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Windows Windows 7, SSD and what do I do with Page File?

Discussion in 'Software' started by foggy, 27 Nov 2011.

  1. foggy

    foggy What's a Dremel?

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    Hi,

    Just built my first rig with Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium. There is a Crucial M4 128GB SSD installed (latest firmware 0009) but no HDD, due to silly costs at the moment. I have read about disabling the page filing (one such article on Bit-Tech itself can be found here: http://www.bit-tech.net/.../ssd-performance-tweaks-for-vista)

    Before I go on I must mention that I will mostly use this rig for gaming and that I have already disabled defrag, search, superfetch etc.

    I started MW3 and it ran fine but when I closed the game there was a message saying that the PC was running low on memory, I guess due to the page file being disabled. There is 4GB RAM installed.

    My questions: (following extensive search on the web)

    1) Does the page file actually affect the latest SSD's? i.e. constant writing.
    2) Can I set the page file to another drive? e.g. I have a 2GB USB flashdrive and a 150GB external HDD plugged in via USB3 (temp files are set to go on the HDD btw).
    3) If I set the page file to go elsewhere, does Windows 7 still require a page file on the main C:\ drive (SSD)?

    This has probably been asked before so apologies. I did a quick search and found nothing conclusive.

    Many thanks in advance for any advice received!
     
  2. Jester_612

    Jester_612 "Jammy..."

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    1) ?
    2)yes
    3)no

    To make the adjustments go:

    Control Panel\System and Security\System
    Advanced System Settings (requires admin)
    Advenced tab
    Performance Options
    Virtual Memory
    Untick automatic
    and set however
     
  3. Jester_612

    Jester_612 "Jammy..."

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    That's pretty crap of me. I'll tell you what I do know.

    Win 7 supports Trim, but the problem for SSD's is that the rewrites are more damaging than for a HDD. A page file is a very heavy IO so lots of write and rewite actions take place.

    The usb thimbdrive will equally suffer the same as an ssd. So also put the page file to the HDD (if it supports external storage).
     
  4. varkanoid

    varkanoid Professional Dribbler

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    no.

    think about it sensibly, if it did SSD manufacturers would be telling you in the install instructions not to put a pagefile on the SSD. Windows 8 would be coming out with SSD detection so that the pagefile cant doesnt go on the SSD and won't install if you only have a SSD!

    Moving pagefile off the SSD prob to a HDD would prob slow Windows down and make it worse.
     
  5. TheKrumpet

    TheKrumpet Once more, into the breach!

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    This. Sure, there will be increased wear on the SSD, but it shouldn't really be detrimental. Provided you have a decent (4GB+) amount of RAM, your computer really shouldn't be using the pagefile all that much (I'm talking a few times a week maximum here). It was invented as a way to allow programs to be bigger than what was available in raw memory, and this really isn't an issue these days so it's very rarely used.

    One of the biggest speedups you get from an SSD is the fact that the pagefile is on the SSD, as it benefits greatly from the increased speed. Pagefiles, from the IO perspective, tend to be lots of small random reads and larger sequential writes, which SSDs are perfect for. Even so, this is mostly moot with respect to the above paragraph, but the times you do use it will be faster.

    Here's some more information from Microsoft. This is the point in quetion:

     
    Last edited: 28 Nov 2011
    Jester_612 likes this.
  6. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    What others said. If it dies within warranty period, you got the warranty. If it dies outside of warranty period (3-5 years depending on the manufactuer), you usually consider that SSD as "archaic" and wouldn't want to use it anyway. Or would you like to use now a X25-M G1, Corsair P128, Patriot Torqx 128GB or OCZ Vertex 1 120GB ? I don't think so :). Sure, they would work - but the speeds are at totally different level now. And i expect the same in 2-3 years, where you will either have much more space for same price, or major improvements in non-sequential speeds, so the current drives will feel obsolete.
     
  7. foggy

    foggy What's a Dremel?

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    The external HDD is recognised as a drive when I open up the Virtual Memory settings. I previously had set all drives to off but then I set the external HDD to automatic.

    ...when I restarted I got a warning box saying that there was a problem and Windows has 'optimised' the virtual memory settings but when I checked it was exactly the same as before I restarted the PC. So I didn't know if this meant that Windows is using the SSD for page files and just not telling me!

    But from what you guys say it shouldn't matter if page files are written to the SSD - all the information that I found that advises you to disable page filing is at least 2 years old. I don't know if SSD's have got better at handling a lot of writes.

    Found another helpful forum post here: http://forum.crucial.com/.../Windows-Page-File-recommendations-when-using-SSD/...

    Thanks all for your help! Thanks also to TheKrumpet for the link to the MSDN blog, good reading even though my brain is fried after a day at work.
     
  8. Jester_612

    Jester_612 "Jammy..."

