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RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Tech Help » 32bit Vista can't fully utilizes 4GB RAM?

Default 32bit Vista can't fully utilizes 4GB RAM?

February 24th, 2007, 09:54
I'm planning to build a new computer for 32bit Vista Home Premium within couple months to replace my 5 years old PC (bought it for Windows XP). When looking around info on Vista it seems that the new OS (32bit ver) is unable to fully use 4GB RAM eventhough Microsoft said it can "support" 4gigs of RAM. Anyone want to further clarify these?

http://www.vistaclues.com/reader-que…windows-vista/
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February 24th, 2007, 10:38
http://forums.techarena.in/showpost….9&postcount=12
Originally Posted by Peter Meinl
I opened a service request with Microsoft (SRZ061127002189) to get a
definitive answer.

Here a summary of their answer:
32bit Vista does by design not(!) use the full 4GB of physically installed
RAM.
Technically it could use 4GB (by using PAE to access the memory remapped by
the mainboard above the 4GB address boundary). By a marketing design
decision all Windows Vista 32bit editions are limited to 4GB address space.
Vista Starter ist limited to 1GB. "This is based on marketing decisions and
cannot be cheated with the PAE-Kernel."
It looks like the answer you linked to is correct: 32bit Vista's 4GB address space can't accommodate both 4GB of RAM and the rest of your hardware. No workaround.

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February 24th, 2007, 10:46
Why do you want that much RAM anyways, are you doing CAD work? You certainly don't need it for gaming.
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February 24th, 2007, 14:27
You certainly don't NEED it for gaming, but it can help. Games like Oblivion or Gothic that continuously swap stuff in and out benefit from all the RAM they can get.
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February 24th, 2007, 14:29
Oh, and… I installed 64-bit Vista on my box, and have had no real problems with it — at least, none that are attributable to it being 64-bit. It runs very smoothly and has run all the games I've thrown at it so far (which isn't many, I admit).
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February 24th, 2007, 19:10
While 4 GB Ram is a lot right now, I think we can say that historically, the RAM demands of games only increase. I was amazed at how much better performance I got with 2GB than 1 on even older games like Dungeon Seige II. I can see it being an issue down the road if they can't eventually make Vista accomodate higher amounts of RAM.

But it's really new right now, so there will probably be quite a few issues waiting to be discovered.

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February 24th, 2007, 20:15
Marketing decisions ? Oh, how typical Microsoft !

All they do is for marketing reasons ! And of course for profits. No real will to do it for the Customer !
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February 24th, 2007, 22:41
O.k, but pity the poor gamer who opts' for the 32-bit Vista Starter version…..only 1gb upper limit!! - he's probably better off sticking with XP for now…..and some extra memory…like me.
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February 25th, 2007, 02:09
The 4GB barrier certainly doesn't have anything to do with marketing. It's the natural address space border of 32-Bit operating systems. PAE is a workaround that is expanding the address space to 36-Bit (64GB RAM). That only makes sense when you have hardware that supports the larger address space though. Only very few (mostly server) chipsets support PAE so it just doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to use it in the consumer editions of XP or Vista.

If you (as a consumer and not a server admin) really need to be able to use the full* 4GB of RAM of your comp under XP or Vista, then you should consider getting a 64-Bit edition of XP or Vista. It's less hassle and more affordable than buying PAE-compatible hardware.

Finally, Windows Vista Starter (the version limited to 1GB RAM) is exclusively aimed at emerging markets where the number of pirated copies of Windows probably excels the number of legal copies. What's the problem with that? It's unlikely that computers with Vista Starter installed even have more than 1GB RAM to begin with. Vista Starter also doesn't have Aero or any other bells or whistles for that matter. It's a heavily stripped down version for a very specific segment of the OS market. I don't see the big deal with this…



*full = not totally accurate - If you have 4GB of RAM then applications can "only" use 3GB of RAM because Windows XP (as of SP2) reserves 1GB for itself. Also, you "lose" some additional RAM because the mainboard and certain system processes reserve some RAM. This amount of "lost" RAM can not be specified but is different from system to system. Usually though you'll have approximately 3.5 - 3.8GB of "useable" RAM when you have 4GB installed.
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February 25th, 2007, 04:28
Why do you want that much RAM anyways, are you doing CAD work? You certainly don't need it for gaming.
Well for one thing your Windows OS and new games are always having habit of demandidng even more memory. Remember the days when i'm impressed when my friend have 486 with 4/8MB RAM and my jaw dropped when i found out my other friend got Pentium 100MHz with 16MB RAM. And Anandtech in a recent article suggested 3GB as sweet spot for Vista's RAM requirement.

