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Paging File, Do I Really Need It?

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#1
I was wondering if you really neeed your disk paging file. when I go to turn it off Windows XP gives me a message about debugging and how if i have less than 200mb of paging file if a STOP error occurs it cant write a debug report. This doesn't bother me as I don't tend to read the debug report. I have a gig of memory and always seem to have loads free but windows is using paging file anyway. I don't reckon it would be dangerous to have no paging file but is it likely to serverely hamper my performance? I'm tired of my harddrive grinding away on the pagefile when theres enough physical memory left for it to use. Has anyone actually tried turning their virtual memory off?
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#2
If you have a shitload of RAM you don't need it, though various programs like Photoshop do require one, they won't run without.
I suggest you keep it, place it on a fast drive though.
 
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#3
Windows is designed to use a page file, even if you have 4GB RAM. The best practice is to always have 2GB memory available to Windows. So if you have 1GB RAM your swap file should be approx. 1GB. 512MB should have a 1.5GB swap file. Although this is just a guide. But, even if you have 2GB RAM, you should not set it lower than 300MB I think. I have 1GB RAM and 1GB swap file and it works fine. ;) And yes, put it on a fast drive or a smaller partition to speed up your swap file performance.
 
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#4
I don't actually have a spare drive or partition to try that out but I'll try changing the size of it. Maybe I'll even do some benchmarks comparing results and framerates with paging file off and on. See what sort of difference it makes.
 

Solaris17

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#5
i uped my page file to two gigs and my games run smoother visualy it was @ like 250mb and @ the time i had 384mb ram and i was playing far cry!
 
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#6
here you can see some screenshots and have included the detailed excel tables from both my PCMark04 Benchmarks and my 3dMark05 Benchmarks.
As you can see the differences are not that great with the difference between the PCMark results being just 28 marks for the memory test and 58 for the hard drive test. Then in the 3dMark tests the difference was just 8 marks.
I performed al tests with the same processes running and just after a fresh reboot each time only changing the paging file size.
My system specs can be seen below.

My next tests will be on UT2004 as that is the highest detail full game i currently own. I will post my results later.
 

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#7
Well an hour and a half and a whole bunch of benchmarks later we have some results.
In each case having paging file turned on has increased the framerate. By a small amount at low resolutions and by a larger amount at high resolutions.
So yes I suppose paging file is useful. I tested using a gig of paging file as suggested by zAAm and found that at the higher resolutions it does indeed make a difference. How it does this I have no idea and don't really care but the difference is measurable.
Back to my original question do "I" really need paging file turned on, the answer for me would be no. I don't currently play lots of the latest high res, top quality games out there (Far Cry, Battlefield 2, Doom3). Nor do I use applications such as Paintshop Pro or Photoshop that often.
Whether you need paging file is upto you and your individual needs. For now I'm going to carry on without it as my gaming is all done at 1024x768 through a TV set.
Thoough in 9-12 months time when we have the new AMD DDR II line of processors and I'm left with some redundunt DDR RAM chips perhaps we will be able to make use of them and hopefully turn to a revised version of the Gigabyte RAM drive card which could prove itself to be very useful!
 

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#8
Okay, but how big is your hard drive? You can't even spare 300MB on a pagefile? Why wouldn't you want one, even if it doesn't make that big a difference? It'll probably make a difference everytime you run big apps like photoshop and even excel with big spreadsheets. Now looking at your specs, do you mean to tell me you have a small harddrive? lol. But it's your decision still. ;)
 
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#9
I would recommend using a pagefile - like zAAm says, I have mine equal to 2gigs (RAM + Page File). Mine is on the same drive - as it acts as extra RAM, obviously the faster the drive the better. And from your specs. There are no benefits from having it turned off in my experience, in theory it could slow your system as the computer uses it for extra RAM, but generally for games and so on windows will use all the available memory first. If you can't spare 500mb - 1gig of RAM I'd be surprised.
 
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#10
Its not that I can't spare it its just that windows tends to use my pagefile when i still have loads of RAM left which leads to excessive grinding of the disk as it moves data in and out.
Ive got plenty of room on my 200gb hard drive. :D
Jus think the drives time would be better spent moving game data in and out as opposed to acting like extra RAM space.
Maybe i should get a Gigabyte i-RAM. :)
 

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#11
yes you want a swap file ..
without swap: 1 gb memory ... 200 used by windows - 800 left .. no matter whats happening
with swap: 1 gb memory .. 200 used by windows, can get swapped out - 1gb left for apps
 
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#12
Well i gonna stick wivout for now. I'm the stubborn type see. Don't conform to the norm!! :p lol!
It isn't gonna hurt my system anyway. So I shall continue my no paging fileness in my own stubborn way. It makes my hard drive work less and keeps it nice and quiet. have an idea tho. gna get a 1gig usb flash drive and use that for paging file. Its slower but at least its quiet.
 
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#15
Is someone itching for an "I told you so" moment?? :p
 

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#16
NAH I don't wish any bad on anyone here!! , well except whoever rated my rig with (1) in the CM gallery lol geez... I hope that doesn't get me a dozen more. :D
 

Bf3killa

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#17
I have a quadcore a600 amd processor. Xfx 6770radeon 14g. Ram. 1 therabyte HD. Is turning off paging affect this PC.