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If you're okay with letting pages have displayed equations at the top, what's a good value less than 10000 to set \predisplaypenalty to? I mean a value that allows pages to have displayed equations at the top, but that tends not to allow "too many" such pages.

Also, will setting \predisplaypenalty to less than 10000 allow displays to be put at the top of a page if they're created with any of the standard LaTeX and amsmath equation environments (equation, align, etc.), or will some of them still never be put there?

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AMS and LaTeX alignments use $$ internally so do use \predisplaypenalty and AMS \intertext also explicitly sets this penalty before the restarted display after the text.

As for what value to use, it's a bit of a black art and somewhat dependent on your actual content. In the absence of any other suggestions I would use either \@medpenalty or \@highpenalty, the values set in the document class to be used for \nopagebreak[2] or \nopagebreak[3] with \nopagebreak or \nopagebreak[4] being the existing penalty of 10000.

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