Since 32bit Vista only use about 3GB of RAM, i'm planning on getting 2 sticks of 1GB RAM initially, and another 1GB or a pair of 512MB for future upgrade. Correct me if i'm wrong, but from some online readings it's best go for 4 DIMM slots motherboards based on 965P Chipset as it supports Intel Flex Memory Technology (supposely allows differing sizes of memory modules to be installed, while maintaining the dual-channel DDR2 operating mode.)

I checked Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 reviews and it supports flex memory technology, but strangely enough my other choice - the ASUS P5B-E although based on 965P Chipset its specification never mention anything about flex memory support. Why?

If you (as a consumer and not a server admin) really need to be able to use the full* 4GB of RAM of your comp under XP or Vista, then you should consider getting a 64-Bit edition of XP or Vista.
I heard a lot of complaints on hardware drivers problem with 62bit Windows. For now nVidia haven't even released a good 8800s driver for 32bit Windows. Since i use my computer as a multimedia PC (music, DVD & gaming) i supposed 32bit Vista is good for me for another 5 years before jump to 62bit version.
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February 25th, 2007, 06:55
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
The 4GB barrier certainly doesn't have anything to do with marketing. It's the natural address space border of 32-Bit operating systems. PAE is a workaround that is expanding the address space to 36-Bit (64GB RAM). That only makes sense when you have hardware that supports the larger address space though. Only very few (mostly server) chipsets support PAE so it just doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to use it in the consumer editions of XP or Vista.
Without getting into Microsoft's motives, I just wanted to point out that PAE's been available in the AMD line since the Athlon, I believe, and has been in Intel processors since the Pentium II (excluding the Pentium M). The PAE kernel for XP Pro supported it, and required it for hardware DEP in SP2. 32bit Vista is less capable in this respect.

Edit: On reflection, I think you were probably referring to motherboard chipsets, not CPUs. Yeah, that's more of a problem. Lots of them don't support it, and some claim to support it but won't. It's somewhat closer to a server-only feature on that side.

Statues wouldn't be better if they could move. Model airplanes would not be better if they were the same size as airplanes.
Last edited by abbaon; February 25th, 2007 at 07:44.
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February 25th, 2007, 09:21
Originally Posted by Remus View Post
I heard a lot of complaints on hardware drivers problem with 62bit Windows. For now nVidia haven't even released a good 8800s driver for 32bit Windows. Since i use my computer as a multimedia PC (music, DVD & gaming) i supposed 32bit Vista is good for me for another 5 years before jump to 62bit version.
FWIW, I haven't had any showstopper issues with drivers on Vista 64-bit. I'm also quite certain that the driver situation will improve pretty quickly, since (a) many people want go 4+GB right about now and therefore have a motive to go with 64-bit, (b) 64-bit Vista has all the features of 32-bit Vista, which makes it the first mainstream 64-bit OS around, and (c) Microsoft requires support for both to fully certify drivers as Vista-capable.

If you're interested, here's a more or less full run-down of the issues I've had with Vista (Ultimate, 64-bit):

* No printer driver available for my Epson Stylus Photo 2100P (any Vista version). Solved by using the driver for Windows XP 64-bit (works with no further issues).
* Problem updating nVidia display drivers (version 97.53). Solution: version 100 beta drivers installed and worked fine; update to final version 100 drivers went with no problems.
* smbclient can't connect to Vista share, stopping my automated backup system from working. Not solved; expecting a solution when Samba 4.0 is released. Until then, I'm using Vista's built-in backup scheduler and a USB HDD for my backups.
* Vista backup scheduler can't write to Samba network disk. As above.
* Adobe Creative Suite 2 refused to install into default directory, because it didn't like the (x86) in the path, and failed to launch from the 64-bit program file hierarchy. Solution: enter the install path manually as "C:\Progra~2\Adobe" when installing.
* Firefox 2.0.0.1 renderer glitches when plugin-content is included on pages (the render area starts stuttering vertically, making things unusable). Solution: wait for update to Firefox, use MSIE in the interim.
* Prime95 stress tester did not stress-test; instead, it just quickly filled up my memory and slowed the computer to a crawl as it started swapping manically. Solution: not pursued.
* Certain programs need to be run in Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode (e.g. VtM:Bloodlines.)
* AVG Free does not support 64-bit environments. Solution: bought license for AVG Pro.

