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Vista 32 bit with 4gb of RAM

Last response: in Windows Vista
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July 29, 2008 2:27:50 AM

Ok, here's my situation:

So, I can get Vista Ultimate 32 bit version from my University for $20, a pretty good deal.

The new rig I'm building has an E8500 processor and 4gb of RAM.

I've done lots of forum searches here on Tom's hardware and everyone says that vista ultimate 32 will not utilize all my RAM.

Now, if you go to the Microsoft website, it says that: All 32-bit versions of Windows Vista can access up to 4 GB of RAM. (that I just copy pasted)

But everyone else here says that if you have 4g you should go with vista ultimate 64... which would cost me $180 which is about 9x what I'm paying for vista ultimate 32 through my university (and no, my school doesn't have the corporate keys for XP x64 or any versions of Vista x64).

Now, I do have access to an ISO of the vista ultimate 64 installation disks, and I don't know if my product key from my University-bought version will work with the 64 bit installation but I'll give it a shot once the last few pieces for my comp arrive.

Any advice?

More about : vista bit 4gb ram

July 29, 2008 3:18:49 AM

MS 32 bit consumer OS will only be able to use about 3 to 3.5 gig of your 4 gig. Yes 32 bit can use 4 gig of ram - that's how much virtual address space a 32 bit os natively has, 2 to the 32 power is 4 gig, but some of that address space must be reserved for other devices which have addressable memory on them, such as your video card for example. This means there are not enough addresses left over for your ram. So MS is correct about the 4 gig limit and it is also correct you will not be able to use all of your 4 gig of ram.

So, go to 64 and use all 4 gig or stay with 32 and be content with 3 +\? With 4 gig of RAM this is a close call. With 64 bit you can add a lot more ram. I use 8 gig myself. 64 bit Vista is very stable and compatible and a lot of gamers and enthusiasts are going to it and finding pretty much everything they want to run runs fine.

Not sure about your university version and if you can get 64 out of it somehow.
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July 29, 2008 5:06:58 AM

the same thing happened to me. i acquired a 64 bit vista disc and installed it with the 32 bit ultimate key... i think its an enterprise key btw. it activated just fine after using it on 32 bit vista for 8 months so id would say if u can get your hands on a 64 bit disc, give it a go. also Microsoft wont send 64 bit media, already tried...
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July 29, 2008 7:21:57 AM

budlite1bb said:
the same thing happened to me. i acquired a 64 bit vista disc and installed it with the 32 bit ultimate key... i think its an enterprise key btw. it activated just fine after using it on 32 bit vista for 8 months so id would say if u can get your hands on a 64 bit disc, give it a go. also Microsoft wont send 64 bit media, already tried...


Yeah, I have a friend who ripped the ISO off of another friend's Vista 64 DVD so I can just grab the ISO then burn it on a DVD to get the disc.

Thanks very much!
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July 31, 2008 1:32:55 AM

A cool thing to think about: I've heard of some programs that make the unused ram in a 32bit os, like vista or xp, a Ram Drive. Could be something fun to toy around with at least. Now nothing on the ram drive would end up being saved, but talk about a fast Photoshop scratch drive or something.
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