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Optimal Swap file size, etc.

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17 replies to this topic

#1
piikea

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I've seen many recommendations on "the best settings" for Swap file but they're ALL different!! Anyone have any ideas based on experience w/ Windows ME?

Recently added RAM (1,280MB total) & not seeing any vast improvement in speed or otherwise. Trying to do everything possible to optimize my system. Perhaps 1.4Ghz processor is inadequate - I don't know.
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#2
Fredledingue

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Unless you are using behemoth applications from famous graphic software vendors (which won't install or would crash on ME anyway), or very poorly designed ones, you will practicaly never make use of swap file again with 1Gb of memory.
So I don't think it's that important, one setting or another given that both work.
This of course if you have set ME properly to work with that amount of ram.

There is no vast improvement in speed. The major advantage of more memory is stability.

Edited by Fredledingue, 12 February 2010 - 12:39 PM.

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#3
Multibooter

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you will practicaly never make use of swap file again with 1Gb of memory. So I don't think it's that important

I beg to disagree. There may be some issues when using huge files < 2GB, or files between 2-4GB with the 4GB file-size patch.

Under Win98SE on my desktop, which has 2GB RAM installed, I have set the swap file to 3888 MB fixed (Minimum=Maximum), just to be on the safe side when handling huge files.

Edited by Multibooter, 12 February 2010 - 03:32 PM.


#4
piikea

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you will practicaly never make use of swap file again with 1Gb of memory. So I don't think it's that important

I beg to disagree. There may be some issues when using huge files < 2GB, or files between 2-4GB with the 4GB file-size patch.

Under Win98SE on my desktop, which has 2GB RAM installed, I have set the swap file to 3888 MB fixed (Minimum=Maximum), just to be on the safe side when handling huge files.


Thanks for everyone's 2 cents on this. Using FAT32 the file size over 2GB won't be an issue. I have Swap file set at 3200 (2.5X amt of RAM) now. Which should be adequate in either case.

I was hoping for a speed increase but stability was also needed so it was worthwhile upping the RAM.

Edited by piikea, 12 February 2010 - 06:10 PM.

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#5
dencorso

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Anything from (1.5 x amt of RAM) up should work OK, AFAIK. From 1.5 x down to 1 x works also, but is more controversial (I use fixed 1:1)... Less than the installed amt of RAM is asking for problems, IMO.

#6
Fredledingue

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you will practicaly never make use of swap file again with 1Gb of memory. So I don't think it's that important

I beg to disagree. There may be some issues when using huge files < 2GB, or files between 2-4GB with the 4GB file-size patch.

Under Win98SE on my desktop, which has 2GB RAM installed, I have set the swap file to 3888 MB fixed (Minimum=Maximum), just to be on the safe side when handling huge files.


Ok. How often do you manipulate files larger than 2 Gb? Never happened to me.

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#7
Arminius

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Recently added RAM (1,280MB total) & not seeing any vast improvement in speed or otherwise. Trying to do everything possible to optimize my system. Perhaps 1.4Ghz processor is inadequate - I don't know.

piikea:

If speed improvement is what you want then you really need to upgrade the CPU. Socket 423 P4's were made up to 2GHz. A second hand one should not be that expensive. It will certainly give you more of a speed boost than the RAM upgrade did. If you recall when it was first released, the 1.4GHz P4 with RDRAM benchedmarked slower than the P3 1.3GHz Tualatin with SDRAM.

I remember when I upgraded my old P3 550MHz from 128MB RAM to 256MB and eventually to 384MB. When I went from 128MB to 256MB there was less swap file activity and it was easier on the hard drive, and I could open larger files, but the additional 128MB bringing it to 384MB was barely noticable. Overall I would say the extra RAM gave an increase in "performance" but not "speed". I did not see the speed gains I had imagined until I replaced the P3 550MHz Katmai with a P3 850Mhz Coppermine.

I recently got for a computer for free with a 2.66GHz P4. 98SE runs really fast on it with only 256MB of RAM, certainly a lot faster than a 1GHz P3 with 512MB of RAM.

When Win98 was first released a lot of computers we sold with only 64MB of RAM. An additional 64MB would increase performance and make it run "faster" but only because 64MB really wasn't enough RAM for Win98 to run very well in the first place. Adding RAM can improve speed but only to a point.

