Serious problem with my OS and Ram - new build

Just got all the bits today for my new computer, amd athlon II x3 3.2ghz, asus M4a87td/usb3 motherbord, ati 5670 1GB graphics card and... 4GB g.skill ripjaws 1600mhz Ram with an old win xp 32bit OS... Now in the manual for my mo-board it tells me that a 32 bit OS will only use 3GB Ram and that if i want to install 4GB i need an 64 bit OS.

My question is this: What are my best options without spending any more cash on a new OS?

Will a Sun Solaris or any linux based free OS run games well (including Microsoft stuff)?

Or should i perhaps stick with what i have got and run it at 3GB?

Thank you sooooo much for any ideas or helpful tips =]
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  1. You can install 4GB. 32bit OS just won't use all of it. You'll see probably somewhere around 3.5 GB that can be used by all of your programs.

    Also read this:,2778.html
  2. Yes, install all your RAM. But expect to find that the Free Memory available is about 2.5 GB under any 32-bit OS. With that type of OS the maximum address for any memory location is 4 GB. You will have a full 1 GB devoted to the RAM on the video card, so that part of your real mobo RAM will not be used by the OS. Then the OS will install important parts of itself into lower areas of mobo RAM and prevent other uses - that can take up to 0.5 GB, but it could be less. What is NOT consumed by these two uses is available for your use.

    If you switch to a 64-bit OS, the 1 GB of video card RAM will be located above the 4 GB of actual mobo RAM, so that amount of RAM will be "freed up" in that OS. The portion of mobo RAM reserved for use by the OS will still be about 0.5 GB. But that means with a 64-bit OS you would have roughly 3.5 GB of usable space, rather than 2.5. Depending on what you do and how many applications you try to keep open at once, that may be an advantage, or it may not matter. I did not check whether it is possible for you to install more than 4 GB of mobo RAM on that mobo for use with a 64-bit OS.

    By the way, until recently (at least) most games do NOT use more than 2 GB each. So, if you don't keep several games open and running at the same time, 2.5 GB Free Memory is quite sufficient.
  3. Oh thanks, that clears it up :) I will just keep what i've got then +1 to both of u for your help ;)
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