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Author Topic: Tool to monitor in background & report on memory needs and other tweaks  (Read 2331 times)

Steven Avery

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Hi Folks,

We know of various programs like Process Tamer and Process Lasso adjust settings.  (Process Tamer is a great.)

What I really want now is a utility that just tells me how bad is the need for new memory (or other possible upgrades or tweaks might come to play).  e.g. At work I noted that a heavily used XP system only had 512 KB.  Oops. That was a no-brainer and we quickly bumped it up to 2 Gigabytes. (Yes, we could consider 4 Gb in some situations, with most addressable.)  The user was quite happy.  (The network guy is less aware of this stuff.)

Yet some cases might be less clear.  Example: a 1 Gigabyte XP-system that does not have the heavyweight memory usage programs (in my case Firefox, Eudora, Linkman).  Perhaps an upgrade to 2-Gb would be a big improvement, perhaps not.

So a utility that looks historically at things like Page File usage might indicate whether there was lots of need, especially for more memory. If there is a lot of swapping .. upgrade the memory.

Looking around, I don't see a utility quite in that alley.

The newish freeware CS Fire Monitor from PCWinTech :

http://www.pcwintech.com/node/146
CS Fire Monitor - System Monitoring Tool v.3.0.1

Is an example of a reporting tool that might be close, yet it looks like it does not specially focus on memory and upgrade questions, although it includes memory analysis.  More importantly, it looks to be more of a snapshot than an historical reporting tool.  (Although I have not yet loaded it, it was one of the more interesting analysis tools that have little mention so far here on DC so feel free to comment.)

What I want is something that I can load on a system, stick in the startup folder, and come back a week later and meanwhile be totally unobtrusive.  And will give good, helpful info when I get back there.

Any suggestions ?

Shalom,
Steven Avery

« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 02:48:03 AM by Steven Avery »

40hz

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Windows has a built-in performance tool that can be set up to create the log files you're looking for.

Basic information can be found in Windows Help file. Microsoft also has extensive documentation on their website for using this tool.

performance.gif

Quote
Using Performance

The Windows Performance tool is composed of two parts: System Monitor and Performance Logs and Alerts. With System Monitor, you can collect and view real-time data about memory, disk, processor, network, and other activity in graph, histogram, or report form. Through Performance Logs and Alerts you can configure logs to record performance data and set system alerts to notify you when a specified counter's value is above or below a defined threshold.

Open Performance.

 Notes

To open Performance, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Performance.
For information about using Performance Logs and Alerts, in Performance, on the Action menu, click Help. For information about using System Monitor, in the console tree, click System Monitor, and then, on the System Monitor toolbar, click the Help button.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 05:56:57 AM by 40hz »

f0dder

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You need to know which counters to add, though - I'd probably monitor "available MBytes" and "Pages output/sec".

Btw, I found 512meg usable "back in the days" for XP32, and 1GB was definitely enough for most stuff - this is speaking as a power user. Upgrading to 2GB meant I could turn off the pagefile and never look back, even when gaming. With my recent system I have 8GB, which is mostly a luxury - it does mean having a permanent 512meg ramdisk for %TEMP% and firefox profile, the ability to setup a 5GB ramdisk for scratch stuff (while still having a fair amount of free memory), having lots of filesystem read cache, and not having to worry about pagefile for quite a while :)

But imho, 1GB of memory should be just fine for XP systems that aren't running extreme memory hogs (firefox doesn't even come close).
- carpe noctem

Steven Avery

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Hi Folks,

Thanks, guys. Microsoft has a performance wizard that is supposed to make this thing a little easier to shuttle on and off and analyze.  I know in mini-computer land performance management tends to be arcane and every help helps (on the Sys/36 it was "SMF") although granted it is nice if you can work with the raw data.  So far I haven't found any report analysis tools so it looks like you do it yourself.. e.g. you hopefully run the measurements on a couple of systems and compare the amount of paging and such.

f0dder .. Memory question on XP .. 32 bit .. do you find productive ways to fake out the system and use the ram about 3.5 ?  If so, how helpful is it ? ie. If you were using real memory intensive stuff .. And have you seen an article on it ?  Or are you talking about 8 gb on 64-bit OS like Vista ?

As for 1 Gigabtye, on a busy system, very marginal at best. With memory inexpensive it is hard to justify not going to 2 Gb or 4 Gb.  I just spent $50 to upgrade my home system from 1 Gb to 5 Gb, even if I only can use 3.5.

I even wondered .. gasp .. if Vista might have some advantages .. with the 64-bit and using 8 Gb.  Then I woke up.

Shalom,
Steven Avery

f0dder

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Well, I believe it's around 3+ years since I had 1GB in my XP32 machine, and things might have gotten a bit heavier since then. But 3 years ago I gamed (a lot) more than I do now, and I still used Visual Studio - so you're probably running some relatively intensive stuff if 1GB isn't enough :) - 2GB should be a pretty sweet spot, though (and indeed, with the RAM prices of today, less doesn't make much sense).

My current system runs XP64 - for client versions of windows, there isn't really any way to utilize more than those ~3.5GB (real value depending on BIOS, chipset and installed hardware). Or, well, you could load a pre-SP1 XP since that imposed a limit of 4GB physical memory, rather than the address space limitation that SP1 changed to. Some drivers might have problems with this, though (and, on a related note, some driver developers should be shot or at least moved to userland). If you want >4GB memory on a 32bit Windows OS, you really have to move to server versions, which don't have this artificial limit imposed.

If you're going to jump gun and run a 64bit OS, I'd say go for Vista. It really isn't a bad OS once run through vLite. On the other hand, it probably makes more sense just to run XP32 for now, and going 64bit Win7 once that hits the streets :)
- carpe noctem

Gwen7

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You need to know which counters to add, though - I'd probably monitor "available MBytes" and "Pages output/sec".


Microsoft has a good introductory article on using and interpreting memory counters. It can be found at this link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555223






40hz

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But imho, 1GB of memory should be just fine for XP systems that aren't running extreme memory hogs (firefox doesn't even come close).

FWIW: I'm running with 1.5GB of PC3200 on XP-SP3, and my system hardly ever has memory issues, no matter how much I have open.

(Disclaimer - I don't do video editing, nor am I a big time gamer, but I do have some fairly 'heavy' apps concurrently running more often than not.)

« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 06:48:01 PM by 40hz »