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Virtual Memory / Swap file


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#1 GFZola

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 10:54 AM

Can anyone offer any suggestions on the optimal setting for a pc running windows98se with a 40gb disk and 128mb RAM. I am told if I set the virtual memory as oppossed to letting windows handle it I will get better performance.

Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Thanks

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#2 budgie wardle

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 11:07 AM

Opinions seem to vary as to whether you actually receive any improvement by setting the virtual memory yourself. If you do want to, I believe the most generally quoted value is to set it a 1.5 times your RAM size.

#3 Leurgy

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 11:33 AM

I've tried it both ways and I haven't seen any difference. That is if you can make it stick. One thing I was told by a person I consider to be knowledgeable is to set the minimum at 1MB. Again, I haven't found a lot of success at making the setting stay. Also, Windows sets the maximum size for the swap file at the available space on your disk. Therefore if you set the max at 1.5 or 2.5 times your ram you are in effect limiting the size of the swap file which might cause problems with games and installing programs.

Another trick you can try to increase performance is to go to a Dos prompt as you boot (F8 - Command Prompt only) and delete the swap file. Windows will replace it.

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

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#4 MalikTous

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 03:13 PM

I had a rule-of-thumb to set the Minimum Swapfile size ('permanent swap file') as 2.5 times physical RAM or more. I generally set a Win98SE box with 128MB RAM at 320MB minimum swap file size and the max either at 512MB or automatic. For an XP box with that little RAM, I'd use 512MB minimum swapfile size.

The 2.5 minimum, 4 maximum advice came from some ZDNet article about Windows 95 some time back. Making the minimum swapfile size 2.5 times RAM or more (but no more than 1GB) seems to result in a little less crashing and swapfile-related activity.

On an XP system with less than 256MB RAM, a Win98SE system with below 128MB, a Win98 First Edition system below 96MB, or a Win95 system below about 48 to 64MB RAM, I'll run the size up a bit to use 4 times physical RAM minimum - if the HD will support it.
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#5 Matman829

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 07:44 PM

Ok, if you're trying to increase performance for gaming you're on the right track by setting the virtual memory yourself, instead of letting windows manage it. There's a lot more to it though, and I'll go into it in a minute. For most FAT32 OS's like Win98SE especially, It is best to set your virtual memory to 2.5 times the amount of RAM. In your case, 320MB. (128MB x 2.5 = 320MB) The important part though is to set both the minimum and maximum size to this amount, thereby creating an immoveable "swap file". It will be created in the root directory. (c:\)

That answers the question, but there's more to it than just doing this to increase the performance. Before creating this file you'll need to do some system maintenance. First, remove as many programs from running in the background as possible. If you're good at this, you'll end up with only 3 to 5 things running when you hit Ctrl-Alt-Del. Then "Disable" your virtual memory and defrag your system. After defragmenting drive c:, reboot your sys. Then go in and set min. and max to 320MB(2.5 x RAM). It will ask you to reboot again. After rebooting go back into where you were for the virtual memory button. In System Properties, click on the Performance tab. Then click on "File System" and set the role of the system HDD(Hard Drive Disk) as a network sever. This sets the alocated system cache to 4 times the amount of a PC set to desktop use, used for file alocation tables (4K to 16K). I know, too much techno babble. It just increases the size of the area used directly by the CPU to know where frequently used files are so it doesn't have to look it up on the Hard Drive.

I really suggest you grab some more RAM though. Another 128MB DIMM can be purchased cheap from anywhere. Check pricewatch.com


Remember: google search is a computer tech's best friend.

P.S. Pls forgive any spelling errors.

#6 Leurgy

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 05:31 PM

I put my swap file on a different drive. Seems to work alright.

Trouble is, I can't count in nanoseconds. :thumbsup:

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail. Abraham Maslo

**** We use our powers for good, not evil ****

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