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I have 8 gb of ram and use my machine for web browsing streaming and some light gaming. Do I need a swap partition?

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No, you do not need a swap file or partition as long as

  1. You are not going to hibernate.

  2. You do not use RAM heavy apps such as virtualizaion or audio - video editing or burning DVD.

For "standard" desktop tasks (web browsing, email, text editing) with a single user you do not need swap.

With 4 gb and the type of apps I listed, I never even use swap.

It sort of depends on what you do with your box.

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Yes. Typically I recommend 1 to 1 up to 5 Gig. I have never seen a point of having more than that available as swap on a standard computer. the point of Swap space is not to use it to expand memory since it's incredibly slow, but the point is to keep your system from crashing in the event that you run out of ram.

I have run into several situations in the last month for example where I've gotten up in the morning to find my system deep into cache because I forgot to close the website of a winner organization that hired some inept JavaScript programmer to develop them an application with a significantly reliable pool of memory leaks.

You never know what might happen, or what bug you might uncover that pushes through your ram and into cache. Without the cache in play you'll find yourself crashing. Disk space is cheap now days, it's worth having a swap partition.

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It is necessary that you create a swap partition for Linux, if you intent to use suspend-to-disk, also known as hibernation.

Even if you don't, it is recommended, because a separate swap partition provides at least equal and often better performance than a swap file inside another file system.

For more info see http://www.alexonlinux.com/swap-vs-no-swap. If you need advice to choose an appropriate swap space size, refer to I have 16GB RAM. Do I need 32GB swap?.

David Foerster -­ Why should I partition my disk for Ubuntu 14.04?

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