else you'll want to edit your system.ini (Click on Start, Run type in system.ini & hit Enter). Under the [386Enh] heading Add the line ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1 (Make sure to leave a blank line between this & the next heading). This can significantly reduce Virtual memory use as it makes Windows use RAM before the Swapfile. This is particularly beneficial for those with 128MB RAM or more. Save the changes & reboot your system for the change to take effect.

Calculating Virtual memory

Before you can set your Virtual memory youíll want to get an idea of what to actually set it too. Some recommend using a general formula, e.g. Physical RAM*2.5. This is incorrect however. Using that formula, a person with 16MB RAM should set 40MB, while a person with 128MB RAM should set 320MB. Clearly the person with little RAM needs a greater amount of Virtual memory than the person with a lot of RAM.

To begin with, let Windows manage your virtual memory settings. Then install System monitor. Click on Start, Settings, Control panel, Add/Remove programs. Select the Windows setup tab & then System tools. Select System monitor & install it.

Reboot your system for the changes to take effect.

Open up System monitor (Click on Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Monitor), select Edit then Add item. Add Swapfile size as shown below. These are the items that System monitor will now track for you. You can remove/add other items by clicking on Edit then Add/Remove item.

Over the next few days load up System monitor & let it track your Swapfile size. Click on Options then Chart & set the update interval as you see fit Iíd recommend setting it to 30 seconds or 1 minute, depending on how long you intend to be monitoring for. Make sure to Start logging (Click on File then Start logging) & save the logs so that youíll be able to reference usage over the days.

It would be best to start tracking your usage when you go to play a game or something that will put your PC under a bit of stress. Run a few time-demos or play Unreal tournament against some bots. This will give you an idea of your Virtual memory needs, however donít go overboard with the testing you want to track normal usage, not excessive usage. The results are displayed as shown below.

The graph to be concerned with is the Swapfile size. Once youíre satisfied with your monitor itís time to consult your log. Open the sysmon.log (or whatever you saved it as) with Notepad. Youíll be greeted with something like this.

Unfortunately the size is saved in byte size, rather than in MBís. To convert into MBís, take the largest value from the log & divide it by 1048576 (1024*1024). So in the above example it would be 113246208/1048576=110MB (108 rounded up). Obviously you should only be concerned with calculating the highest value, rounding up to the nearest 10 MBíS, e.g. if you get 143.8MB round it up to 150MB.


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