View Full Version : A question on hard drive configuration
Once we have comparisons between AM-2 and Conroe I've decided it's upgrade time.
The machine will be single user, mostly light stuff with a few bouts of Quake IV and the like thrown in for good measure.
The problem centers around the eternal question of page file I suppose.
Currently I'm planning for three WD740GD Raptors addressed as individual drives (none of this RAID-0 shite thankyou).
Drive 1 - C ; O/S and applications
Drive 2 - D ; Page File, E ; Music files, downloads and My Documents type stuff
Drive 3 - F ; Games
It will be a 4800X2 or better class processor with 2GB ram and 1:1 pagefile on effectively it's own drive so as minimize seek times and allow concurent access when running either apps or games.
My question is do any of you think this three drive arrangement is overkill?
Would I perceive a performance difference if logical drives C, D, and E were consolidated onto a single physical and logical drive, or placed the pagefile on the same physical and logical drive as games? (I am aware that a dedicated page file partiton actually increases seek times on an in-demand drive)
Given the total system cost I'm looking at is ~$A6,500, the $A250 cost of a third drive is a none issue if it brings a perceivable improvement in performance.
It's a long time ago when the location of the pagefile mattered to me. (if it really matters for performance, you'd better buy even more memory instead of harddisks)
But the rule for pagefiles is quite simple: Put it on the most used partition of the least used drive.
I don't see any reason for a special pagefile partition. Just make sure ithe pagefile has a decent minimum size so it won't get fragmented and it should be fine.
If an application is using a drive heavily and also paging, you will get a decent performance boost by having the pagefile on another drive then the drive the application is using. (remember that well from my OS/2 days)
I wouldn't get a seperate OS drive for performance reasons. Once the OS is loaded all important files are in memory anyway. The OS drive will have very little activity at all.
I think you'd be better off with one WD1500 and one WD740.
OS and apps are on a 4GB partition on my PC :)
really, worrying that much about the pagefile is so 1995.
raptor 150GB :
- a 8GB or so C:\ for windows + apps in program files
- a D:\ with fixed 1GB or 2GB pagefile.sys set after windows installation, and games
or after windows installation, you disable filepage, reboot, defragment the C:\, and set it fixed size in the C:\, it should never move/be fragmented.
a 250GB hitachi HDD (or better, two in RAID1 for security)
- E:\ for music and data
You want performance ?
One thing has intriuged me a while back and I havent heard much about it, was and Intel chipset only feature called Matrix Raid.. iirc it offered mirroring and striping on the same array using only 2 Disk drives.. sounded really interesting however given that I use solely AMD CPUs (A64 and Opteron X2) that of course is a no go.
One Motherboard in the past I loved was the Abit AT7 Max. Had your usualy 2 channel IDE (VIA) but was also one of the only motherboards I found that used Highpoint 374 disk controller, the very same used in the 4 channel PCIx solution.. gave 4 channels, each with 2 drives.. so theorectically you could have 12 drives. IIRC HPT Offered Raid 0, 1 , 0+1, 5, 10 and JBOD. I loved that board but hated that it was VIA chipset.
Probably redundant, but why not just use 2 GB of RAM and turn off the pagefile completely and be done with it? Or, if your MB supports it, use 3 GB and the bootflag to enable that. Windows won't be able to use more memory anyway.
Thankyou muchly for responses.
In no particular order....
but why not just use 2 GB of RAM and turn off the pagefile completely
The lads at Storage Review have many threads on the subject which in the end give no definitive answer beyond if in any doubt, keep the pagefile, and at a 1:1 ratio to memory. Even if the pagefile is only used sparingly, when it is used I would image the circumstances are such that it's really, really needed.
worrying that much about the pagefile is so 1995.....It's a long time ago when the location of the pagefile mattered to me.
I'm estimating what will give the most performance based on my current single drive 512MB system, I have no hands on experience of a high powered mutidrive system with lots of memory. I know that with relatively few open apps the system can get sluggish, based on that, i'm hesitant to keep the pagefile on the same physical drive as O/S and applications, and given games will the most demanding thing I'm likely to run I'm also hesitant to place it on the same drive as them, hence, three drives. Likewise, I know full well a Raptor for music is pathetic overkill, but locking a page file patition to the outer cylinders of such a low demand drive I would think would yeild maximum performance.
