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Subject2.6.10: kswapd spins like crazy

I recently upgraded my desktop from 2.4.28 to
2.6.10. Even under moderate memory pressure kswapd
regularly eats almost all available cpu time
whenever there is a little more IO throughput,
like copying large files. The system is extremely
sluggish during this. The system load goes up to
7.5 or more.

This is a Pentium3-866 with 768MB RAM, 2x1GB
swap partitions, vanilla 2.6.10. The strange
behaviour starts at about 200 MB of swap in use.
2.4.28 masters the same workload without any

procs -----------memory----------
r b swpd free buff cache
6 1 428012 4868 33236 347184
---swap-- -----io---- --system-- ----cpu----
si so bi bo in cs us sy id wa
10 7 147 120 108 111 19 10 68 3

Is there anything I can do to track this down?

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