This is used to force the Linux VM to keep a minimum number of kilobytes free. The VM uses this number to compute a watermark[WMARK_MIN] value for each lowmem zone in the system. Each lowmem zone gets a number of reserved free pages based proportionally on its size.
Some minimal amount of memory is needed to satisfy PF_MEMALLOC allocations; if you set this to lower than 1024KB, your system will become subtly broken, and prone to deadlock under high loads.
Setting this too high will OOM your machine instantly.source