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I don't think you really want to encourage your system to use swap, simply because the access time within RAM vs the access time to/from your hard drive is several orders of magnitude faster. The less you use swap, the better. Consider it this way: which will give you better performance (assume that RAM and swap are the same size and you are running a heavy load):
Using 95% of RAM and zero swap; --or--
Using 50% of RAM and 45% swap?
Obviously the former will be faster, because there is no disk I/O. Along these lines, what's the point of writing to disk when you have unused, available RAM? In this example it would be similar to halving the amount of RAM in your PC, and what benefit would there be in that? Swap should be considered a last resort, only to be used when physical RAM is exhausted (eg, demand for memory exceeds 100% of capacity) and the system has no other choice but to write out memory pages to disk. Forcing your system to write to disk as a matter of course while unused RAM sits idle is not what I woud consider to be a performance improvement. -- J.W.
Ok, I Understand in those cases how it is determining how much memory is free, and how much is being used by cache and buffers. My machine has 512MB ram installed, it is showing that I am using 410 total. My only problem is, I have 400MB set aside for a ramdisk (I would assume 512-400=112) Approx.
Why is it showing that I have a total of 340 free, and not something in the area of 0, with the swap being used?
it all depends on how much ram you have, and what you are doing with it !
normally, i dont want my machine to swap, i have half a gig of ram which is way more than i need, so swapping is pointless.
however not too long ago i was working on an AI program.
it used 400 megs of ram, and took 1 hour to complete.
in this case, hundreds of megs of ram were sat there doing nothing for most of an hour..
just waiting untill the program had finished so the search tree could be traced,
in this case, it would have been good to swap.