Virtual memory. Is there any advantage in installing an additional hard
drive to be used entirely as virtual memory?
Hard drive for virtual memory
Entirely as virtual memory? No, absolutely not.
Virtual memory should be on the order of magnitude of the amount of RAM in your system. At most, maybe two or three times that. If you’ve got an 8 GB machine then you’re talking – at most – 16 or 24 GB of virtual memory. At most: at an absolute most!
Given hard drives these days are in the hundreds of GB of space, that is an awful waste of space if you’re using it only for virtual memory.
Maximize computer performance
My recommendation, if you’re trying to maximize performance on a machine, is to put enough RAM in it so that you don’t need virtual memory: so that virtual memory, however much you happen to assign, isn’t used. That’s the way to get performance out of your machine.
So maximize the amount of RAM that your PC can take first, before you start configuring or tweaking virtual memory settings.
Second drive for memory or paging file
Now, does it make sense to put your virtual memory or paging file on another drive?
That depends on how you use your system. Typically the answer’s actually yes.
It’s not a bad idea to have your system programs, your temporary files perhaps, on one drive and your paging file on another. Particularly if your system is using your paging file, your virtual memory a lot. But like I said, that’s a symptom of attempting to do more than your system’s RAM is really capable of handling.
I see virtual memory and paging files as kind of a last resort. The performance implications are negative. So yes, putting it on another drive can help. But I would not use that as a first step to try and improve the system performance.
I’d actually look at increasing your RAM to its maximum first.
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