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32 bit vista How much ram should i buy?

Last response: in Windows Vista
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November 25, 2008 6:30:07 PM

I am planing to build a system running 32bit vista with a 512mb graphics card but Ive been told soooo many different things about how much ram the OS could utilize and if the video memory would affect it. please someone can you please put an end to my confusion? :pt1cable: 

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a b U Graphics card
November 25, 2008 7:26:32 PM

A 32 bit OS's maximum RAM supported is 4 GB. So, it depends on what you use your system for, what applications you use. If you use your computer for word processing, surfing the internet, playing music, watching movies, etc., then 2 x 1 GB will be sufficient. If you are a gamer, power user, video editing, heavy multisking...then just use 2 x 2 GB or the max of 4 GB. As simple as that.
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a b U Graphics card
November 25, 2008 8:37:55 PM

oscarFACE said:
I am planing to build a system running 32bit vista with a 512mb graphics card but Ive been told soooo many different things about how much ram the OS could utilize and if the video memory would affect it. please someone can you please put an end to my confusion? :pt1cable: 


Here is the facts:

With a 512 mb video card in your system you will probably get about 3 to 3.2 gig of usable ram if you install 4 gigs.

If you install 2 gig of RAM you will get to use all of it.

Three is better than two and RAM is cheap so go ahead and install 2, 2 gig sticks of RAM.

Why will your Video RAM affect how much system RAM you can use? All current 32 bit MS consumer level operating systems have a 4 gig limit. That's how much RAM the OS can address due to it's own internal limitations. However, some of that 4 gig of addressing capability must be reserved for other devices (other than your system RAM) which also have RAM on them- RAM which also needs to be addressed by the OS, so the OS reserves a chunk of it's address space off the top for those devices. Naturally the Video card is by far the most RAM heavy of these other devices so if you have a lot of Video RAM the amount the OS reserves will be high.

Your extra RAM will just sit there unused NOT because the RAM itself is being used by these other devices but because the addresses that could be assigned to that extra RAM are reserved.

If you get Vista 64 this is not an issue. Vista 64 is very popular with gamers and enthusiasts for this reason and support for it is nearing 100%. It is quickly becoming mainstream and I would highly recommend you look into it.
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November 26, 2008 2:16:48 AM

I run Vista 32 bit with 3.072 GB of Ram. This configuration works well because of using the dual channel feature of the board. For example, I have 2, 1 GB sticks in the blue channel slots, and 2, 512 GB sticks in the black slots of the board. In this way all slots are used and 3 GB is enough for most apps and the OS.
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November 26, 2008 11:13:05 AM

cool, thanks guys. i am using 32 bit because i can get it very cheap and would 3x1 gig sticks be a good idea ?
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2008 11:25:57 AM

notherdude said:
Here is the facts:

With a 512 mb video card in your system you will probably get about 3 to 3.2 gig of usable ram if you install 4 gigs.

If you install 2 gig of RAM you will get to use all of it.

Three is better than two and RAM is cheap so go ahead and install 2, 2 gig sticks of RAM.

Why will your Video RAM affect how much system RAM you can use? All current 32 bit MS consumer level operating systems have a 4 gig limit. That's how much RAM the OS can address due to it's own internal limitations. However, some of that 4 gig of addressing capability must be reserved for other devices (other than your system RAM) which also have RAM on them- RAM which also needs to be addressed by the OS, so the OS reserves a chunk of it's address space off the top for those devices. Naturally the Video card is by far the most RAM heavy of these other devices so if you have a lot of Video RAM the amount the OS reserves will be high.

Your extra RAM will just sit there unused NOT because the RAM itself is being used by these other devices but because the addresses that could be assigned to that extra RAM are reserved.

If you get Vista 64 this is not an issue. Vista 64 is very popular with gamers and enthusiasts for this reason and support for it is nearing 100%. It is quickly becoming mainstream and I would highly recommend you look into it.



Excellent explanation, I was unclear myself on what happens to the missing RAM and that clears it up! Thanks notherdude
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a b U Graphics card
November 26, 2008 12:11:32 PM

oscarFACE said:
cool, thanks guys. i am using 32 bit because i can get it very cheap and would 3x1 gig sticks be a good idea ?

If you put in three sticks of RAM you will lose dual channel mode, which significantly increases performance, so you don't want that - this is why it is best to put in 2, 2 gig sticks. You will still only net about 3 gig of RAM but you won't lose dual channel mode. You could also put in 4, 1 gig sticks but many motherboards have a little trouble running 4 sticks so the 2 x 2 config is bets.
This will also leave room for expansion should you ever upgrade this machine to 64 bit.
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November 26, 2008 12:19:09 PM

thanks for advice notherdude that really helps. will report back when Ive finished the build
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January 1, 2009 6:08:34 PM

I just did exactly the same thing for my 32 bit vista just adding 2GB has made an incredible difference. Also the computer can only handle 3.25 GB apparently so my advice would be to by 3 GB of RAM however you like and then use readyboost for extra space
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January 3, 2009 1:28:09 PM

If you are planning to keep your computer for a while, I would go 2x2GB. Some of it will be lost but keep a door open for x64 and 8GB. RAM is so cheap today (except DDR3 :( ) You will end up probably with 3.2GB available.
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January 11, 2009 8:11:01 PM

I am running vista 32 with a core i7 extreme with 6 gigs of ram and all six ddr3's are recognized. I was going to ask if it would see another six but it seems you guys aren't even seeing 4? can this be right?
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January 11, 2009 8:11:46 PM

actually all 3 two gig ddr3's i meant
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February 6, 2009 2:14:33 PM

Quote:
!!!HERES THE BEST ANSWER YOU'LL GET !!!

STEP 1 check and see how much ram your mother board will support
STEP 2 buy the max ram with max front side bus
STEP 3 RETURN the 512
STEP 4 goto www.newegg.com and buy a 1 or 2 gig card
STEP 5 get vista 64 bit ulitmate

Your good .... if you do exactly what I said

If your Content with 32 bit OS then you can use up to 4 gb .... not just 3. ... changes have to be made inside of vista and 512mb graphics card will handle business . I used an nvidia to play Call of Duty .. no glitches


Well.. the gains from 3-4 gb isn't that much and here's why. Sure the system will use the 700MB but it will be locked to the system. I've seen people try to unlock it but it doesn't really unlock it for the user but so that it "shows" 4GB which is pointless.
So with 3 GB of ram you're getting about 3072 MB of ram. With 4GB on my Asus P5Q on 32bit XP it shows "33xx".

I don't know how much 300 MB of extra ram would mean to you and you have to consider the prices of 4 GB modules to see if it's worth it for you. But since DDR2 ram is so cheap maybe you can pick it up so long as you believe it's worth it.

What I'm trying to show here is that it's not really that much of a gain if you're on a 32bit system. Most systems can do with 3GB (take a look at core i7s). So the "performance gain" isn't that significant and do not buy the fastest FSB because it's overkill. For DDR2 even with watercooling you only need 1066mhz ram and at most 1150. 1200mhz is Oced and it's a waste because even with watercooling your mobo and CPU may not even be able to reach that high of a push in FSB thus wasting your money. I switched from 1200mhz ram down to 1066 after I've learned about this.
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a b U Graphics card
April 20, 2009 12:59:53 PM

RAM only 'goes faster' when you use faster RAM.


What you mean to say is "If you have extra RAM, your system doesn't need to Page data very often and is therefore more responsive."
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