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Old 03-30-2010, 02:38 PM   #1
TheWeaselLord
 
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Question Steam Page File Usage

When I launch Steam I always get a balloon notification telling me that my page file is "too low" despite my having only used ~340MB of RAM out of 4GB. Why does Steam unnecessarily swap (page?)?

OS: Microsoft Windows XP x64 Edition
CPU: Intel Core2 Quad Q6600
RAM: 4GB DDR3 2000MHz DC
Page file: 32 to 64 MB
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:44 PM   #2
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Just a tip, it's completely unnecessary to even touch the pagefile on a modern system. Just leave it at system managed. There's no benefit to be had by turning it off or putting at a low number.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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Steam doesn't page, Windows does. Just set the number to 1GB and leave it at that
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masta121 View Post
Just a tip, it's completely unnecessary to even touch the pagefile on a modern system. Just leave it at system managed. There's no benefit to be had by turning it off or putting at a low number.
I've been hearing this a lot lately, and I agree to the no or low pagefile size, but I would still prefer to set it at a fixed size. The reason for this is that in case Windows has to expand the pagefile under the self managed option, you'll get the pagefile fragmented. Personally I have mine set at a fixed size of 4GB.

But to the OP, 32 to 64 MB is way too little. If you want to read more, here are some articles:
http://blogs.technet.com/markrussino...7/3155406.aspx
http://lifehacker.com/5426041/unders...dnt-disable-it

Last edited by Aezay: 03-30-2010 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:34 PM   #5
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4GB min/max is a much better solution. If you have to set it to 2GB min (2048) and 4GB max (4096). This really only applies to XP users or those with an older OS. If you have Vista/Win7 and over 2GB of physical ram, you shouldn't need to ever touch the page file.

First set page file to none, set, apply, reboot.
Defrag your HDD so there is a good chunk of free space that is altogether to make room for your page file.
Once this is complete, manually setup your page file. Most apps require 2GB minimum so no matter how much ram you have, I wouldn't go below 2GB as your minimum. Once you've manually setup your page file entries, set, apply and reboot. On your next startup, the page file will have been created, at which you should no longer get errors about "low virtual ram".
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:25 AM   #6
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If you absolutely have to have a defragged page file, use:

PageDefrag

Another benefit here is that it offers registry defragmenting.

I guess if your system is in poor enough shape you could justify the use of this. Otherwise, one should rarely ever need to defrag these files. If you bump up the size of your page file and it has two contiguous chunks, this is an instance where a defrag of the page file is not warranted. One fragment is hardly worth worrying about.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:29 AM   #7
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Pretty simply put, let Windows manage the page file. There's esoteric cases where tweaking it may improve performance and gaming isn't one of them. Oh, and don't turn it off!
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Grüven View Post
Pretty simply put, let Windows manage the page file. There's esoteric cases where tweaking it may improve performance and gaming isn't one of them. Oh, and don't turn it off!
Agreed. But sometimes it's not necessarily about performance as much as it is about drive space. If you have 12GB RAM, Windows would likely be using an 18GB page file. If this is in a gaming system, it's likely that a lot of that 18GB would never be touched. Bumping it down a little would conserve a little drive space, though I feel that if you don't need Windows taking up 18GB for the page file, then you probably didn't need 12GB RAM to begin with.

If someone is intent on doing it themself, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. The article written by Mark Russinovich posted earlier in this thread is great reading. This should also help those out to manually manage their page file:

How to determine the appropriate page file size for 64-bit versions of Windows
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Old 03-31-2010, 12:12 PM   #9
Grüven
 
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I have 12 gigs of memory on one of my Win7 machines, and the currently allocated page file size is 12 gigs. Also, unless you're using an SSD, disk space is very, very inexpensive.

Last edited by Grüven: 03-31-2010 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 03-31-2010, 12:19 PM   #10
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The days are long gone where it is advantageous to set a static swapfile size, even in XP. If you are going to set the size, it should really be at least slightly larger than your addressable memory for system functions to work correctly in the event of a BSOD.

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Old 03-31-2010, 03:41 PM   #11
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I'll just increase the swap file's size. I figured by making it small I'd force Windows to use my uber fast memory rather than my disk; no other program causes these complaints and doing this on Linux makes my computer crazy fast (and still leaves a little swap in case the kernel wants it for some reason or another).
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWeaselLord View Post
I'll just increase the swap file's size. I figured by making it small I'd force Windows to use my uber fast memory rather than my disk; no other program causes these complaints and doing this on Linux makes my computer crazy fast (and still leaves a little swap in case the kernel wants it for some reason or another).
Yeah steam doesnt matter when it comes to page files.. but when running a program it matters..

I also manually set the page file...but I go the extra mile and create a 4gig FAT32 partition just for the page file on the fastest drive possible, or 2 2gig FAT32 partitions on 2 fastest drives with 1 page file each..

I dont care what operating system your running ..doing it that way makes the system run more smoothly and possibly faster..
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:58 PM   #13
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create a 4gig FAT32 partition just for the page file on the fastest drive possible
Mind you, this needs to be the first partition on the HDD. If it's the last partition it will be on the slowest part.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Silicon Vampire View Post
The days are long gone where it is advantageous to set a static swapfile size, even in XP. If you are going to set the size, it should really be at least slightly larger than your addressable memory for system functions to work correctly in the event of a BSOD.
Up to the limit of 4096MB per drive in 32-bit windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad_Motha View Post
4GB min/max is a much better solution. If you have to set it to 2GB min (2048) and 4GB max (4096).
I second this for Windows XP.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:15 PM   #15
bes
 
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Mind you, this needs to be the first partition on the HDD. If it's the last partition it will be on the slowest part.
Unless that drive is an SSD...then it shouldnt matter..

Like mine is on 4x OCZ_Agility series 60gig SSD's in RAID0 :-P
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