Using a 2'nd HD for pagefile only

Discussion in 'hardware' started by luciddream, May 19, 2011.

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  1. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    I started a thread several months ago about this, and it's now too old to reply to. A couple of people were curious to hear the results so I figured I'd make a new thread about it.

    Everything went without a hitch. I put the 2'nd HD dedicated for pagefile on my secondary channel as the master, with my DVD/RW optical drive as the slave. My main HD the only drive on my primary, as master.

    No problems encountered, but no noticeable benefits either. It didn't seem to improve my performance at all. I recently reformatted my PC and decided not to even bother doing it this time, since it didn't seem to help and was just using more energy, and it was 1 more thing in there that could overheat/break.

    I'm sure individual results vary though, so if you're curious, by all means try it for yourself and let me know if it worked for you.
     
  2. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Any performance benefits from such an arrangement would probably not show up until the system was under a very heavy load that uses up most of the physical memory. Under light or moderate loads, the swap file is seldom used.

    There are some other benefits to such an arrangement that wouldn't be immediately apparent. Moving the paging file away from the system and data drives/partitions would help reduce fragmentation on those drives. Reduced fragmentation could help reduce wear on the system and data hard drives. Moving the swap file will also reduce the size of the system partition, making system backups smaller and fatser to make or restore.

    On my PCs, I set up dedicated swap partitions on 2 of them with single hard drives. The 3rd is multiboot with 3 drives and 5 operating systems. On this PC, the 3 Windows OS share a dedicated swap partition, located on the drive containing the OS I use the least. This PC is low power and RAM limited, so the dedicated swap partition has made it run smoother. I have no benchmarks to actually measure the improvement. It's not big but it's noticeable. The biggest improvements for me have been reduced maintenance and faster times for making/restoring system backups.
     
  3. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I use a separate partition on a second drive for the pagingfile with a pf size of a little more than I require.

    kb314482
    OT. I also use a RAID 0 array on one machine with very noticeable results.
     
  4. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

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    i use a little intel 40GB value SSD dedicated for page file use. amazing performance
     
  5. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    4GB of RAM... I went ahead and just disabled mine.
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    If you do ANYTHING with a PF and notice significant changes in performance, that is a good indication you need more RAM, and/or more free space on your drive.

    Long ago and far away when 512Mb of RAM was considered "more than you will ever need" and hard disks with 8Mb buffers were something special, then any way you could tweak PF performance typically resulted in noticeable performance gains. But not with modern PCs with lots of RAM, HUGE and fast drives, fast CPUs with multiple cores, and graphics solutions with lots of dedicated RAM and GPUs with more transistors on die than our CPUs.

    While Windows will use a PF regardless how much RAM you have, Windows only stuffs the lowest priority data in there. The OS and CPU will use the CPU's L1, L2, and L3 caches, and system RAM for higher priority data long before it uses the PF. So even moving your PF to a SSD will not help your performance - as many have found out when their Windows Experience Index scores did not improve. Moving Windows to a SSD will help, but not just the PF.

    If you look in Resource Monitor in Win7 and look at the Memory tab, Windows even sets up a RAM cache within your RAM (or at least mine did with my 8Gb).

    So if you have enough RAM, and a look at your Performance tab in Task Manager (or Resource Monitor) will show if you do, manually managing the PF is unlikely to result in any noticeable performance gains - except from the placebo effect - again, this assumes there's lots of free, relatively unfragmented space on the drive.

    Even under heavy load, unless used in a busy file server accessed by many users, it is rare for the hard drive to be needed so much. So much of our "content" comes from other sources - most notably, the Internet via our network interface, and not our drive interface.

    Yes, Microsoft Office or another major application may load a little slower, but once the program is loaded, it stays in much faster memory. And prefetch can help there too. But again, this assumes a decent amount of RAM - at least 3 (on triple channel) or 4Gb (dual channel), preferably 6/8. At least 2Gb with XP.

    With XP, I always managed and tweaked my PF, always using a fixed size PF to prevent drive fragmentation from affecting the PF. I starting with a baseline using that old, and outdated rule of thumb, 1.5 x RAM. So with 1Gb of RAM, I would set my initial and maximum size to 1536 (1024 x 1.5).

    But that was when free drive space was often at a premium. Today, it is nothing to have 100Gb free on our 500Gb, 1Tb, or larger drives.

    So with Vista and Windows 7 and lots of free disk space, my recommendation is to just let Windows do it. Windows knows what it needs better than you or me. If you have a second drive, it is fine to move it (with downside noted below). But there's no reason to put it on a second partition if there is lots of room on first. The same read/write head is used, regardless the number of partitions, and it can only be in one place at once.

    If you are desperately low on free disk space, and there is no other drive or partition to move the PF to, then run Windows Disk Cleanup, uninstall programs you no longer use for some temporary relief, then buy more disk space to make it permanent as soon as the budget permits.

    The one downside to not having your PF on your boot drive is there won't be a memory dump. Do you submit your memory dumps to Microsoft for analysis? Me neither.
     
  7. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Hmmm, just read the title of this thread again,
    Did you really mean "ONLY" the Page File will go on this second disk? That would be a waste of disk space.

    I have created small, typically less than 6Gb partitions for the exclusive use of the page file and that works just fine. But a larger partition or disk just for the PF is wasting disk resources.
     
  8. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    From what I gather merely giving the PF it's own partition, on the same physical drive won't give you any performance increase... that it has to be on it's own physical drive. Unless I was misinformed about this. So yeah, that was my approach. It was a 40GB harddrive that was just collecting dust, so nothing wasted.

    Your post was very insightful.
     
  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    That is true - assuming plenty of free disk space on a relatively unfraggmented drive. While Windows is tricked into thinking the various partitions are separate drives, they just one and have just one read/write head assembly that can only be in one place at a time.
     
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