SSD PCIe Cards as SWAP Space

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SSD PCIe Cards as SWAP Space

Postby evansste » July 12th, 2017, 6:39 pm

I've been trying to find ways to increase my computer's RAM capability. Obviously, a new motherboard which offers a greater amount of RAM capacity, would be the ideal solution. But what about using an SSD PCIe card for SWAP space?

SSD technology is supposed to be a lot faster than traditional disk hard drives. Amazon sells one that has 1.2TB capacity: ... KGG2B0GSM4

If I bought one of these, and told Linux to use it as SWAP space, how would that be comparable to getting a different motherboard that supports more RAM. Would this idea provide a realistic alternative, or would it be a waste of money?

The second half of the description described in the following link, makes it seem as if extending memory by use of a SWAP file, is ultra easy. ... in-windows

Does anyone have any thoughts on whether or not this idea would work well? Could I get two of these SSD cards and have two SWAP files? I'm very interested in hearing anyone's thoughts on this idea.

Thanks for your time and input.
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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 8:19 am

Re: SSD PCIe Cards as SWAP Space

Postby asheets » July 13th, 2017, 9:49 am

There's a lot of theory behind this concept, but not a lot of hard facts (unfortunately). I'll give you my opinion and you can flame me as necessary.

SSD in hard drive form factors can be used really well for primary storage and swap space. They are designed for the rw cycles needed for standard hard drive operations, and are reliable (and speedy). I use them all the time.

SSD in other form factors (USB, sticks, memory cards, and the like) are used for secondary storage and don't survive long under conditions needed for swap.

Swap, in any case, is inherently slower than primary memory. Computers expend CPU cycles and internal bandwidth moving data back and forth between swap and memory, so it is important to have enough primary memory to begin with. And traditional thinking is that you shouldn't have swap defined as more than 2x of your primary memory.

That Intel device you've defined looks like a fine product, though very expensive compared to a traditional 2T SATA or SAS hard drive. I'm sure it has performance advantages, but I personally would spend the money on primary memory instead.
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Re: SSD PCIe Cards as SWAP Space

Postby evansste » July 13th, 2017, 4:12 pm

Thanks so much, asheets.

Your opinion is exactly the type of input I was looking for -- particularly that you use SSD hard drives. I don't own any SSD hardware, other than a flash drive. So I have no real experience when it comes to using this type of technology for SWAP.

Most of what you said is what I suspected. It would certainly make a lot more sense to upgrade RAM than try to speed up SWAP. And also, how efficiently SWAP is used, is greatly affected by RAM. So I certainly agree with you on that. However, when it comes to upgrading RAM, prices certainly get a lot higher once you start entering the realm of really dense modules, or motherboards that have an unusually large number of RAM slots. That's when, even the most expensive advanced SWAP options, seem cheap. I'm starting to run into that realm.

Having said that, none of that will negate the fact that a person can only expect so much performance enhancement when speeding up SWAP. So it's always a good idea for me to keep that in mind. You're right that going too far beyond the 1:2 ratio of RAM and SWAP, can be counterproductive.

Thanks for sharing your experience and opinion.
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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 8:19 am

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