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Advice on using RAM disk or RAM lock removal

Last response: in Memory
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July 30, 2012 8:43:10 AM

Hi, I have a win7 ultimate 32bit system with 4 gb and a Gigabyte GA-P55-UD5 motherboard. As everyboby knows, windows only addresses 3,5gb from this. No problem for my daily tasks, but this is a problem when using some heavy virtual synthesizers (Samplitude Pro X with a lot of softsynths and plugins). I use a Ramdisk (Gavotte RAMdisk) to use the spare 0,5gb of memory. Unfortunately this is rarely enough and I’m not looking forward to upgrading my complete system tot x64, because that would be a hell of a job.

I’ve read something about removing the Windows RAM lock to be able to address more memory. My Gigabyte GA-P55-UD5 motherboard can do this. You can read the article about using more memory on win 32bits here: http://www.unawave.de/win...rrier.html In short it makes a copy of the kernel, so you can choose between a system boot with or without the RAM lock to address more memory.

Are there any users with experience with removing the RAM lock? I’m a bit scary about this without consulting other users. A normal 32 bits processor uses 2^32 physical addresses (4gb in total). Anything above this has to be simulated in my opinion by writing physical memory to a harddrive or whatever. A CPU starts counting at address 0, so maybe it’s possible to change the start address so you can read in example from 0 to 4gb and then read from 4gb to 8gb et cetera. Considering and taking care of the windows system itself in this memory setup. You would expect windows can address no more than approx. 4gb, even with the Physical Address Extension. To use more, the OS must use various technologies such as the PAE (Physical Address Extensions) and AWE. My motherboard might be capable of doing this but it's not just a simple matter of flipping a switch and saying, ok, now I can access more than 4 GB RAM.

The other option is upgrading my RAM memory from 4gb to 8Gb and use 4gb as a RAM disk. This will be faster then using a RAM disk on my harddrive I think. My OCZ memory is dual channel OCZ DDR3 PC3-12800 DC - OCZ3G1600LV4GK with 1.65 Volt, 8-8-8-24 CAS latency (2 x 2gb), so I was thinking about upgrading with some cheap memory like Crucial Ballistix BLE2CP2G3D1608CE1TX0C just for the RAM disk (2 x 2gb with the same CAS and voltage settings as my OCZ memory). Will this work? Is this compatible?

Well, would like to hear some opinions about this. Would be great if it works and prevent a heavy upgrade to x64. Other suggestions are also welcome!
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 30, 2012 10:47:48 AM

You could get a free RAM disk driver/program that can address beyond the 32 bit limit and throw a swap/paging file on it to extend your usable amount of memory to 8GB if you want to. It would not be quite as good as going to a 64 bit OS, but it would be better than living with a 32 bit OS and 4GB of RAM.

However, mixing different RAM kits can have nearly unpredictable compatibility. Maybe the two kits will play nice together, maybe they won't. Not even if they seem identical are two kits guaranteed to work together.

Besides, a 2x4GB DDR3-1600 kit should only cost you about $40-50, so it's not like you'd really save much by attempting to mix kits even if it does work.
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a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 30, 2012 2:31:17 PM

Glad to help.
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a c 128 } Memory
a c 168 V Motherboard
July 30, 2012 2:58:46 PM

Even if you remove the 4GiB marketing cap and reenable address remapping you may still run into issues. There have been reports of some drivers having problems with this. At least one line of audio devices has problems that I can think of (sorta fixed in beta drivers).

Applications that are not PAE aware will still not be able to use more memory, and applications not compiled with /LARGEADDRESSAWARE will still be limited to 2GiB.

Your best bet is to simply upgrade to the 64 bit edition and avoid all of these issues.

EDIT: your understanding of x86 addressing isn't correct. It's far more complex than that
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July 31, 2012 6:28:17 AM

Thank you Pinhedd,

I understand upgrading to x64 is the best option for me. But upgrading my memory kit to 8gb and using a ram disk for swapping on my 32 bit system will be a good temporary solution? You guys allready convinced me not to remove the ram lock, so thanx for this!
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a c 128 } Memory
a c 168 V Motherboard
July 31, 2012 6:52:47 AM

If you were to upgrade to an 8GB kit you'd still be limited to 4GiB of memory less hardware reserve due to the marketing limitations on 32 bit consumer versions of Windows (server versions do not have this limitation) which means that a RAMDisk wouldn't be much use.
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July 31, 2012 7:06:29 AM

Thank you Pinhedd, I understand the hardware limitation. Indeed not a good long term option for me. Will loan a kit from a friend and test with more memory and a RAM disk just for swapping and as a temporay solution.

