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Have 2GB RAM- Reccomended amt.of Virtual Memory?

by Herbo13 / September 6, 2006 5:46 AM PDT

Hi everyone. I have a Dell 4700 running Windows XP Pro w/ 2GB RAM installed. I run a Penitium 4 (3.4 GHZ, I believe), Nvidea 6600 Graphics Card, Creative Live! 24-Bit Internal sound, Printer, Broadband Internet. I also have 2 user accounts set up (which sometimes run simultaneously) and run alot of the normal programs including Panda Internet Security, Microsoft Office and The Sims2 w/ all expansions (HUGE Memory Hog). My Question is- With these specs, what amount of space should I alot to the Virtual Memory to on my C: Drive? Windows recommended amount or should I increase it some (mainly due to the Sims2? I want a quick boot up of course, but also all the least load and stall time possible. I'm kinda new to this so please be specific. Thanks in advance!

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Let Windows do the driving.....
by Michael Geist / September 6, 2006 6:37 AM PDT

many will tweak themselves to the point of agita with this one.

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I agree
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 6, 2006 11:38 PM PDT

I would let Windows manage it.

With 2GB of RAM you will rarely need additional virtual memory, although even with my 2GB RAM I do see that VM is always in use, even with more than 3/4 of my RAM free.

With graphic intensive games I believe the clue is the amount of memory your graphics card has. I don't know if your nvidia 6600 card is top of the range or lower. That's not my expertise. But you can check the rating of your card against others in Google.


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Reply to: Have 2GB RAM- Reccomended amt.of Virtual Memory?
by Psibeastie / September 7, 2006 7:47 PM PDT

What I would try first is to turn off paging entirely and see if you run into memory allocation issues (most probably not with 2GB RAM).
This is how I run most of my computers, as this way the O/S and apps all run in physcial RAM rather than paging to/from the hard disks - removes the paging performance hit!!

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by navic99 / September 8, 2006 1:31 AM PDT

I have 2GB RAM and have turned off virtual memory. It's rare that the pc will ever need more than 2GB memory and like Psibeastie says, you won't have the paging performance hit. So far, no performance issues for me...course I don't have Sims!

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by Herbo13 / September 8, 2006 2:30 AM PDT
In reply to: .....agreed

Thanks for all the advice, guys. I'm gonna try turning off the Paging and see if there are any problems with the machine. Otherwise, I'll just let windows manage it. Thanks again!

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One thing to add...
by r atherton / September 8, 2006 10:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

I agree with the other posts in this thread about turning the paging file completely off. But before you do that, use your computer as you normally would for a few hours opening all the programs & games you normally would then press CTRL-ALT-DELETE at the same time.

The Task Manager will pop up. Click on the Performance tab. In the bottom left you'll see Commit Charge and Peak. This is the maximum amount of ram that was used at any one time while your computer has been on.

If that number goes over 2GB then you should keep paging on to avoid crashes. If it's safely below 2GB then go ahead and turn the paging file off.

Good luck!

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Plenty Enough
by _computerized_ / September 8, 2006 11:58 AM PDT

Dude, you've got plenty enough memory. 2 GB can run most, if not all, the most recent games such as Counter Strike, Halo, etc. Sims is no problem at all compared to those things. Not to mention that you've got a pretty sweet computer, too. Silly

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We All Have Regrets!
by Dr. Planarian / September 7, 2006 9:41 PM PDT

Windows XP is quite competent at handling virtual RAM and you should let it do it for you. Once upon a time, back in the olden days before sophisticated O/S features were capable of setting these specs automatically, the general rule of thumb was that Virtual Memory should be set to 2X RAM, but of course back then RAM was measured in Ks rather than Ms or Gs.

But I notice that you have a "Penitium 4." Don't be too hard on yourself with your penitence. As soon as you buy anything these days it's already obsolete, and the new Duo2s are something we'll all want until we actually obtain one, and then we'll regret that we didn't wait for the quads.

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Well sims 2 isnt exactly a memory hog
by konwiddak / September 8, 2006 4:27 AM PDT

Sims 2 is not a particularly high tech game, if you are getting any slow down at all on your computer specs even with only 512MB of ram there is something seriousely wrong somewhere.
Also if you are checking your memory usage and see that for example you are using 1GB of space out of 2GB whist someone elses computer with 1GB of ram is only using 500mb space does not mean any aplications are being memory hogs. RAM is there to be used and if you have the extra space your computer will use as much of it as possible, windows may well cut back when using games on the usage.

