Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Maximum memory for Windows 7 32-bit??

Last response: in Memory
Share
July 13, 2010 1:50:15 AM

I'm planning on buying a new graphics card and adding more RAM at the end of the month and I happened to come across a video that suggested that Windows 7 not only has a limit to 4GB of RAM, but that 4GB is actually comprised of both the Graphics card and the system RAM memory. So does this mean that since I'm running 2GB of DDR2-800 now, that if I buy a 1GB graphics card and add an extra 2GB of RAM, then 1GB of that RAM will be wasted because the total memory of both the Graphics card and the RAM adds up to 5GB?? Please advise.
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 2:25:58 AM

Quote:
I'm planning on buying a new graphics card and adding more RAM at the end of the month and I happened to come across a video that suggested that Windows 7 not only has a limit to 4GB of RAM, but that 4GB is actually comprised of both the Graphics card and the system RAM memory. So does this mean that since I'm running 2GB of DDR2-800 now, that if I buy a 1GB graphics card and add an extra 2GB of RAM, then 1GB of that RAM will be wasted because the total memory of both the Graphics card and the RAM adds up to 5GB?? Please advise.


That is correct although you may lose a little bit more memory than this, the only solution to this problem is to install 64 bit Windows.
July 13, 2010 2:46:49 AM

pjmelect said:
Quote:
I'm planning on buying a new graphics card and adding more RAM at the end of the month and I happened to come across a video that suggested that Windows 7 not only has a limit to 4GB of RAM, but that 4GB is actually comprised of both the Graphics card and the system RAM memory. So does this mean that since I'm running 2GB of DDR2-800 now, that if I buy a 1GB graphics card and add an extra 2GB of RAM, then 1GB of that RAM will be wasted because the total memory of both the Graphics card and the RAM adds up to 5GB?? Please advise.


That is correct although you may lose a little bit more memory than this, the only solution to this problem is to install 64 bit Windows.



Thanks for your quick reply! COuld you give me some advice as to what I should get?? Do you think I would be wasting the extra 1GB of memory? Should I upgrade my RAM to just 3GB instead of 4 and then install a 1GB graphics card?? Would all of my memory from both the graphics card and other parts of my system be useful then?
Related resources
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 2:51:43 AM

Pretty glose to correct. 32 Bit operating system can only map 4 gigs. Simplified, operating system will map IMIO's starting at the top down, I don't think it's a direct one for one on video memory but close, But there are other IO's that are mapped also Dos is mapped there (even with 3 gigs you lose a small amout due to Dos (I think it's approx 300 K).

On my Vista 32 Bit machine I have 4 gigs installed and total memory available to operating system and programs is 3.3 Gigs (ATI 4870 W/512 memory), Yours with 1 Gig VRAM would be down around 2.8 -> 3.0 Gigs.

If you could reuse this memory later I would say go for the 4 Gigs and when you upgrade go for 64 bit. But this is not the case, when you upgrade your system you will go with DDR3.


You do not specify if you are running one 2 gig stick (which would run in single channel mode), or most likely two 1 gig sticks. In which case if you have 2 1 gig sticks go for adding two 512 M sticks - For dual channel. You will see some improvement in performance (In my view worth it), but not a great leap forward.


Added:
Do you really need 1 Gig VRAM, it depends on screen size and resolution that you use. Under 20 inch screen, I think 512 Video Ram would work (Others will Correct me if I'm wrong). If that is the case then go for the added 2 gigs (will give you 3.3 -> 3.4 Gigs). If you need the 1 Gig GPU then, as I said, go for a total of 3 Gigs.
July 13, 2010 2:55:51 AM

RetiredChief said:
Pretty glose to correct. 32 Bit operating system can only map 4 gigs. Simplified, operating system will map IMIO's starting at the top down, I don't think it's a direct one for one on video memory but close, But there are other IO's that are mapped also Dos is mapped there (even with 3 gigs you lose a small amout due to Dos (I think it's approx 300 K).

On my Vista 32 Bit machine I have 4 gigs installed and total memory available to operating system and programs is 3.3 Gigs (ATI 4870 W/512 memory), Yours with 1 Gig VRAM would be down aroun 2.8 -> 3.0 Gigs.

If you could reuse this memory later I would say go for the 4 Gigs and when you upgrade go for 64 bit. But this is not the case, when you upgrade your system you will go with DDR3.

You do not specify if you are running one 2 gig stick (which would run in single channel mode), or most likely two 1 gig sticks. In which case if you have 2 1 gig sticks go for adding two 512 M sticks - For dual channel. You will see some improvement in performance (In my view worth it), but not a great leap forward.



