I have OpenSuSE 11.1 installed on my desktop, and every so often I play audio using cvlc on tty2. However, after it plays for a while, the hard disk activity inication light turns on and sysinfo:/ reports constant changes in swap and memory usage. As this is happening, my system responds sluggishly or does not respond at all (choppy). I suspect that VLC is decompressing the audio to swap and memory, and then cleaning it all at once. Is there a way for me to make VLC clean up often, for example after each song, or in some other matter prevent this slowdown? My system has 3GB of DDR3 memory, an Intel Core 2 Quad CPU and the hard disk scored a 6 in Windows 7 beta, so it’s definitely not my hardware. Also, the swap is around 1.5GB.
As you have lots of RAM you could try to tweak the swappiness kernel parameter.
Also check the noatime / nodiratime fstab disk parameters.