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I have 8gigs of RAM in this machine. I never really use more than say 4gigs (includes my virtual machines I use for dev testing).

What can I do with this extra space to best improve system performance?

Some guesses:

  • Improve my disk performance by turning off the pagefile?
  • Improve my disk performance by increasing the disk cache amount?
  • Move temporary folders to a ramdisk?
  • Somehow configure SuperFetch to cache more? (currently 1.5gigs)
  • Any other suggestions??

This is on 64-bit Windows 7.

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Remember you could run another vm or give your current vm more memory. –  Troggy Aug 25 '09 at 22:21

7 Answers 7

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Let Windows manage the memory. It does a much better job than you can, even if you understand how it works, which you probably don't. A RAMDISK is almost always a poor use of memory. Disabling the pagefile will more often than not impair performance.

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1  
I used to disagree with this advice, until I took a class on operating systems and computer architecture. Virtual memory (i.e. paging, which happens to include the hard drive) is something essential to the proper running of nearly every modern consumer operating system. Even though the hard drive is slower than main memory, it still forms an essential portion of the virtual memory subsystem. –  Mike Bantegui Jun 11 '12 at 23:47
    
After all these years, this has turned out to be the most correct answer. –  Nick Whaley Dec 5 '12 at 16:33

Open all your favorite application on window startup. then you can reach them from taskbar. Play many games at cone. Never close them. Just use ALT+TAB when you get bored.

Don't disable windows page file because when you are saving from disk, you are adding more traffic to the ram bandwidth. That would create a bottleneck on the bandwidth when you are using the programs which matter more.

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These days the "slowness" of a PC are most likely caused by your harddisk. You should try to use your ram to tackle this weakness.

Create a big ram disk partition (~3GB), set your frequently used programs to use that partition as temporary drive. You'll be amazed by how fast your programs will become.

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Don't disable your page file. See here.

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This is the kind of gold I post here for. –  Nick Whaley Aug 25 '09 at 22:34
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I disagree. If you're sure that you always have more than enough RAM for everything you run (including program code, data and disk cache) then having a pagefile cannot possibly increase performance. It can only reduce performance, because Windows will preemptively write to the pagefile even though it won't be needed. I have 8GB RAM myself and like the OP, I rarely use more than 3-4GB of it. I see less disk activity with the pagefile disabled. –  EMP Aug 26 '09 at 5:29
    
windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/… –  Molly7244 Aug 26 '09 at 11:41
    
Interesting article, but the reason it gives is rather vague - "Windows tends not to function as reliably". I'd be interested in a bit more detail than that, so I've actually opened a separate question for it: superuser.com/questions/30345/… –  EMP Aug 26 '09 at 23:35
    
@Evgeny: The performance gain of disabling the pagefile is minimal at best, and in most cases completely unnoticeable, unless you're doing some really extreme I/O-bound work. There is simply no reason to disable it. Sure, there is less disk activity, but have you actually noticed a performance gain? I didn't when I tried it. –  Sasha Chedygov Jul 3 '10 at 6:49

Try putting portable Firefox on a ramdisk and enjoy a dramatic speed increase. Dataram is free and saves its contents to hard disk when you shut down the computer (and optionally at regular intervals).

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I tried that and unfortunately I didn't notice much of a speed increase. It started up a bit faster, but that's about it. :( –  Sasha Chedygov Jul 3 '10 at 5:46
    
firefox already keeps a cache on the RAM –  Uğur Gümüşhan Jun 11 '12 at 22:50

move the browser cache to RAM disk.

disabling virtual memory is certainly an option, but may have a negative impact on certain programs that explicitly require paging, but then, it's only a few mouse clicks away to turn back on :)

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If you want, you can try loading some of your most-used programs in a RAM Disk to make them load faster. I tend to just leave it alone and let Superfetch do it's job. When I leave my computer on for a couple days it's not unusual to see it cache 6GB of programs and files.

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Oh, my :) ! 6 GB of programs? –  alex Aug 26 '09 at 8:32

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