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The Ideal Performance Setup

Discussion in 'Video - Software discussion' started by Dwayno, Feb 7, 2004.

  1. Dwayno

    Dwayno Member

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    Hi there,

    I wonder if anyone could provide any suggestions. I'm rebuilding a new system and I want to optimise it to get the best performance. I've read somewhere that if you partition your drives so that you have one for the OS, and one for swap file and one for installed program files it will greatly improve your system performance. If this is the case what should the recommended partition sizes be on the SATA disk with the MBR on. And how do I configure a larger swap file. I'll be using XP pro and a 80gb SATA hard disk with the MBR on. I have another two extra large drives which I intend to just use to store data, films etc not installed program files.

    Thanks
     
  2. vurbal

    vurbal Administrator Staff Member

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    The exact partitioning and swap file placement will depend a little on what programs you're running on the computer and what you use specific drives for. Generally, if you put the swap file on a different physical drive than the OS it will improve performance. If you put the swap file on it's own partition on that other drive you'll eliminate a lot of fragmentation, which may give you a slight performance boost. If you use a program like DVD Shrink or an encoder of some kind it would also be best to keep the swap file on a different drive (and cable) than you use for that program's output, since the output will come from memory/swap.

    The other issue for your drives will be placement of optical drives. Theoretically, any newer system (made in 2000 or later) should work fine with the an optical drive as the master and a hard drive as a slave on the same channel because they use independent device timing so the slower optical drive shouldn't slow down the faster hard drive. In reality, it's safer to make the hard drive the master or it might affect transfer speed. Also, make sure you have the latest drivers for your motherboard, specifically the IDE drivers. This is assuming that the 2 other hard drives are normal ATA drives and not SATA( since you didn't say). If at all possible, the best solution is to have every drive on it's own cable.

    You can change the location and size of the swap file in the System Control Panel. The easiest way to get there is to right-click on My Computer and select Properties. Go to the Advanced tab and under Performance, click the Settings button. That will bring up the Performance Options window. At the bottom of the Advanced tab it says Virtual Memory and shows you the amount of VM currently allocated. Click the Change button to open the Virtual Memory window where you can set the location and size of your swap file. Besides setting the swap file on a different drive, you also need to select the C: drive and set it to No Paging File. Make sure your swap file is good sized (I have 768MB DDR and use 1GB swap) because XP loads a lot into memory and doesn't have impressive memory management anyway.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2004
  3. Dwayno

    Dwayno Member

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    Thanks Vurbal,
    I appreciate your help, Yes the other two drives are IDE not SATA so I will keep them on separate cables. I will also be connecting up a DAT drive a DVD rom drive and DVD writer. Is is best to install a PCI IDE controller card so that they all get a dedicated IDE channel? Or can I make one DVD a master and the other DVD a slave on the same channel?
    Are you also saying that it wont make any difference if I create - say a 2 gb partition on the SATA Mbr drive for the swap file alone if it's on the same physical drive as the OS?
    I'll be using video editing software along with DVD shrink and various other Memory hungry apps. THe system memory is 512mb DDR PC3200 400mhz bus and a Pentium 4 2.8 800mhz FSB processor on an ABIT IS7 board.
    Give me an example of what you would do for best optimisation with that.
    Thanks
     
  4. vurbal

    vurbal Administrator Staff Member

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    Personally, I'd get a controller card (actually I already have a couple). They're not very expensive, and you never have to worry about trying to move data from one drive and to another at the same time on the same cable. The only issue I see with putting the burner and ROM on the same cable is that you can't do drive to drive copying that way. I always make images anyway, so that's how I have mine set up. In your case, having a DAT drive as well, if you're going to have 2 devices sharing a channel you should have the burner and DAT drive together as you shouldn't ever be using them at the same time anyway. Instead of getting the IDE card, you could just get a SATA adapter for one of the hard drives (assuming you can connect a second SATA drive to your MB), set up the last hard drive as the master on one channel and the DVD-ROM as the slave, and then the burner and DAT drive as mentioned earlier.

    Yeah, pretty much. The only advantage would be less fragmentation on the drive, since the swap file is pretty much always fragmented and always causes other files to be fragmented, but for modern computers fragmentation usually only makes a minor difference in performance.

    This is what I would do:

    1. Get a controller card. It will make your life easier and it should be pretty cheap.

    2. Make the optical drives and hard drives all masters. If you have another IDE channel on the MB you could make the DAT drive a master as well, but if not just make it a slave to either the burner or the ROM.

    3. Use 1 hard drive for output from encoders, compressers, etc,... and make a partition on the other drive for your swap file.

    4. Make the partition for the swap file at least 1.5GB.

    5. Set up Windows to clear the swap file on every reboot. These directions will tell you how:
    http://www.winguides.com/registry/display.php/244/
    That will ensure that you start with a "clean" swap file every time you reboot.

    6. Get a new PC with dual P4 Xeon 3.06GHz CPUs and 2GB RAM - oops that's for me. Sorry ;D
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2004
  5. Dwayno

    Dwayno Member

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    Thank you Vurbal for your advice. I will be putting it all into practice. I will purchase a SATA adapter to free up an extra IDE on the Motherboard. In the Virtual Memory settings it asks what the minimum and maximum should be. Does it matter what I should put in the minimum? Should I put say 2mb min and 1.5 gb max?
    I'd personally love to buy a P4 Xeon but I'm on a strict budget, so I have to make do with what I can afford. Upgrading from a P3 700mhz 133fsb to a P4 2.8 ghz 800fsb is good enough for me for now.
    Thanks again.
     
  6. vurbal

    vurbal Administrator Staff Member

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    The minimum isn't all that important since Windows will set it to what it wants anyway. Good luck.
     

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