One word: RAMdrive
Yes, i did consider it but for ~$A500 I really don't think it's worth it.
I think you'd be better off with one WD1500 and one WD740....
raptor 150GB :
a 250GB hitachi HDD
Two drives was the original idea, but three WD740's cost very little more than a WD740 and a WD1500, (and actually offer better seek and boot times than the newer Raptor). It agains comes back to lack of experience with a high performance system, would I get a perceivable improvement in responsiveness with three drives over two.
I'm estimating what will give the most performance based on my current single drive 512MB system, I have no hands on experience of a high powered mutidrive system with lots of memory. I know that with relatively few open apps the system can get sluggish . . .
you're going to quadruple your RAM and have dual processor, that's fare more important than the pagefile ;)
I'd go for 1 150GB Raptor and a monster second drive for bric-a-brac, if you're feeling 150GB isn't enuf for you to live on.
I've got the 150GB Raptor (which is faster than the 74gb by a not-insifgnifcant amount, if you're all about the speed), tho my second drive is my old drive I've just decided to keep around to stuff backups on from time to time.
But then the old drive was 160GB anyway, and as two partitions --1 150GB partition actually feels roomier.
2GB RAM. VM set at 2GB min, but I don't pay too much attention to it. It does seem to get used a bit, but doesn't seem problematical.
X2 4200 @ 2650 (at the moment --I'm still futzing around up and down on this).
Edit: Ahhh, back to 2750 now, and with a good bit of 3DMing to confirm it's stable so far. Had an issue last week, but I think its figured out now. :grin:
If you have a pagefile, it will always be used. The main part of the kernel is always swapped, needed or not. Which is probably the most used piece of memory. Even if you have more than 1.5 GB of RAM free. And Windows will always use a significant bit of your ram for a disk cache, mostly to speed up access to the swapfile, as that is the most used disk access. So, with 2 GB of ram, you would end up with an unneeded swapfile, which is buffered completely in the disk cache in any case.
And I think using a ramdisk to store your swapfile is extremely silly: not only is it much more expensive and much slower than not using one in the first place, but it will result in much less available memory for applications.
If you have a pagefile, it will always be used. The main part of the kernel is always swapped, needed or not. Which is probably the most used piece of memory.
This is nonsense.
If you have a pagefile, it will indeed be used. But it will be used to swap out things that are not used.
Never to swap out parts that are used a lot. So the main part of the kernel is not swapped out!
Lots of things get loaded in memory when you start windows, that are rarely used. Drivers for scanners for example.
It is a GOOD thing that those objects are swapped to the pagefile!
Even if you have more than 1.5 GB of RAM free.
I don't care how much RAM I have free.
When items are not used, I want windows to move them to the swapfile. No sense in those objects staying in RAM.
You probably bought 2GB ram for a reason. So it's wise to cleanup your RAM in advance, so that you don't have to start doing it when that application that actually uses that amount of RAM wants to use it.
If you are ABSOLUTLEY SURE, that you will NEVER EVER use all your RAM, then you might consider turning of the swapfile.
It's not efficient, your memory will be more fragmented and will contains lots of stuff that is never accessed.
But since you aparantly bought far more RAM then you need, it doesn't matter that it is not efficient.
And Windows will always use a significant bit of your ram for a disk cache, mostly to speed up access to the swapfile, as that is the most used disk access.
It's time you actually start monitoring your system, so that you will see that the swapfile is NOT accessed that much.
Ok, so I just tested it. Seeing is believing, right?
With 1.5 GB memory and a large swapfile, I have 1 GB available after startup.
With 1.5 GB memory and no swapfile, I have 1.2 GB available after startup.
And without a swapfile, my laptop responds much snappier.
What's the use of all that memory if you don't put it to good use?
Then again, 1.2 GB isn't enough for Oblivion. It might be just a random crash, but it seems it doesn't check for out of memory conditions.
So, with less than 2 GB, you need a swapfile to play Oblivion...
I find that running the pagefile on a different physical drive than the one the OS is installed on improves the OS' responsiveness, especially if you have enough main memory so you can disable executive paging.
Swapfile sorcery is not quite up there with pointing at the PSU for. . .well. . .anything at all. . . Not quite, anyway. But I must admit I quit worrying about it some years ago.
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