2gb to 4gb of memory

:idea: I just wanted to know 2 things. Would the system really have 4gb of memory or something a little less. I have heard that when you go up to 4gb (which is a total of 4- 1gb of RAM) it isn't exactly 4gb of memory. And, Do I need to change anything in the bios once I install the new memory into my system.
39 answers Last reply
More about memory
  1. anything greater than 3 gigs you'll need a 64 bit os.. vista 64 or xp 64.. not 100% about linux environments tho, but for windows it's a definate.
  2. Quote:
    anything greater than 3 gigs you'll need a 64 bit os.. vista 64 or xp 64.. not 100% about linux environments tho, but for windows it's a definate.


    So can I just install it on XP Pro regardless? Should it cause any trouble? Or just add 1- 1gb stick?
  3. it has to be xp 64 bit edition. Professional also comes in 32 (as that's the version i have) so watch that. As far as i know you shouldn't need to do anything special with the ram to install the os. If you encounter problems with ram it would more than likely be a mobo issue as supposed to an os issue.
    If you post with all 4 gigs in you should be fine.

    EDIT: to answer your question tho :oops: you won't have any problems, the worst thing that can happen is that after installing 4 gigs on a 32 bit os you'll only see 3. There won't/shouldn't be any performance hits.
  4. Quote:
    it has to be xp 64 bit edition. Professional also comes in 32 (as that's the version i have) so watch that. As far as i know you shouldn't need to do anything special with the ram to install the os. If you encounter problems with ram it would more than likely be a mobo issue as supposed to an os issue.
    If you post with all 4 gigs in you should be fine.


    Ok, so I can install 4gigs of RAM, but it won't show as much of a difference as if I had the 64bit edition? My mobo can handle 4gb of RAM, I know that for sure.
  5. You can install it regardless. You will see something over 3 GB ... near 3.4 if I remember correctly. I would add 2x512MB or 2x1GB to keep dual-channel mode. Definitely not a single stick.

    The downside most people point out is wasting money on RAM you can't use. RAM is much cheaper recently so that's not as much of an issue. The performance boost from 2 to 3 GB is not that great for most applications. If you already have the sticks, pop 'em in and try it out.
  6. Quote:
    You can install it regardless. You will see something over 3 GB ... near 3.4 if I remember correctly. I would add 2x512MB or 2x1GB to keep dual-channel mode. Definitely not a single stick.

    The downside most people point out is wasting money on RAM you can't use. RAM is much cheaper recently so that's not as much of an issue. The performance boost from 2 to 3 GB is not that great for most applications. If you already have the sticks, pop 'em in and try it out.


    Ah ok, I have 2 dual channel 1gb sticks currently and I just want to add the same thing to total 4 sticks of 1gb
  7. Quote:
    I would add 2x512MB or 2x1GB to keep dual-channel mode. Definitely not a single stick.

    :trophy:
    Yeah i recommend this setup too, as to keep your dual channel fully on.
  8. Quote:
    You can install it regardless. You will see something over 3 GB ... near 3.4 if I remember correctly. I would add 2x512MB or 2x1GB to keep dual-channel mode. Definitely not a single stick.


    2x512MB + 2x1GB seems an optimization for current OS and applications. Anyway 4x1GB will provide aprox 3.4GB which means it adds about 400MB more to the system.

    The choice should depend also on the applications each one uses (more or less hungry for memory) and how long the system would last. In a 2 year period ahead, what would be the expected the RAM demand for Vista+Applications+Heavy Games? 2GB is enough to avoid too much disk swapping?

    I'm buying a new PC for my brother and our strategy is to start with 2x1GB DDR2-667, try and decide what to do next: keep 2GB or buy additional 2x1GB to get 3.4GB.

    Just my 2 cents...
  9. Ok, so I am going to just order 2- 1gb sticks. I already have 2- 1gb sticks currently. The sticks I have, the manufacturer doesn't make that model in 512mb. So, after the install, I should have 4- 1gb sticks which run at 3.4gb.
  10. I am running 4x1GB sticks right now on XP Pro and it sees it as 3.5GB. I got the RAM on sale and couldn't pass it up. Going from 2 to 4, the only thing that showed an increase were synthetic benchmarks. If you think about it though, just a little over a year ago, 2GB was thought to be overkill...

    I figure, in a year or so, everyone will be on Vista anyway and I'll be prepared with 4 Gigs, lol.
  11. Quote:
    I am running 4x1GB sticks right now on XP Pro and it sees it as 3.5GB. I got the RAM on sale and couldn't pass it up. Going from 2 to 4, the only thing that showed an increase were synthetic benchmarks. If you think about it though, just a little over a year ago, 2GB was thought to be overkill...