To be honest I have no idea what an IMIO is... could you explain please?? And no, I only have 1 stick of 2GB so if I add another stick of 1GB then will it still be dual channel? and if I get a 1GB graphics card will all it's VRAM be recognized and the system memory gets a bit lower or will the VRAM get lower to compromise for the system RAM? In other words just an exaggerated example, if I upgrade to 4GB of RAM and a 1GB graphics card, will 4GB of RAM be recognized and none of the VRAM, or will 3GB of RAM be recognized and the full 1GB of VRAM??
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 3:22:04 AM

If you only have 1 memory module then your running in single channel mode not dual channel. an adding a second 1 gig will not be dual channel - need 2 sticks the same size.

You would see a fairly good performance gain, even though you wold lose 1 gig, by adding a 2nd 2 gig stick and going to dual channel.

NOTE: when adding a 2nd stick, Match not only the size and speed (DDR2-800), but also match the CL ratings (Best bet is to buy an identical stick to what you already have installed.

IMIO - mistyped should been MMIO's. See this for explanation (not the best, but lost my normal reference)
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1035670

Added: for diff/requirements for single vs dual
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual-channel_architecture
July 13, 2010 3:32:08 AM

RetiredChief said:
If you only have 1 memory module then your running in single channel mode not dual channel. an adding a second 1 gig will not be dual channel - need 2 sticks the same size.

You would see a fairly good performance gain, even though you wold lose 1 gig, by adding a 2nd 2 gig stick and going to dual channel.

NOTE: when adding a 2nd stick, Match not only the size and speed (DDR2-800), but also match the CL ratings (Best bet is to buy an identical stick to what you already have installed.

IMIO - mistyped should been MMIO's. See this for explanation (not the best, but lost my normal reference)
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1035670

Added: for diff/requirements for single vs dual
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual-channel_architecture



So will everything run fine if I upgrade my computer with an additional stick of 2GB for dual channel and then put in a 1GB graphcis card?? Will the graphics memory be just as effictive with the 2GB of RAM???
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 3:38:20 AM

If you decide on upgrading the memory at a later date then I would put in another 2Gig stick as this would give you the advantage of dual channel mode and be slightly faster. This will also give you the option at a later time to upgrade to the 64bit version of Windows 7 as the serial number you have is valid for both versions.
July 13, 2010 10:42:02 AM

Oh! So the dual channel memory will speed up my computer... by exactly how much?? Is it worth it buying that extra 1GB instead of just adding another 1GB RAM? And if I add 2GB to make it dual channel?? Will there be any space left for my graphics card?? And finally, if the serial key for 32-bit is valid for 64-bit, then does that mean I can install 64-bit for free?
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 1:14:04 PM

The Operating system will map the video memory first, so you will be getting the full use of your 1Gig of video memory.
July 13, 2010 1:16:08 PM

Oh ok... and how bout upgrading to 64-bit?
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 1:20:33 PM

To upgrade to 64-bit will require that you do a clean install, which means that you have to re-install all of your applications. During the installation, you can make the choice of whether to install the 32-bit or 64-bit version of your OS.
July 13, 2010 2:25:30 PM

no but my disc says 32-bit
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 9:04:34 PM

I think if the Disk says 32 bit then it only has the 32 bit version. One set that I recieved had two seperate disks included one for 32 bit and one for 64 Bit.

Here is another view on going from 2 -> 4 Gigs ram (Thank Geofelt for link).
Take with a grain of salt, as they are using a 64 bit Operating system and both 2 & 4 gigs were in dual channel mode..
http://www.corsair.com/_appnotes/AN804_Gaming_Performan...

The principle still applies. For performance, first amount of memory, 2nd dual better than single.
So if you add that 1 Gig stick, you will see a performance boost.

If you add a 2 gig your total available memory will be the same as if you only added the 1 gig, BUT you will get an added performance gain by being in daul mode (Not sure how much, but it will be a gain - Have not seen a chart of say 3 gigs in single vs 3 gigs in dual)

??? what is your monitor size and what resolution do you game at. I do not game and I can not see a diff between 512 Meg and 1 Gig (4870 w/512 and 5770 w/1 gig) both computers are connected to my 27 Inch P2770 Monitor/HDTV. That includes playing Blu-ray dvds. It does make a diff in games, primarily if monitor is 20" or greater.
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a c 164 U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 9:17:30 PM

Quote:
On my Vista 32 Bit machine I have 4 gigs installed and total memory available to operating system and programs is 3.3 Gigs (ATI 4870 W/512 memory), Yours with 1 Gig VRAM would be down around 2.8 -> 3.0 Gigs.


I have 32bit winXP on my system. I also have a 1GB 5750. Properties shows I have 3.25GBs of ram. Its not 1:1. Oddly enough its also the same amount of ram I had with my 8800GS, which has 384MBs of ram.