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    The life and times of technology:

    "In a similar vein, it's advisable to stop your Vista using a page file (also known as virtual memory) on your SSD." - Harry Butler 27th August 2009

    Bit-Tech needs an updated article then, or have I missed out on these wonderful revelations somewhere over the last 2 years?

    I'm guessing it's the Trim command that's changed this then?

    Krumpet nice info there.
     
  9. JohnEric

    JohnEric What's a Dremel?

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  10. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    vista and xp don't support trim, windows 7 does, thats the important difference
     
  11. murraynt

    murraynt Modder

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    I turned mine off, along with hibernate
     
  12. AstralWanderer

    AstralWanderer What's a Dremel?

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    Another option if you have plenty of memory is to set up a small ramdisk (say 512MB) and place your pagefile on that. A list of ramdisk programs can be found in my post here - only Dataram has problems with pagefiles AFAIK.
     
  13. Ficky Pucker

    Ficky Pucker I

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    Should the pagefile be placed on SSDs?

    Yes. Most pagefile operations are small random reads or larger sequential writes, both of which are types of operations that SSDs handle well.

    In looking at telemetry data from thousands of traces and focusing on pagefile reads and writes, we find that

    Pagefile.sys reads outnumber pagefile.sys writes by about 40 to 1,
    Pagefile.sys read sizes are typically quite small, with 67% less than or equal to 4 KB, and 88% less than 16 KB.
    Pagefile.sys writes are relatively large, with 62% greater than or equal to 128 KB and 45% being exactly 1 MB in size.

    In fact, given typical pagefile reference patterns and the favorable performance characteristics SSDs have on those patterns, there are few files better than the pagefile to place on an SSD.

    sauce
     
  14. mejobloggs

    mejobloggs What's a Dremel?

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    Nice find, thanks for that Ficky!
     
  15. Cleggmeister

    Cleggmeister Of reasonable knowledge...

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    After reading this and a couple of other threads I enabled the pagefile on my SSD; prior it was on a regular hard disc.

    Whether it's coincidence or not I find the machine now less responsive. In general it's about the same, however sometimes freezes for 5-10 seconds when accessing files, shutting down, etc... I'll revert to having the pagefile stores on a regular disc and see what gives...
     
  16. murraynt

    murraynt Modder

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    9gb of ram? Why not just turn it off? I havent noticed anything.
     
  17. Cleggmeister

    Cleggmeister Of reasonable knowledge...

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    System seems better now that the pf is back on the Samsung F3. No benchmarks, purely subjective, but more responsive I reckon.

    I could turn it off Murray, would I gain/lose anything?
     
  18. jimmyjj

    jimmyjj Minimodder

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    I still do not understand why windows feels the need to use the page file at all, when half the time I have at least a couple of gigs of RAM free.

    Why can it not just disable the page file dynamically when plenty of RAM is free on computers with a lot of RAM.

    If a programme starts that quickly requires a lot of RAM, windows should be able to dynamically create a page file only in this situation.

    Maximum speed when RAM is free.
    Maximum stability when free RAM lowers dangerously.

    When legacy programmes require page file usage regardless of free RAM (when they are programmed like this) windows should dynamically create a RAM disk from free ram as a page file when needed - tricking badly written programmes in to thinking they have what they need but maintaining maximum performance.

    If the ram disk escalates out of control then the ram disk can be supplemented with mechanical storage - again dynamically.

    In addition lots of little tweaks could be made to make this more reliable on machines with different amounts of RAM.

    For example windows could build up a profile of programmes RAM usage so it knows what to expect from frequently used programmes. If it sees a heavy hitter coming up it knows whats coming.

    In addition, even though a page file would not be needed a lot of the time, space on your chosen mechanical storage could be "reserved" for the emergency page file. This could be a fast SSD or a section of a HDD that is both defragmented and on a fast location on the platter.

    Imagine this, I am only running a few light programmes and a game - no page file.

    I run a particular programme that require a page file but have plenty of free RAM. Windows creates a RAM disk pagefile on the fly to satisfy this programme.

    Uh oh, this programme has a head fit and starts demanding more RAM, windows extends the page file to mechanical storage.

    I finish with my programme and the page file dynamically disappears.

    Nothing pisses me off more than seeing my hard disk whirring away when I have several gigs of free RAM.

    The next thing in my dream world is that anyone making games without a 64 bit executable (or at the very least native large address aware support) would be fired out of a cannon.
     
  19. murraynt

    murraynt Modder

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    Well I have mine off and I haven't noticed a thing. Been like this since last january.
     
  20. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    ive had pagefile disabled on my rig for a while now. any machine with more than 6GB of RAM will be extremely unlikely to run out of memory unless its used for heavy image/video editing or encoding.

    windows 7 memory management is way better than XPs was (which just dumps EVERYTHING onto the pagefile regardless of how much RAM is free), but windows 7 still insists on using the HDD even when theres memory free. even a fast SSD isnt as fast as your systems RAM.
     

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