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If you want to set it manually...............
by Trance_Zac / September 8, 2006 7:54 PM PDT

The formula is simple

1 GB = 1,024 MB
2 GB = 2,048 MB


Min - 2,048 X 1.5 = 3,072

Max - 2,048 X 3 = 6,144

I NEVER let XP set this - always set manually

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Thanx Tranny_Zac!
by DeadBeatDad / February 18, 2014 8:09 AM PST

lol You Are The King! Just What I Was Looking For! No-One Explained It As Simple As You!

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Since someone else
by Jimmy Greystone / February 18, 2014 10:16 PM PST
In reply to: Thanx Tranny_Zac!

Since someone else dredged up this old thread...

The above "formula" for virtual memory/swap space is very old and outmoded. It came into being out of a well-intentioned but ultimately misguided attempt to try and conserve HDD space in the days when you would have a HDD of well under 1GB and so space was at a premium. Along the way, people figured out that this was a "trick" that professional photo and video editors would use to improve performance, but the fact that these people had dedicated secondary drives for this use, which was the real source of any meager performance benefit they might have achieved, tended to get left by the wayside because there are all too many people out there who will regurgitate half-remembered "tips" in an attempt to sound a lot more skilled than they are. If any of those people had any concept of a state known as thrashing, they never would have recommended those settings.

The best method is also the easiest one, which is to let Windows manage it. It will grow/shrink based on need. You're far less likely to encounter a trashing state that way, which is an added bonus since it makes your computer all but unusable. You will frequently find the last few people who desperately try and cling to this bit of outdated advice bring up another bit of technical knowledge that they stole from somewhere without truly understanding, claiming that you need to keep at least 10% of your drive free or it causes some kind of mysterious problems with Windows. If you think about it, if you have a HDD that's 500MB, idling 10% of it is only 50MB and seems fairly reasonable. If you have a 1TB drive, you're talking about idling around 100GB and you can see how the idea doesn't scale very well. Besides, Windows doesn't care how much free space you have. It doesn't matter if every last byte is used on a drive, so long as that is all the more the computer requires at that time. If you need so much as a single byte more, you'll find yourself in a thrashing state, but if you have exactly 1MB of free space and the computer only needs exactly 1MB of additional swap, you're fine. There's no special magic number for how much free space you need. I wouldn't recommend running things close to the wire, but there's not exactly any particular reason you couldn't if you were so inclined.

Also, the best thing you can do to reduce the amount of swap file used is to add more physical RAM. Swap is only used when physical RAM is exhausted, so more physical RAM mean less swap used.

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Don't get into a fuss about nothing.
by goegoe / September 8, 2006 9:05 PM PDT

your PC is such powerful , that software is not burdensome at all , if your sys recommend you that your virtual memory is problemsome , it means that your PC may have some problem in installation , for example, if your display card is loose or the external connection is loose , the information may be the same that your PC 's virtual memory is insufficient , so your so good PC has not some virtual memory problem , you dont think it at all .

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Have 2GB RAM- Reccomended amt.of Virtual Memory?
by [STORM] / September 9, 2006 10:24 AM PDT

Hi mate donot worry to much about your memory problem it is easyley solved i hand a silmer problem when burning dvd's or cd's nero just sucked up all my memory i have 4000+ sd amd and 2 gb memory on 3rd eye abit motherbord ati 850 pro 256 memory so the way i soved this proble is verry easy just go to google and type in FreeMem and download the progam run it try it this will balance out your processer and your memory and you can set it up manluay for any progam have fun if you need any help send me a email to . Storm

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Think about the disk cache
by mikebliv / September 14, 2006 1:26 AM PDT

One reason to ditch the page file is to avoid running applications from getting paged to disk and thus decreasing access time.

One reason to keep a page file is that by paging unused applications (and you do get a few such as those that sit idle on your system tray) Windows gets to use your memory as a disk cache and actually decrease the disk access time of whatever is ACTUALLY running.

If you swap back and forth between lots of programs, maybe the first option is better for you. If you use only a few programs at a time, then maybe the second one is better.

I've got 2Gb RAM myself and haven't really noticed much difference on the first option so I went with the second one. I can't be bothered to actually benchmark it and know once and for all what is better, but I do run lots of disk-intensive operations (e.g. processing video files) that I think a disk cache is theoretically a better use for my extra memory (assuming Windows actually makes efficient use of it).


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