Qustion about Page Files...

Posted on 2006-06-08
Last Modified: 2010-04-26

If i have a system that has the following:

2GIG 400Mhz DDR
1 40gig 7200rpm  SATA HD

and installed the OS on the SATA drive to make it the C:\

THEN added a 2nd hd,  an 250gig 7200 RPM  EIDE drive as primary on IDE 1.

How much of a change in performace would I see if I took say a 5-8gig chunk out of the ide and made it another partition and had windows use it as the place to store and use the page file?  (swap file same thing as page file?)

Question by:mrchaos101
    LVL 70

    Accepted Solution

    There would be some benefit, but whether it's noticeable or not is debateable.   But a dedicated swap file partition does give you some performance edge if it's positioned correctly ...

    If you're going to do that, do it BEFORE you use the 2nd drive for anything else (or use a partition manager that allows you to "slide" partitions, so you can free up space at the BEGINNING of the 250GB drive -- Boot-It NG would do this nicely).   What you want to do is create a partition for the swap file as the FIRST partition on the large drive (doesn't need to be "5-8GB";  just whatever size you want for your swap file -- although you can leave some extra space in case you ever add memory and want to increase the swap file size).

    The reason you want the swap file to be the FIRST partition on the hard drive is simple:  all modern drives use zoned sectoring => there are more sectors on the outer tracks (which are the lowest -- e.g. "first" -- logical sectors) than on the inner tracks.   So the transfer rate is appreciably higher from the outer tracks than on the inner tracks.   That's why you'll see a fairly large range of transfer rates with utilities like HDTune as the head moves across the disk.   So for the BEST performance, you want the swap file to be on the outermost tracks -- thus you should make its partition the first one on the disk.

    Some will probably comment about using the slower IDE interface for a swap instead of the faster SATA.   Don't worry about it.   The difference is (a) nominal;  and (b) only applies to a very small % of the data transferred - since only data in the disk's buffer will ever transfer at the interface rate; and (c) the advantage of the higher sustained rate from a partition on the outer tracks will FAR outweigh the few milliseconds you might save with a quicker emptying of the drive's buffer (IF the data you needed was even in it).
    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    I would say offhand that you would see a slight improvement, but it depends on how much your OS drive is being accessed.  If your OS drive was not being accessed much, moving the pagefile would not gain you much; if it were accessed a lot and your RAM was close to being all used, it would make the most difference.

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