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Can I get away with increasing my virtual memory instead of upgrading to more RAM?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by betyourlife, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. betyourlife

    betyourlife on a GLOCK

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    An ever increasing number of tools on my computer has left me with a computer than sometimes, maybe 10-20% of the time, uses 100% of the CPU and twice as many MB of RAM as it actually has, forcing me to use the hard disk as virtual memory.

    In addition to this I have used almost 60% of my hard disk in the year and a half I have had this computer.

    I am contemplating upgrading to 1GB RAM and maybe getting an external hard disk.

    But recently I increased the maximum size of the paging file to 800 MB and a minimum of 400 MB. I have noticed an increase in performance since then. Could I just get away with having a huge paging file? How big can I make it? is it really worth it to ad to the computers motherboard? Should I just stop running so many start up programms?
     
  2. srhoades

    srhoades

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    I've always heard that you set your maximum page file to equal double the amount of RAM you have. Although it does increase performance, you are still using your hard drive which is slower that reading and writing to RAM.
     

  3. betyourlife

    betyourlife on a GLOCK

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    Yes, that's a good point, using a paging file defeats the purpose of having RAM I guess.
     
  4. hwyhobo

    hwyhobo

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    No, it doesn't. You should still add RAM. Paging file only helps a little bit once you run out of RAM. It certainly does not replace the need for RAM.
     
  5. Hokie

    Hokie NRA Member

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    RAM is fast hard drives are slow. So while a page file can act like RAM it is not RAM and you would get better performance from actual RAM assuming that the problem is the amount of memory.
     
  6. doktarZues

    doktarZues I'm anti-anti

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    Yes, RAM is MUCH faster than "virtual memory" that sits on your hard drive. As cheap as RAM is these days, it is worth it. You will see an immediate and noticeable performance increase going from 512mb to 1gb. Increasing virtual memory will help to a point, where Windows has enough virtual memory that it isn't constantly changing memory in and out, and even then you're still using very slow virtual memory. If you're unclear about what kind of memory you have, use www.memorygiant.com to find out what kind of memory you have, then buy it from a cheaper site like www.newegg.com .

    You said you were looking at getting an external HD. Reasons to get an external HD are if you really need the portability, or are worried about not having a big enough power supply and don't want to upgrade the power supply (externals use an AC adaptor and power themselves from a wall plug). In my experience externals seem to break a lot more often than the internals, I guess from being shifted and banged around more often. Hard drives are very fragile, moreso when they are turned on and in use.

    Internal HDs are much cheaper GB for GB than externals and seem to last a little longer. Always keep your receipts and register with the HD vendor as all new hard drives carry a warranty. I generally use Seagates because they have a 5 year warranty (and a relatively painless process getting it honored as well) and most other vendors only have 3 year warranties. -dok
     
  7. malkore

    malkore

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    does your motherboard support DDR? if so, you're silly not to utilize it (if you aren't already). doubling your RAM and then accessing it twice as fast is a noticable performance increase.
     
  8. Tennessee Slim

    Tennessee Slim Señor Member CLM

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    Virtual memory (AKA, a swap file or page file) is a band-aid for too little RAM. And of all the components in the data processing chain of events, the only one that has parts that physically must move to operate is the hard drive. Electrons coursing through stationary components transfer data much faster than over spinning platens …like x30,000 faster.

    If you’re running XP, with 1GB or RAM, you can do entirely without a page file (this isn’t some magic number but my experience bears it out) with no detriment to most processes. Note the qualifier: most. When you’re doing moves between disks of large amounts of data (like installing from a CD/DVD), having a page file speeds things up considerably. And you might have individual apps that don’t react well to the lack of a page file.

    If you buy an additional internal HDD, moving the page file to it will improve performance. It gives the OS the ability to write to/from the page file and the OS drive simultaneously. In fact, IMO, the ideal configuration is to make a partition on a new (or otherwise empty) second HDD specifically for the page file. Make it the same size as the intended page file, which you will want to make a fixed size (same min and max). Since it was the first partition created, it’ll sit on the rim of the disk, where access times are fastest. And since it’s the same size as the partition, it has no “wiggle room” and can never become fragmented. This is the way I have all my desktop systems configured. The only downside is that you either have to turn off the “low disk space” warnings (done through a registry hack) or put up with the nagging.
     
  9. RaiderRodney

    RaiderRodney Just Win Baby

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    Getting more RAM would certainly help but seems it may be treating the symptom and not the cause of the problem. I would use msconfig or download a freeware startup manager and see what all you can stop from running at startup first. Then change your page file to double your RAM for minimum and maximum. EX (512 RAM set the minimum and maximum to 1024). Works even better if you can have the page file on a separate hard drive.

    See if that helps you out any ;) I find that crucial.com is great for memory upgrades as well if you have to go that route. Good luck.
     
  10. malkore

    malkore

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    betyourlife,

    your inbox is full, so here's the PM I wanted to send you.

    The best thing to do is find out your exact model/make of motherboard and look it up on the company's website.

    if it does support DDR, then you just have to check the manual to see which slots are linked. sometimes its 1 + 2, 3 + 4, other times its even/odd slots that are paired.

    as long as both sticks of memory are the same type (like, pc3200) and same capacity, they'll automatically enable the DDR, which stands for Dual Data Rate.
    Basically your computer will use both sticks of memory at the same time, and almost twice as fast, as if you didn't have DDR.
    in a nutshell, if you had to write 32kb of data to RAM, your computer would write 16kb to each stick of RAM, simultaneously, and a little bit quicker because more channels are opened to each stick of RAM.
     
  11. betyourlife

    betyourlife on a GLOCK

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    Ahhhh, thanks!

    I only have one memory card right now, but I just bought one 1GB card and will be adding that for now.

    Thanks for the tip.

    Eventually I will order another and enable the DDR.
     
  12. betyourlife

    betyourlife on a GLOCK

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    Well, folks, I added the card that I got in the mail today and my computer runs like a dream.

    Can't wait to ad another gigabyte and enable the DDR to make things really interesting!!;) :supergrin:

    Thanks to all who helped.