Any websites or tips I can learn how to upgrade to x64 in a detailed an easy way. Not looking forward to a complex upgrade and losing my files and software. Let's start a good backup!
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a c 128 } Memory
a c 168 V Motherboard
July 31, 2012 7:08:04 AM

Lupke said:
Thank you Pinhedd, I understand the hardware limitation. Indeed not a good long term option for me. Will loan a kit from a friend and test with more memory and a RAM disk just for swapping and as a temporay solution.

Any websites or tips I can learn how to upgrade to x64 in a detailed an easy way. Not looking forward to a complex upgrade and losing my files and software. Let's start a good backup!


It's not possible to "upgrade" to the 64 bit version of Windows, you have to do a fresh install. This means that you will have to reinstall all applications and redo any changes you made. Naturally you'll want to keep your data but I recommend that you keep this on another hard drive.
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a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 31, 2012 2:11:19 PM

Pinhedd, I've had 32 bit Windows run just fine with more RAM than 4GB so long as the extra RAM was used in a RAM drive and had a paging file. I'm quite sure thaty those limits don't apply to virtual memory and that is exactly what the extra memory is being treated as because I've tested this myself. For example, I've tested Windows XP Home, Windows XP Media Center, Windows Vista Home premium, and all versions of Windows 7 excluding starter and Enterprise.

Some RAM drive software can access more than 4GB of RAM even on 32 bit Windows. For example, IM Disk can access pretty much any amount of RAM that you have even in 32 bit Windows. Just for kicks, I tested it on my workstation which has 16GB of RAM witha few 32 bit operating systems. I'm not sure if the marketing limits are simply tied to the x64 marketing limits simply because MS didn't expect this sort of thing or if the 32 bit versions simply don't have any or if there's any other sort of thing going on, but you can take advantage of more than 4GB of RAM in many 32 bit Windows operating systems when you use RAM drive programs and/or drivers.

Just going 64 bit is obviously a better way to access more than 4GB of RAM, but this does work.
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a c 146 } Memory
a c 328 V Motherboard
July 31, 2012 2:22:19 PM

I used the RAMdisc on x32 system and no problem.

I think it either works or not.

Many reasons for not working out there.

Mine worked with 6GB and 3 different brands of the sticks on Gigabyte mobo with C2D 6750.

XP pro was no issue, W7 x32 was issue, but than they released new driver and it worked fine.
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a c 146 } Memory
a c 328 V Motherboard
July 31, 2012 2:25:57 PM

My score was on Corsair Vengeance LP @1680MHz

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July 31, 2012 4:30:55 PM

thank you again guys. I tested the RAMdisk driver which Nikorr posted and it works fine here. 8gb up and running!

So, for now, I'll stick with 32bits and will look for upgrade possibilities to x64 later on. I read a nice post on this board: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/303376-13-best-upgr...

I hope JackNaylorPE suggestion works:
"What you might want to do is install Win64 to a new SSD .... WITH THE HD DATA CABLE UNPLUGGED. Then, after that's done and updated, reinstall all ya programs on the HD (D & E) over themselves. If the SSD goes south or ya need Win32, you can yank the cable on the SSD and boot to your old OS....and no, the boot process won't see the 2nd windows install as the boot files on the SSD won't know it's there since cable was unplugged during install. "
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a c 128 } Memory
a c 168 V Motherboard
July 31, 2012 11:14:05 PM

blazorthon said:
Pinhedd, I've had 32 bit Windows run just fine with more RAM than 4GB so long as the extra RAM was used in a RAM drive and had a paging file. I'm quite sure thaty those limits don't apply to virtual memory and that is exactly what the extra memory is being treated as because I've tested this myself. For example, I've tested Windows XP Home, Windows XP Media Center, Windows Vista Home premium, and all versions of Windows 7 excluding starter and Enterprise.

Some RAM drive software can access more than 4GB of RAM even on 32 bit Windows. For example, IM Disk can access pretty much any amount of RAM that you have even in 32 bit Windows. Just for kicks, I tested it on my workstation which has 16GB of RAM witha few 32 bit operating systems. I'm not sure if the marketing limits are simply tied to the x64 marketing limits simply because MS didn't expect this sort of thing or if the 32 bit versions simply don't have any or if there's any other sort of thing going on, but you can take advantage of more than 4GB of RAM in many 32 bit Windows operating systems when you use RAM drive programs and/or drivers.

Just going 64 bit is obviously a better way to access more than 4GB of RAM, but this does work.


All the 32 bit Windows operating systems use PAE by default, both consumer and server versions (although it can be disabled for a very minor performance increase). The server versions will use more than 4GiB of physical memory, the consumer versions will not. This is purely a marketing decision and there's no technical reason why the consumer versions can't use more than 4GiB. 32 bit applications are still limited to a 4GiB virtual address space though unless they are PAE aware. As for the RAMDisk, I'll have to take your word for it. It does use a kernel driver so it's possible that it remaps the memory on its own. I find it unlikely but it's possible.
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