    I figure, in a year or so, everyone will be on Vista anyway and I'll be prepared with 4 Gigs, lol.


    Ya tell me. But if I can add it, I should at this point. But going to Vista, I'm not ready for that. I'm XP for now until it's absolutly necessary.
  12. The amount of available memory reported by the OS will vary depending on what is installed in your system. The POST screen will test and report the full amount of memory installed in the system. The hardware on the Motherboard and add in cards uses memory addresses to communicate and will overlay the memory for these addresses and mask the memory.

    On a 32 bit OS (any 32 bit OS) the maximum available address space is 4G and some of this is taken by the hardware - hence the reduced available memory. On a 64 bit OS the maximum available address space 4G * 4G and again some of this will be taken by the hardware but the addresses will be mapped above the installed memory address and will not conflict.

    To see what memory is taken for the haredware, go to Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Information and go to the Hardware Resource -> Memory tab. There you will see the hardware devices mapped to memory locations.
  13. I'd say 2Gigs is enough for most normal-consumer uses like games/videos/etc. Next summer probably 3 gigs. The summer after that probably 4 gigs.

    The problem for me is OS. Buying an OS during a transitional period sucks. The old one becomes obsolete and phased out with new features and things that only work on the new OS. But the new OS is buggy, has driver issues, and has serious compatibility issues with many games and peripherals and programs. It's like being between a rock and a hard place - either way you lose and don't get all the features either due to bugginess/compatibility issues, or because of being phased out and obsoletion. I'd say if you have XP, keep it till at least SP1 for Vista comes out. If you have 2 gigs, I'd say keep that. Wait for Penryn/Phenom and SP1 and Geforce 9xxx. Of course in PC business something new is always around the corner, but the reason I say the above is because current mainstream is barely able to run Vista, low-end can't even run it, so you need a upper-mainstream or high-end just to fully use the operating system, not to mention play any games on top of it. Early next year seems like the best time to buy, when mainstream systems will start catching up to the OS requirements, and when PC's are not struggling as much with the bloatware.

    I guess the good thing about bloatware is it forces people to upgrade PC's. This makes money for PC manufacturers, which helps the PC industry to research and hurry up and advance. If it wasn't for games pushing the requirements all the time and bloatware Windows doing the same, I doubt there would be nearly as much progress in PC industry, it would be crawling.
  14. Quote:
    I'd say 2Gigs is enough for most normal-consumer uses like games/videos/etc. Next summer probably 3 gigs. The summer after that probably 4 gigs.

    The problem for me is OS. Buying an OS during a transitional period sucks. The old one becomes obsolete and phased out with new features and things that only work on the new OS. But the new OS is buggy, has driver issues, and has serious compatibility issues with many games and peripherals and programs. It's like being between a rock and a hard place - either way you lose and don't get all the features either due to bugginess/compatibility issues, or because of being phased out and obsoletion. I'd say if you have XP, keep it till at least SP1 for Vista comes out. If you have 2 gigs, I'd say keep that. Wait for Penryn/Phenom and SP1 and Geforce 9xxx. Of course in PC business something new is always around the corner, but the reason I say the above is because current mainstream is barely able to run Vista, low-end can't even run it, so you need a upper-mainstream or high-end just to fully use the operating system, not to mention play any games on top of it. Early next year seems like the best time to buy, when mainstream systems will start catching up to the OS requirements, and when PC's are not struggling as much with the bloatware.

    I guess the good thing about bloatware is it forces people to upgrade PC's. This makes money for PC manufacturers, which helps the PC industry to research and hurry up and advance. If it wasn't for games pushing the requirements all the time and bloatware Windows doing the same, I doubt there would be nearly as much progress in PC industry, it would be crawling.


    Ya for me, I'm going to hold on and keep XP for a little while. But, with the memory situation, I'm going to upgrade. I have some serious design software I use and I need to memory.

    I can totally agree with you about how the manufacturers like to force you to upgrade. I think the best thing is to learn how to build it yourself and when it's built then upgrade a little at a time.
  15. If you need more than 2GB for your serious design software, and it can handle it, you might want to check out the /3GB switch: http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/server/PAE/PAEmem.mspx
  16. HMMM, thats very interesting. I will have to look further into that.
  17. Question, if I purchase memory which all specs match the current memory but are by a different manufacturer can it be used? I currently have 2- 1gb Geil but I was looking at a few other brands.
  18. Quote:
    If you need more than 2GB for your serious design software, and it can handle it, you might want to check out the /3GB switch: http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/server/PAE/PAEmem.mspx


    I'm not quite sure what to think about this but for what i understand, one can set the /PAE switch in boot.ini to enable large addressing and thus more windows RAM recognition above 4GB (up to 64GB if motherboard allows it of course). If this is correct, does it means that with the /PAE Windows XP can recognize the full 4GB instead of 3.5GB?
  19. If you search "3gig switch" and "PAE" you will see that there are ways to get past this 3 gig/4 gig problem (to some degree) on 32 bit os's but it seems that only certain applications, SQL server for example, are usually mentioned.