As I said I'm like the OP in this case. I can't wait to upgrade to 64bit. If I was the OP, I'd buy the second 2GB stick. Don't worry about having only 3.25GB, or 3GB, or 3.5GB or whatever amount you have. Its better then two. Then when you upgrade to 64bit you can have all of it.
a b $ Windows 7
July 13, 2010 9:42:00 PM

RetiredChief said:
I think if the Disk says 32 bit then it only has the 32 bit version. One set that I recieved had two seperate disks included one for 32 bit and one for 64 Bit.


The keys should be interchangeable between 32 and 64 bit. So he can get ahold of a 64 bit disk , then he can install 64 bit version using his key.
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 10:11:54 PM

Falcon, You are correct on the keys. I was refering to the comment that a single disk has both version - they may, or may not.

I have one two set volume (1 32 Bit Disk and 1 64 bit disk) Upgrade version - $50 upgrade promotion Single key fits both.
Have free uprade from Tosibia, one disk w/Both 32 bit and 64 bit - same key for both
The other two that I have (1 OEM and One Upgrade) have a single disk with only 32 bit on it.

While a single key will unlock (activate) either / or, I'm not sure that a key asigned to a uprade version can be used on a OEM version ???
a b $ Windows 7
July 13, 2010 10:31:04 PM

Quote:
While a single key will unlock (activate) either / or, I'm not sure that a key asigned to a uprade version can be used on a OEM version ???


NOPE! I tried! Totally differnet keys b/t Full, Upgrade, and OEM!
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a c 164 U Graphics card
July 13, 2010 11:30:05 PM

Full or upgrade should work on either version, OEM is one key only.
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 14, 2010 1:03:40 AM

I would not install the 64 bit version of windows if you only have 2Gig of memory I would only do this if you have 4 Gig or more. Dual channel makes an improvement in the performance of your computer in the order of 3-5% but it will only be noticeable it if you run benchmark programs.
July 14, 2010 3:36:04 AM

Okay, there IS an improvement when I go into dual channel mode, but pjmelect said that there was very little difference... Will it give me a huge performance boost while gaming? Is it worth the extra cash?
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a c 164 U Graphics card
July 14, 2010 6:59:23 AM

Huge? Not likely. Most real world benchies I've seen says 5-10%. Meaning if you got 30FPS before, you'll get 33FPS now. And thats if you get 10% improvement. You'll probably see better scores just due to the fact you got 4GBs of ram.
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 14, 2010 7:44:46 AM

I would save the money and put it towards a better graphics card that is where you will see the most benefit if you are a gamer.
I think that 474545b estimates are a bit optimistic as to the improvement in frame rates that you will see due to dual channel memory, in fact I don’t think that you would see any difference at all, the graphics card will swamp any small changes in performance of the computer.
a b U Graphics card
July 14, 2010 7:47:49 AM

Cs342 said:
Okay, there IS an improvement when I go into dual channel mode, but pjmelect said that there was very little difference... Will it give me a huge performance boost while gaming? Is it worth the extra cash?


The performance difference would be negligible (fps-wise) with dual-channel or more memory. Though your system would be noticeably be a bit more responsive with more ram, and in some instances may reduce loading time by a small margin.

Go for the other 2 GB stick, you could always upgrade to 64-bit later.
July 21, 2010 1:46:45 AM

Okay, so right now I have 2 options for upgrading my system:
From 2GB of RAM and an ATI 4350 512 MB, I either upgrade to 4GB dual channel and an EVGA GTX 460 SC Edition, or upgrade to 3GB which isn't dual channel (1 stick of 2GB and another stick of 1GB) and a 1GB GTX 460... I game at 1680x1050 and I'm not sure which option saves more cash and is better for me
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 21, 2010 3:49:16 AM

It depends on how important the money is to you. DDR2 memory will increase in price over time so I would buy what ever I am likely to need now rather than possibly upgrading in a few years time. But on the other hand you are unlikely to see any difference in performance of your computer for games with the extra memory, but you will need the extra memory if you ever upgrade to Windows 8 or 64bit Windows.
July 21, 2010 4:49:38 AM

i thought DDR2 was going down not up... there's DDR3 now
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a c 164 U Graphics card
July 21, 2010 5:20:11 AM

As companies make less and less DDR2 in favor of making DDR3, the price will go up. Compared to how low it used to be. Eventually it should become nearly impossible to find.
a b } Memory
a b $ Windows 7
a b U Graphics card
July 21, 2010 6:15:11 AM

DDR2 is being discontinued and so the price will go up DDR3 is the current memory technology and so should hopefully come down in price
July 21, 2010 10:39:01 AM

DDR2 isn't THAT slow...
!