#8
diskless

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Adding more RAM is the best thing you can do to improve performance. The location of the swap file is more important than the size. In my experience, Win98SE doesn't utilise large amounts of RAM properly (I don't know whether ME is any different) so it would be better to use most of it as a RAM drive using XMSDSK. I have 512MB of RAM and 384MB is a RAM drive. You could try a ~800MB RAM drive (depending on your motherboard - please see here). Once you have created your RAM drive, you could put the following things on it:

1. Swap file
2. Temporary files
3. Browser cache
4. Command.com
5. Registry

And if you really want things to fly:

6. Rest of Windows files (in a compressed drive)

And if you have space left over:

7. Apps (in a compressed drive)

Windows running on a RAMdrive is amazingly fast! :)

Edited by diskless, 19 March 2010 - 08:28 AM.


#9
rloew

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There are a few limitations in Windows 9x relating to Swap Space:

Total RAM + Total Swap is limited to 4GiB.
Swap Space appears to be limited to 2GiB.

XMS RAMDisks take up System Arena Space as does the File Cache. Exceeding a few hundred Megabytes is likely to crash unless you lower your MaxFileCache Setting. A 1GiB XMS RAMDisk is impossible. I have written a set of Non-XMS RAMDisks that do not have this limitation. One Version can use 64-Bit Memory, so it is not limited to 4GiB.
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#10
dencorso

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There are a few limitations in Windows 9x relating to Swap Space:

Total RAM + Total Swap is limited to 4GiB.
Swap Space appears to be limited to 2GiB.

I can confirm that. My machine has 3 GiB RAM. I't is divided in a 1.5 GiB Non-XMS RAMDisk (RLoew's) and 1.5 GiB RAM visible to Win 98SE (using RLoew's RAM Limitation Patch). When I attempted to set the PageFile to 3822 MiB (at drive J:\) it resulted in Windows overriding my setting and creating a smaller variable-size swapfile at the default location (i. e. C:\WINDOWS). But it gladly accepts MaxPagingFileSize=1835008 (= 1792 MiB) and creates the swapfile at J:\, as directed. While I did not try to find the actual limit of the MaxPagingFileSize setting, it clearly is less than 3.7 GiB and more than 1.8 GiB.

#11
diskless

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XMS RAMDisks take up System Arena Space as does the File Cache. Exceeding a few hundred Megabytes is likely to crash unless you lower your MaxFileCache Setting. A 1GiB XMS RAMDisk is impossible.


Yes, you are quite correct and I've edited my previous post. I've had an XMSDSK RAM drive of over 800MB working properly with 1GB total RAM, as mentioned in an earlier post.

I don't know whether people with lots of installed RAM (> 1GB) have given up using XMSDSK because of problems they may have had. To avoid these, MaxFileCache must be defined in [vcache] section of System.ini and, very importantly, run ScanDisk with Thorough test to make sure all the clusters on the RAM drive are actually there.

Edited by diskless, 19 March 2010 - 09:40 AM.


#12
rloew

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XMS RAMDisks take up System Arena Space as does the File Cache. Exceeding a few hundred Megabytes is likely to crash unless you lower your MaxFileCache Setting. A 1GiB XMS RAMDisk is impossible.


Yes, you are quite correct and I've edited my previous post. I've had an XMSDSK RAM drive of over 800MB working properly with 1GB total RAM, as mentioned in an earlier post.

I don't know whether people with lots of installed RAM (> 1GB) have given up using XMSDSK because of problems they may have had. To avoid these, MaxFileCache must be defined in [vcache] section of System.ini and, very importantly, run ScanDisk with Thorough test to make sure all the clusters on the RAM drive are actually there.


If you are using the standard HIMEM.SYS and create a large XMS RAMDisk, the problem will appear immediately.
If you use the alternative HIMEMX.EXE instead, the RAMDisk will only use the System Arena space as it fills up so you may not see any problems until you have written hundreds of megabytes into it.

To clarify my earlier Post about RAM + Swap limited to 4GiB. Total RAM refers to the amount of Physical RAM that Windows recognizes. If you have a RAMDisk or limited Memory with MaxPhysPage, Total RAM is less than Physical RAM.

@Dencorso. If you remove your RAMDisk so Windows sees 3GiB of RAM, you will only be able to use 1GiB of Swap.
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#13
dencorso

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To clarify my earlier Post about RAM + Swap limited to 4GiB. Total RAM refers to the amount of Physical RAM that Windows recognizes. If you have a RAMDisk or limited Memory with MaxPhysPage, Total RAM is less than Physical RAM.

@Dencorso. If you remove your RAMDisk so Windows sees 3GiB of RAM, you will only be able to use 1GiB of Swap.

Well, thanks for the heads up. But I'm quite stisfied with the current settings I'm using, and don't intend to change them.
I do find my 1.5 GiB ramdisk quite useful. :yes:

#14
rloew

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To clarify my earlier Post about RAM + Swap limited to 4GiB. Total RAM refers to the amount of Physical RAM that Windows recognizes. If you have a RAMDisk or limited Memory with MaxPhysPage, Total RAM is less than Physical RAM.

