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ideal page file setting for 384ram?

By dougbrad81 · 9 replies
Apr 18, 2002
  1. hi,
    i was wondering what's the ideal page file setting minimum and maximum for a gamer with 384mb of ram? thanks in advance for any help.
  2. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

  3. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    I've had the best results using 1.5 times physical memory but I've read articles by several different "experts" that say anything from 1.5 to 3 times. But most (not all) agree that setting the minimum and maximum to the same value is best because it doesn't have to waste time resizing it. I've also heard that exceeding 350MB is just a waste of space. It is also a good idea to use something like Norton's Speed Disk and specify that the page file is put in a certain place. This will reduce the chances of it becoming fragmented. Another solution is to create a separate partition the of the specified size and defragment it then set it to be the place for your pagefile. You'll then have a completely clean pagefile that will never be resized and can't become fragmented.

    On the other hand some people have said that you should disable your pagefile if you have over 256MB RAM(I read that one a few years ago) others say to do this with excess of 512MB.

    Personally I have mine set to 300MB(separate part.) and have 1536MB DDR, an AMD 1600XP running WinXP, I tried disabling the pagefile but the system seemed to become sluggish when running Photoshop or Bryce.

    On one of my older systems I had 128MB RAM and had my swapfile set at 192MB, I tried other settings and found that one best. A later system I had 128MB RAM and had the swapfile set at 320MB and got the best results. The former was a 500MHz PIII and the latter was a 700MHz PIII. Both were running win98
  4. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 980

  5. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    1) Disabling your pagefile is a really, really dumb idea.

    2) On systems with less then 256mb RAM, I would reccomend no LESS then 2x your ram considering the fact that although it may not be in use all the time, occasionally you will reach a point where it is filled and the machine will either die and choke with out of memory errors or you will begin to notice considerable slowdown and pauses.

    3) Even on a 768mb RAM XP box, with a small pagefile you can get out of memory errors. On a fairly fresh install of WinXP with most of the eye candy disabled and most unneeded services disabled, *768*mb of RAM and a 384mb pagefile size (I figured that 1gb of total memory would be sufficient) I would get out of memory errors.

    4) Settings the minimum size to be equal to the maximum size is *strongly* recommended, most especially if your pagefile is on the same partition/logical dos drive as your OS or other programs, as this will greatly reduce fragmentation over time. If you have a seperate partition for your pagefile this isn't as important(see below) but still suggested.

    4) Although 1.5-3x your physical RAM size is a very good general rule(I do not disagree), I do strongly suggest that for those who want to ensure maximum pagefile/program efficiency you have several logical DOS drives configured. One for the OS and only the most critical of things such as recovery tools. One for programs/games/etc, another for your pagefile. Then, monitor pagefile usage over a period of time and set it to a 128mb or so above what your peak usage is over time. This will ensure a good leeway.

    5) If you have a seperate *harddrive* and can put it on a seperate IDE channel (not as important with SCSI or raid setups) you are even luckier. Having the pagefile on a seperate harddrive will add to increased performance and reduce the load on the other HDD during use.

    Currently on my XP box, this is how I have the partitions setup:

    [HDD1, fujitsu 7200rpm 40gb]

    Partition 1
    C: - 5GB - OS (WinXP)
    Partition 2
    D: - 5GB - Programs
    E: - 5GB - Games
    F: - 25gb - Storage

    [HDD2, fujitsu 5400rpm 10.8 gb]

    G: 2gb - Pagefile
    J: 8.8GB - mp3s/spcs/etc

    I rarely, if ever, require defragmenting with this setup and it runs smooth.
  6. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 664

    If you are using Win98/ME, you should enable ConservativeSwapFileUsage=1, in order to force the swapfile to be accessed more "conservatively", and under ME, this causes the swapfile to be accessed only once windows runs out of memory. My tweaking program has this tweak :)
  7. Boogie

    Boogie TS Rookie Posts: 76

    In theory that sounds good, but do you have any benchmarks to prove it ?

    Mine is setup that way. (swap on c: and apps on D: ). I haven't benched to see if it performs better but would be interested in some article you have seen.
  8. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    I didn't find it in an article. I discovered it of my own volition when I realized that during heavy disk load, if the HDD was going back and forth between the program that was being used (like during audio editing or when cropping/saving movies, etc) and the pagefile, the HDD itself would be bogged down more then it needed, and unless I was pushing all the data possible through, if I had another drive that wasn't in use for pagefile, it would probably be more efficient. I tried it, and it seemed that way.
  9. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 664

    It is only of Benefit if your swapfile is on a different ide channel, and you using the drive that has the swapfile for nothing else.

    i.e. IDE channel 1: Master HDD - has Windows on
    IDE channel 2: Master HDD - has Swapfile on

    Of course if you are using a cd-drive or dvd, you are gonna have to put it on the same channel as something, so you will lose out anyway :(

    So putting the swapfile on a separate drive is only a great benefit if you have 4 IDE CHANNELS (i.e. 8 Drive Support) or SCSI.
  10. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    That is why i specifically stated,

    "5) If you have a seperate *harddrive* and can put it on a seperate IDE channel "

    And no, it is not true that it would only be of benefit if there was nothing else on the drive. The drive could very easily be used as a mass-storage drive for things you seldom use, or when use consume only very little resources and throughput. For instance, in my example, I have all my mp3s on the drive with the pagefile, which is on a seperate IDE channel (I have 2 IDE channels), as seconday master. mp3s while playing consume extremely little bandwidth and require very little HDD access. Or, for instance, if you are like me and download tons of stuff you may never really use or very very large files you plan to use eventually, but need a temporary spot for them (ISO's, movies, etc), they wouldn't impact performance because you wouldn't be using them, and can use that HDD for two purposes instead of one.
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