Simple Answer to Simple Question
I have the same problem with my hard drive constantly thrashing. I just reboot the machine as soon as it happens. Because of all the drive activity, my computer takes a while to reboot. Once rebooted, it runs fine. Until I suspend it and upon re-awakening, my computer goes crazy again. Someone somewhere told me to turn off acpi--I guess you put a line in the grub.conf to do so. I've been too lazy to do it, maybe sometime this afternoon... Enabling DMA won't make a noticeable difference, contrary to what many people here indicate--I guess I'm not that sensitive to speed difference. BTW, I've been using Linux since 1997 (RedHat 5.2 was my first Linux). Since then, I've tried all flavors of Linux and now happy with Ubuntu for my desktop distro. Having a swap file instead of swap partition makes no difference, as long as you have a swap turned on--some people would argue that having multiple partitions is bad for performance. Anyhow, this has been my 2 cents.