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Using on XP a SD card for a part of the swap file

by Dangerotto / August 7, 2008 3:55 AM PDT

I've a mini laptop (Toshiba Libretto U100) with a very low-performance HD (1,8", 4200 rpm) and I'd like to use a SDHC Class6 card like a swap file repository, but XP don't want create it on a removible drive (on Windows 2000, instead, it works very well).
I know that I'll must not remove the SD but infact I intend to use a SD card always IN (the SD slot is PC-internal), like an second hard drive of 4GB. Under "Windows 2000" this usage gave me a great performance improvement during an heavy memory load process (with the internal HD often an intensive swap usage is a very pain).

My SD card reader isn't an USB device but a mini-pci expansion slot (sdbus.sys).

I know that the better choice should be the RAM, but unfortunately my beautifull mini-laptop support at maximum 1GB. For the 90% of the my usage 1GB is a good quantity, but sometimes not. In this latter cases the swap could be a very pain due to the low performance of the 1,8" HD, the use of a good class 6 SD card is better (I can confirm you that because I already use it with Windows 2000; this limit exist only from XP on).

Following a Toshiba indication, the best HD swap solution is with an HD of 60 GB (unfortunately also this with quite low performance), and for this reason that isn't a real good solution.

I've already tried to use/modify the following regkey:
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management,Key = PagingFiles
but without success. It seems that Windows XP doesn't want use a removable disk for the swap file.

How can I force XP to use a removible drive for the swap file (like a local drive)?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 7, 2008 4:13 AM PDT

I'd look for why the OS is "swapping" at all. The performance is so low when this happens that we usually try to find out how we can run with less applications.

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RE: No.
by Dangerotto / August 10, 2008 1:02 AM PDT
In reply to: No.

The heavy swap usage happens when I use a program eager for memory, like a photo editor program or a 7Zip compression or a database elaboration (for the 90% of the time my PC goes well, not for 10%; on Windows 2000 the use of the SD card for 2/3 of the Swap file help me very much, unfortunately on XP I cannot create a swap file on the removable drive).

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The problem I see is...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 10, 2008 1:19 AM PDT
In reply to: RE: No.

ALL SD CARD transfer speeds are a fraction of hard disk speeds. I've measured this so keeping the paging file on the hard disk wins this round.

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Re: The problem I see is...
by Dangerotto / August 10, 2008 5:07 PM PDT

It depends: on "contiguous reads" the performance of an HD are always better but on "random reads" often not. In my cases (with an HD of 1,8" at 4200 rpm) this latter situation is where the SD card is better (and not for only just).

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One seek to the HD, zero fo the SD card.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 10, 2008 11:34 PM PDT

Your choice here but we tried this a long time ago (Windows 2000) and it didn't play to the SD card's advantage. The one seek was indeed 5 mS but the slug transfer speed of the SD card more than made up for the 5 mS seek time lost.

Let's say it's game over and go get more RAM.

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Re: One seek to the HD, zero fo the SD card
by Dangerotto / August 11, 2008 11:30 PM PDT

First of all, my PC can unluckily support at maximum only 1 GB!

Your old attempt/check went bad probably because long time ago the performance of the SD cards weren't good like today. If you look the performance of my PC, like reported in a previous post, you may see that in my case the SD card can help me to reach a more costant performance.

During an elaboration with heavy memory load, my PC swap very much and for a long time, probably in this case the HD is used for small and random reads and writes (I don't know why but this is my situation). During this behaviour under Windows 2000 the SD card helps me very much (you can read, Windows 2000 goes better that Windows XP , but I'd like to swap definitively to XP).

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Toshiba Libretto U100
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 11, 2008 11:52 PM PDT

Your unit hasn't been made for many many years. Nice little device but this explains the sluggish HD performance. Any time you move off the main highway you won't be able to compare performances and more.

Good luck with your Toshiba Libretto U100.

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I'm with Bob on this but ...
by Edward ODaniel / August 11, 2008 5:22 AM PDT

since storage seems to be the actual issue consider shifting some of your apps to the HDSD card to keep adequate room on the HD for the paging file. Might even have room to relocate the "My Documents" and other data "Folders" to the HDSD card too. (whatever you do keep it backed up because most SD cards only have about 10000 read/write cycles assuming they are Multi-Level Cell (MLC) with Wear-Leveling Technology which varies by manufacturer - caches perform many more reads and writes than most applications such as word processing and data spreadsheets)

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Re: I'm with Bob on this but ...
by Dangerotto / August 11, 2008 11:44 PM PDT

I already have adeguate room on the HD (still 10 GB free on 30 GB) and the swap file is of 1,5 GB. I use an SD card (another one) for the documents and for the Pegasus Mail repository and an external firewire HD for the DB, photos, videos, virtual machine, etc.

