Re: OT...RAM Question

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Posted by wws ( on 08:55:14 02/15/08

In Reply to: OT...RAM Question posted by gorilla bob

: ... does a swap file this much larger than physical ram slow things way down, and would instlling more RAM help speed things up at this point...

Assuming you are running some windoze variant, you can simply bring up the task manager (type control/alt/del, and click on the 'task manager' radio button) to get memory usage. Click on the 'Processes' tab, then click on the 'Mem Usage' column. This sorts the display to show the largest processes at the top.

The question to be answered is how 'oversubscribed' memory is. When physical memory gets full, the OS starts to 'page' out 'least recently used' pieces of memory out to the swap file.

For a lot of the background processes, that just wake up every now and then, you'll never feel the difference when some or all of their pages get swapped out. But, for example, if your web browser has hogged enough physical memory that your email application has gotten paged, you will 'feel' it when you start using your email program again. It takes a few seconds for the proper pages to get paged back into memory. Obviously the more physical memory your system has, the less paging it will need to do.

The size of the swap file needs to be big enough to properly hold a reasonable number of paged out processes. A good rule of thumb is that it should be at least as big as your physical memory. In the olden days we used to say it should be 3x to 5x physical memory. But given how cheap memory is these days, large memories are the norm.

BTW, #1 Son makes a good point. Vista is *huge*. They spec at least 1 gb of memory. But they have so much stuff going on in the desktop, that I'd recommend 2 gb (these days its only a few dollars...) for even a minimal system.

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