    I have never tried it but I assume at this point if there was any viable way for us 32 bit ppl to really get the use of our full 4 gig installed we would have heard more about it by now. I will be happy to stand corrected if someone knows otherwise.
  20. I doubt that the /3GB and /PAE switch will do anything. The /PAE only works on Windows Server editions. You can try the /3GB switch, but I doubt it will make much difference to most people - by default Windows splits the 32-bit virtual address space into 2GB for user (i.e. applications) and 2GB for the system (i.e. the OS). The /3GB switch will change this to 3GB/1GB respectively, so unless you are getting out of memory errors, the /3GB switch won't do any good. It doesn't make more of the phyiscal memory available, it changes the virtual address space only.

    The amount of physical memory that can be accessed varies from machine to machine. I recently attempted tried upgrading to 4GB and I could only access 2.93GB from Windows XP. I imagine that if you have the latest/greatest SLI setup, you'll have even less because of the virtual address space that gets mapped on to your video cards, which will obscure the phyiscal ram you might have in those addresses.
  21. Well I do have SLI, but it's not enabled all the time. It's only enabled when I am playing video games or possibly using design software. I noticed last night that stardocks software slows down my system a little bit as well. However, since I changed anti-virus the system starts much faster.
  22. allso do understand under windows 32bit programs can only use 2gb of ram per program so even with 3gb of ram that program be able to use Upto 2gb ram unless it has 64bit pointers i think
    unless the program is 64bit then you need an 64bit OS as well the program should be able to acess all ram then

    if useing Vista 2gb Min, 3-4gb if gameing or messing programs that use lots of ram

    unless you want to use DX10, vista be the last thing on the shoping list as it can use 1gb ram just sitting there (not cache related)
  23. Well my intention is to keep XP Pro, and upgrade the memory. I have contacted the manufacturer of my current operating memory. If I went with adding 2 more gigs, the total running memory would be 3.5gb. I really don't feel good about Vista right now and want to just stay with old faithful XP.
  24. the only resone i can think of using vista is DX10
    why I dual boot as most of my games work negatively or not at all on vista cant even use Teamspeak, as vista is incompatible with 2 programs trying to use the Mic at the same time makes the sound distorted untill i shut the pc down and turn it back on

    back to XP 32 with 4gb of ram seeing 3.5gb of ram the program you are useing will only be able to use 2gb of ram per program but that should be well plenty
  25. well, the number varies on what your are doing, windows will automatically allocate the maximum amount it can, on a fresh clean install of windows vista home premium 32bit my rig shows up as having 3773Mb of ram, which i see is good enough, because when you switch over to 64bit you get approx 10% overhead on top of memory used, so i would loose 402mb of memory at max usage if i went 64bit but in 32 bit i only loose 323mb, so at that stage, it is better for me to use 32bit.
  26. Dan from Dansdata put a good article together;

    http://www.dansdata.com/askdan00015.htm
  27. Quote:
    Dan from Dansdata put a good article together;

    http://www.dansdata.com/askdan00015.htm


    Absolutelly shocked!! 8O

    XP&Vista sucks! Vista sometimes can't install in a 4GB RAM system?? Must remove physically ate least 1GB to install, and then put back!! LOL!!

    Another thing: i have 1GB RAM installed. According to the article, since i've got a 512MB graphic card, then it eats another 512MB in the RAM leaving the rest 512MB to the system... i didn't remember this fact....
  28. >according to the article

    No, you've missed the point. That 512Mb of mapped address space comes from the 1Gb between 3Gb and 4Gb.

    Basically there's 1Gb "reserved" space in your 4Gb theretical max for 32-bit Windows. That reserved space is for devices, including graphics cards.

    That's why Windows will usually only see 3Gb of an installed 4Gb!
  29. Just to be clear on this. You can't use PAE on desktop Windows to go beyond 4GB of physical memory.

    The /3GB can be useful, if your memory-hungry application has been compiled to use it. Then it can access 3GB of virtual memory instead of 2GB.

