Asus rtn66, swap file/partition on usb 2.0?

I'm using asus rtn66 with external 1Tb hdd and internal 32Gb sdcard.
they both seem to be on same usb2.
would there be any point in adding a swap file on sdcard?
openwrt runs rtorrent on 128Mb RAM.

Check free under heavy load and if you have not much free memory left, then it is worth to consider.

rtorrent eats a lot of ram. chunks can be 16Mb in size. it uses 90% RAM.
can swap help if there is basically a single process using all RAM?

Yes, potentially. Flash-based drives are painfully slow for swap, often in the 5-10 MB/s range. 3 seconds may cause malloc to time out (I assume it has a time-out, though have never checked.) USB 2 may not be fast enough either.

A Pi-class device or VM may be a better solution than trying to run a memory-hungry process on a RAM-constrained device.

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well I've tried it and it works quite well with 1Gb swapfile on f2fs 32Gb EVO sdcard.

I have read that there are multiple reports of problems with F2FS. You might want to look into them yourself and decide if that is the "best" choice for you. As one example and opinion

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