That's about it, now. The only really annoying issues I have relate to Samba interoperability; I'm working around them in the interim but would really like to see a solution soon. The only issue specific to the 64-bit version of Vista I've encountered is the Adobe CS2 installer bug, and that had an easy workaround once I found out what it is. IOW, I really don't see any reason not to go with the 64-bit edition if you want to address 4GB of RAM or more now or in a near-term upgrade.
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February 27th, 2007, 05:17
Thanks Prime Junta for reminding me of the question "Vista 32 Vs Vista 64". I did some reading about the question after and i think i'm leaning toward Vista X32. Anyone has more opinions on Vista x32 vs Vista x64?

Below are what i found online regarding the issue (in the article by Paul Thurrott):

Vista x64 - Pros
=================

- Windows Vista x64 versions include a new secret security feature called Address Space Layout Randmonizer (ASLR) that helps eliminate remote system attacks for the first time on the Windows platform.

- support for hardware-backed Data Execution Protection (DEP); 32-bit Vista versions utilize a less effective, software-based version of DEP.

- Kernel Patch Protection (sometimes called PatchGuard), prevents malicious software from patching the Windows Vista kernel.

- good for running programs that require a lot of RAM (content creation, enineering, & gaming).

Vista x64 - Cons
=================

- 16-bit applications are not supported, although it is less problematic than it was a few years ago.

- 32-bit device drivers are not supported, must instead use the subset of x64-based drivers.

- New 64-bit applications will need to adhere to the new Windows Vista application standards in order to run correctly on these versions. That means that even some software written specifically for XP x64 might not work correctly.

- 32-bit versions of XP can only be upgraded to 32-bit versions of Windows Vista. And Windows XP Professional x64 Edition can only be upgraded to 64-bit versions of Windows Vista.

- Companies that plan to rollout both 32-bit and 64-bit Vista versions will need to maintain separate install images for both 32-bit and x64 Vista versions.

…the x64 versions are also far less compatible than their predecessors, with both hardware devices and software, and these incompatibilities will ultimately make the x64 Vista versions less attractive to most users. Within the next few years, most Windows users will almost certainly move to x64-based PCs. But I'm guessing that the 32-bit versions of Vista will dominate throughout this product's lifetime because of compatibility issues…Think of Vista as the "line in the sand" for the x64 platform on the client: Post-Vista, it's likely that most compatibility issues will be resolved or rendered moot by new hardware and software versions that are more x64-savvy. By that time, migrating to x64 will be a no-brainer,…
http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase…sta_ff_x64.asp
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February 27th, 2007, 07:00
I would just stick with windows XP and save your self a whole world of headaches.

*XP runs faster, games typically run 3-10% faster according to most benchmarks on the commonly read hardware sites out there.
*XP is more compatible (Directx10 excluded)
*XP uses less hardrive (8 gig less)
*XP is more secure currently as Vista had more critical security flaws this month than XP did. Forget M$ marketing BS, it will be hacked just as much as XP was (and still is).

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February 27th, 2007, 12:24
Yeah, but I'm running XP 64 and while it's very stable, it does have a large number of hardware issues!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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February 27th, 2007, 14:31
I'm pretty sure that 64bit Vista will be better choice than XP 64bit. I expect less issues with it simply because Microsoft will try to strongly support it (for example the Vista certificate policy). Still it is reasonable to assume that 32bit version will be the solution with least problems.
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March 2nd, 2007, 15:46
Whoopty doo, I ran into my first serious game-related wrinkle with Vista: Kotor II won't start on it. It appears there are solutions that involve dicking around in the registry, and, in fact, this may not be Vista related or 64-bit related as much as dual-core and GPU driver-related. I'll wait for Team Gizka to finish what they're doing and see what happens by then, both on the driver front and the game front. Oh well, the joys of PC gaming…
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March 2nd, 2007, 16:17
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Oh well, the joys of PC gaming…
I look at this like any other upgrade - people say 'make sure you always have the latest drivers, etc … but blindly accepting every upgrade for every component can cause as many problems as it fixes … I will move to Vista when forced for some reason.

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March 2nd, 2007, 17:16
I read a few days ago that Vista for private user will only receive tech support for 5 years.

No reason to change. Maybe I can skip Vista altogether and wait for the next one.
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March 2nd, 2007, 18:22
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
No reason to change. Maybe I can skip Vista altogether and wait for the next one.
From what I've deduced, Vista was made to a) experiment with new features, find new ways to improve security, b) a new source of profit, c) keep consumers happy and employees busy. I, myself, consider it a filler. The real 'unph' will be Blackcomb, set for 2009. At least I hope so.

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