In spite of that, during an heavy memory load elaboration the SWAP usage is a pain (like workaround sometime I use the external firewire HD like SWAP repository but it isn't always connected whilst the SD card is always inserted).

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Re: The problem I see is...
by Dangerotto / August 11, 2008 11:10 PM PDT

Looking the following benchmark related with my mini laptop (Toshiba
Libretto U100) it can be noted that the HD has a very low performace for "random reads" (up to 128 Kb block size) whilst the SD performance are more constant (if I remember well the swap file works on "4 Kb base"):

Steel Bytes - HD Speed v1.5.3.64

SD Sequential Read Speed 11.04 MB/s
SD Sequential Write Speed 7.24 MB/s

Rundegren Quick Bench v1.1

HD Sequential Read Speed 20.52 MB/s
HD Sequential Write Speed 8.35 MB/s

HD Random Read Speed 512 Bytes: 016,64 ms 030,04 KB/s
HD Random Read Speed 01,00 KB: 018,23 ms 054,87 KB/s
HD Random Read Speed 02,00 KB: 017,00 ms 117,62 KB/s
HD Random Read Speed 04,00 KB: 017,21 ms 232,48 KB/s
HD Random Read Speed 08,00 KB: 017,02 ms 469,92 KB/s
HD Random Read Speed 16,00 KB: 017,79 ms 899,58 KB/s
HD Random Read Speed 32,00 KB: 017,87 ms 001,75 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 64,00 KB: 019,97 ms 003,13 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 128,00 KB: 024,54 ms 005,09 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 256,00 KB: 030,98 ms 008,07 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 512,00 KB: 043,32 ms 011,54 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 1,00 MB: 067,68 ms 014,78 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 2,00 MB: 117,43 ms 017,03 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 4,00 MB: 215,31 ms 018,58 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 8,00 MB: 418,14 ms 019,13 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 16,00 MB: 814,53 ms 019,64 MB/s
HD Random Read Speed 32,00 MB: 1624,32 ms 019,70 MB/s

However, believe me, on my PC the use of a good SD card is generally a very good choice (keep in mind that the inside SD card-reader isn't an USB divice, that isn't a good BUS, but instead a mini-PCI devices).

Under Windows 2000 I use it for the 2GB compressed eBoostr "file caching" (eBoostr is a program that give to Windows 2000 and Windows XP a service like ReadyBoost), for the Internet Explorer cache, for the Mozilla SeaMonkey cache and for 2/3 of the swap file (512 MB on HD and 1GB on the SD).

At the moment under XP I can use it only for the 2GB compressed eBoostr "file caching", for the Internet Explorer cache and for the Mozilla SeaMonkey cache (I hope in the near future also for the swap file).

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And there it is.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 11, 2008 11:18 PM PDT

Why not run Windows 2000?

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Re: And there it is.
by Dangerotto / August 11, 2008 11:55 PM PDT
In reply to: And there it is.

I enough love Windows 2000 (is my opinion that is the best Microsoft SO), but unfortunately Windows 2000 is always less supported. Is destiny that will be abbandoned by the larger part of the software houses (is the will of the Microsoft).

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The Toshiba Libretto U100
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 12, 2008 12:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: And there it is.

Is not supported either. It's just a matter of time till you move on.

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by weboweb / September 11, 2008 10:30 AM PDT

Funny you should ask this Dangerotto since I am on a U105 right now and was just Googling to see if this was possible.

Not sure if I can help with the swap file as I don't even have an SD card yet, but have you tried Sandboxie for other purposes? You can set a sandbox inside the SD card, and any apps you execute within that sandbox write, cache and read from the SD card. On my desktop machine, I reallocated some RAM as a RAMdrive and stored a sandbox on it. It was snappy.

Have you seen the Everun mini note? It's great! Smaller than our Librettos and exceptionally fast.

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Sandboie, could be a good, council.
by Dangerotto / September 11, 2008 9:41 PM PDT
In reply to: Sandboxie

No, I haven't tried Sandboxie for any purposes. I'll try in the near future.

I've have already read something on mini note. Yes, it's very great! I hope to find a reseller in italy to have an italian keyboard layout.

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