    /3GB has no impact on how the physical memory space is populated
  30. Quote:
    >according to the article

    No, you've missed the point. That 512Mb of mapped address space comes from the 1Gb between 3Gb and 4Gb.

    Basically there's 1Gb "reserved" space in your 4Gb theretical max for 32-bit Windows. That reserved space is for devices, including graphics cards.

    That's why Windows will usually only see 3Gb of an installed 4Gb!


    So is it just the addressing space we're talking here? There is no physical duplication of the 512MB graphic memory in RAM?
    In my case, where i have only 1GB RAM, i still have about 1GB for applications with the 512MB graphic card?
  31. Quote:
    So is it just the addressing space we're talking here? There is no physical duplication of the 512MB graphic memory in RAM?
    In my case, where i have only 1GB RAM, i still have about 1GB for applications with the 512MB graphic card?


    Yes, it's only about addresses. Memory mapped IO is about placing IO units in the CPU's memory address space. The same memory space where RAM is placed.

    As long as 4GB is enough to hold both DRAM and memory mapped IO there are no problems
  32. May be a silly question but, a 64-bit OS resolves all such issues right? With 64-bit Vista for example, if my mobo supports it, I could have 8gigs, 16gigs, etc of RAM that are fully utilized for my needs? I could have more than 2 gigs used by a single application etc?
  33. Quote:
    May be a silly question but, a 64-bit OS resolves all such issues right? With 64-bit Vista for example, if my mobo supports it, I could have 8gigs, 16gigs, etc of RAM that are fully utilized for my needs? I could have more than 2 gigs used by a single application etc?


    By itself the 64-bit OS doesn't solve it. By tradition MMIO is allocated from the 4GB address boundary and down. RAM goes from 0 and up. When 4GB or more RAM is installed, the MMIO and some of the RAM will overlap, and this portion of RAM will be useless.

    Newer boards have some way of moving the resources around. Memory remapping will move some of the RAM up and above the 4GB address boundary.

    Virtual memory space: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/294418
  34. Quote:
    Newer boards have some way of moving the resources around. Memory remapping will move some of the RAM up and above the 4GB address boundary.


    I noticed in the specs of some motherboards i checked that they support up to 8GB RAM (including some with 965 chipset). Probably this requires specific drivers for Windows so it can see up to 8GB, right?
  35. Quote:
    The problem for me is OS. Buying an OS during a transitional period sucks. The old one becomes obsolete and phased out with new features and things that only work on the new OS. But the new OS is buggy, has driver issues, and has serious compatibility issues with many games and peripherals and programs. It's like being between a rock and a hard place - either way you lose and don't get all the features either due to bugginess/compatibility issues, or because of being phased out and obsoletion. I'd say if you have XP, keep it till at least SP1 for Vista comes out.


    Joe Corporate IT Manual, Page 4

    Definitions:

    OS Beta - All versions Prior to SP3
  36. if you use the 64 bit ver of windows (XP x64 or Vista Home prem or higher) you can have 8gb of ram (you can buy 2gb ram now per stick so 4 of them get you 8gb ram) why you think ram need drivers is intresting as ram needs no drivers you just need the 64 bit vers of windows

    but to use 8gb of ram in an program it Needs to be 64 bit program or it only be able to use 2gb of the 8gb but there is nothing stopping you starting 3 more programs that use all the 8gb up
  37. Quote:
    ...
    I noticed in the specs of some motherboards i checked that they support up to 8GB RAM (including some with 965 chipset). Probably this requires specific drivers for Windows so it can see up to 8GB, right?

    Not drivers. You need:
    1) a MB/chipset that supports 8GB or more RAM
    2) a BIOS that supports memory remapping (so the hardware at the top of the larger address space, rather than under the 4GB mark).
    3) a 64-bit version of Windows
    4) a 64-bit CPU (of course!)

    The practical problem is normally (2) above. Some MB manufacturers are better than others at including the memory remapping feature in the BIOS.
  38. Quote:
    Well I do have SLI, but it's not enabled all the time. It's only enabled when I am playing video games or possibly using design software. I noticed last night that stardocks software slows down my system a little bit as well. However, since I changed anti-virus the system starts much faster.


    The reason that I mentioned SLI is because multiple video cards, each with 256MB of ram will occupy quite a lot of the virtual address space, which in turn effectively hides the physical RAM from the operating system.
  39. Quote:
    anything greater than 3 gigs you'll need a 64 bit os.. vista 64 or xp 64.. not 100% about linux environments tho, but for windows it's a definate.

    4x1GB sticks will show up as ~3,564MB or something like that. The RAM is available but the addresses it would use are taken up by other system resources.
Ask a new question

Read More

Memory RAM