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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Virtual Memory (Windows XP sp2)

    Hi I was changing my virtual memory and came across something called System Cahce mode vs Program mode. Can somene please expalin what this is? and more importantly which setting will optimize the performance of excel 2003?

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Virtual Memory (Windows XP sp2)

    In general, if you're using the PC for yourself, you should use the default setting "Programs". This optimizes the performance of applications such as Excel.

    The "System cache" setting is more appropriate if you use the PC as a server - it increases the memory available for file caching.

    See Things to consider before you enable System cache mode in Windows XP for an in-depth explanation.

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Virtual Memory (Windows XP sp2)

    As Hans noted, the caching option is intended for machines that typically run one or two programs, such as servers. I doubt you would find ANY difference in performance between the settings, and in fact it may degrade the responsiveness of your workstation. In short, this option does two things:
    1. <LI>Sets aside more RAM (physical memory) for program execution
      <LI>Provides a longer CPU time slice for each process that is running
    If you've got a relatively modern PC (within the past 3-4 years), there probably aren't any tweaks you can make to provide a noticeable performance increase in Excel, or any other desktop application. These programs barely tap system resources as it is. Much different than say, audio or video editing/encoding/authoring. I previously referred to time slices -- with any modern multi-tasking operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux), each running process is given a certain amount of time on the CPU, then it's bumped for the next process. This continues until the process is completed and moves off the stack. A longer time slice allows more work to be done on a single process at the expense of others, as they have to wait. This is why it's ideal for servers, which usually run unattended, and not workstations, where responsiveness is more desirable.

    A final thought, as someone who has tweaked paging files for years, this setting too is best left managed by Windows with one notable exception: if there is excessive hard drive activity when switching between applications, it can help. However, if you're experiencing this, it's also an indicator that you don't have enough RAM to satisfy your needs, and should increase capacity as soon as possible.
    -Mark

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