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Question about RAM on a Linux box?

Tags:
  • Memory
  • RAM
  • Windows Vista
  • Compaq
Last response: in Memory
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February 2, 2013 3:08:36 PM

I have an '08 Compaq desktop that came with 32 bit Vista and 2 gb of ram. I replaced Vista with Linux Mint 13 (not dual boot). Now, the Compaq specs say that the mobo can take up to 4 gb of ram, but that 32 bit Vista won't see all of that; how much of 4 gb would 32 bit Linux use?

Reason for asking; if it's only going to be able to use like 3 gb out of 4 gb of ram, it would be cheaper for me to buy a 1 gb stick of ram instead of 2 gb (I'd be adding whatever I buy to the 2 gb that's already in there). Thanks!

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a b } Memory
February 2, 2013 3:28:08 PM

It is the same as windows.

32bit is what is limiting it in both cases.

You will see 4gig minus Video ram, BIOS memory, Video BIOS, and a few other minor memories.

System RAM is addressed last, so it gets the memory addresses that are left.
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a b } Memory
February 2, 2013 3:30:40 PM

Not that you will loose much performance, but if your 2 sticks, are different sizes, you won't get dual channel memory.
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a b } Memory
February 2, 2013 3:33:15 PM

Also 64bit Linux is available, why don't you just install that.
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February 2, 2013 4:33:33 PM

Millwright, thanks for the tips!

But if I install 64 bit o/s on a 32 bit machine, does it automatically become 64 bit? I thought the processor/mobo had to have support for that built in.

For what it matters, the mobo is an MSI Boston running a Pentium Dual Core E2180.
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February 2, 2013 5:12:54 PM

I think that CPU is 64 bit so it will take a 64 bit OS.

Linux can access more than the 3-4gb in 32 bit using a trick known as PAE or physical address extensions. It is not enabled in many distributions though.
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February 2, 2013 5:21:35 PM

smeezekitty said:
I think that CPU is 64 bit so it will take a 64 bit OS.

Linux can access more than the 3-4gb in 32 bit using a trick known as PAE or physical address extensions. It is not enabled in many distributions though.


Thanks, I'll have to look into that further.

Btw, you may remember me as Tubes4life over at the ARF :D 
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February 2, 2013 5:28:38 PM

9xer said:
Thanks, I'll have to look into that further.

Btw, you may remember me as Tubes4life over at the ARF :D 

LOL 'tis a small world.

I am just the local forum troll that is interested in anything electronic or computer related.
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a b } Memory
February 2, 2013 5:32:20 PM

You would have to find a pretty old Processor, for it not to be 64bit.

Seems to me windows 32bit can go over 4gig, with a few tricks, also.

ie Adobe can use more, on 32bit.

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February 3, 2013 1:39:39 AM

Thanks, guys. I did more research, and you are both correct; both cpu and mobo are 64 bit...so my next step is installing 4 gb of ram and also installing 64 bit Linux....since I'm going that far, I think I'm going to install it on a nice new hard drive as well.
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February 3, 2013 1:39:58 AM

Best answer selected by 9xer.
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