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pafefile swap files

Posted on 2011-09-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
A question about how they work...

If I have a 10krpm with an OS installed on it, and I also own another 10krpm drive and two slower 7200rpm which would be better:

by the way... assume that I do not want to use any form of raid....

1.
Install my apps on the other 10krpm drive (a D drive).  Use one of the 7200 rpm drives just for a pagefile drive (An E drive).  Set up a windows-managed page file on the C drive and on the E drive.  In this case would windows use the page file on my E drive most of the time?  I thought I read somewhere that it would default to useing whichever pagefile is on the fastest drive.  In this example case I want it to use the pafefile on E because even though it is a slower drive, it never gets fragmented and is always ready for use (there is no data installed).  I only keep a pagefile on C so that it can create minidumps etc.

2.
Install my second 10k rpm drive as a pagefile drive only (D).  Setup windows-managed swap files on C and D.  Windows should use the pagefile on D most all the time - it is on one of the fastest drives and will always be ready (no data installed on that drive).  Then install my apps on one of the slower 7200rpm drives.  
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Question by:santaspores1
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xwizzard earned 500 total points
ID: 36568257
The windows page file acts like a cache for processes loaded into the system memory (RAM).
It allows windows to use the Hard Drive as a "memory extension" on systems with limited RAM.
Although a larger page file can allow you to run more programs simultaneously, it will decrease
the performance of your system. RAM speed will always be faster than Hard Drive access speeds.
instead of trying to use your whole drive as a virtual memory store you would be better served by
adding more RAM. An SSD is also an option for increasing your access times, SSDs are better for
random access and if you have a SATA II or better controller you will find the boot and access
speeds much higher when installed as the system (OS) drive.

If you are interested in performance, installing your programs and operating system on the 10k RPM
drives will be faster, but the page files should be left on each drive in order for them to operate
efficiently. The Hard Drive access speeds are limited to the controller speed, dividing the page file
between the two drives will allow faster access speeds - similar to the way a RAID 0 (Striped Array)
works.

I personally prefer to disable the pagefile options on systems with 4GB or more of RAM, that way
windows is forced to use the faster RAM instead of wasting processor time on writing RAM cache
information to the Hard Drive(s).

If you are looking into enthusiast / performance solutions you might find "Hard Drive / SSD Hybrid"
drives like Seagate's Momentus XT interesting. The SSD acts as a cache for the whole drive
speeding up random access but retaining the larger size and lower price of standard Hard Drives
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Author Closing Comment

by:santaspores1
ID: 36569002
xwizzard

Thanks for that good information!  I appreciate it.
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