@Dencorso. If you remove your RAMDisk so Windows sees 3GiB of RAM, you will only be able to use 1GiB of Swap.

Well, thanks for the heads up. But I'm quite stisfied with the current settings I'm using, and don't intend to change them.
I do find my 1.5 GiB ramdisk quite useful. :yes:

It was not a recommended change. I have a similar setup as yours on one machine myself.
The point was that if Windows itself has access to 3GiB of RAM it will only use up to 1GiB of Swap. Your RAMDisk reduced Windows RAM allowing more Swap to be used.
This is why I only allocated 1Gib for the RAMDisk I put the Swap File in on my 8GiB RAM Machine.
I made one attempt to extend this limit but it failed, so further research is needed.
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#15
dencorso

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It was not a recommended change. I have a similar setup as yours on one machine myself.
The point was that if Windows itself has access to 3GiB of RAM it will only use up to 1GiB of Swap. Your RAMDisk reduced Windows RAM allowing more Swap to be used.
This is why I only allocated 1Gib for the RAMDisk I put the Swap File in on my 8GiB RAM Machine.
I made one attempt to extend this limit but it failed, so further research is needed.

Well, a total address space absolute limit of 4 GiB for 9x/ME makes sense to me.
Of course, if a workaround is found, I'd like to be aware of it, so keep us posted about your research.
BTW, if you want to revise and update the info for the RLoew(7) machine (or any others), do PM me. As it appears now on the list, the swap file ramdisk has less than 1 GiB allocated to it, but that, of course, is due to your letting Win98SE/ME see 3327 MiB, in the reported configuration. Moreover, I understand you have at least one machine dual-booting Win 95, now, and that would be an interesting addition to the list.

#16
rloew

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It was not a recommended change. I have a similar setup as yours on one machine myself.
The point was that if Windows itself has access to 3GiB of RAM it will only use up to 1GiB of Swap. Your RAMDisk reduced Windows RAM allowing more Swap to be used.
This is why I only allocated 1Gib for the RAMDisk I put the Swap File in on my 8GiB RAM Machine.
I made one attempt to extend this limit but it failed, so further research is needed.

Well, a total address space absolute limit of 4 GiB for 9x/ME makes sense to me.
Of course, if a workaround is found, I'd like to be aware of it, so keep us posted about your research.
BTW, if you want to revise and update the info for the RLoew(7) machine (or any others), do PM me. As it appears now on the list, the swap file ramdisk has less than 1 GiB allocated to it, but that, of course, is due to your letting Win98SE/ME see 3327 MiB, in the reported configuration. Moreover, I understand you have at least one machine dual-booting Win 95, now, and that would be an interesting addition to the list.

Extending the 4GiB limit would not help much. The limit would only increase to between 5GiB and 5.6GiB (32-Bit RAM + 2GiB).

There is no need to change my entry. I didn't change it. I haven't thought about the memory size in a while so I just assumed it was 3GiB/1Gib.
The Multiboot of Windows 95 and Windows 95C is on the same machine but is only temporary and requires locking out the main drive. I finally resolved the SATA Problem for Windows 95C so I could put a permanant Partition for it if I want. I have room for 62 bootable Partitions.
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#17
dencorso

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I finally resolved the SATA Problem for Windows 95C so I could put a permanant Partition for it if I want. I have room for 62 bootable Partitions.

Please tell me more about the current capabilities of your SATA patch. I see it has evolved since I originally bought my copy of it (which, unfortunately, I still didn't test, since I've got to postpone finishing the assemblage of my ECS GeForce 6100M-M2 board based machine, due to various more pressing matters).

#18
rloew

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I finally resolved the SATA Problem for Windows 95C so I could put a permanant Partition for it if I want. I have room for 62 bootable Partitions.

Please tell me more about the current capabilities of your SATA patch. I see it has evolved since I originally bought my copy of it (which, unfortunately, I still didn't test, since I've got to postpone finishing the assemblage of my ECS GeForce 6100M-M2 board based machine, due to various more pressing matters).

The Patch itself has not changed since you bought it. It just has been tested in more situations.
I have been doing some testing with LoneCrusader and his FIX95CPU Package.
My test system is SATA based so I had to run in compatability mode up until a couple of days ago.
Windows 95 Device Detection and installation are not the same as Windows 98+, so it took longer than expected.
A somewhat different approach is needed. When I can come up with a suitable procedure that is at least a little bit user friendly, I will release an update.
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