4GB of RAM in XP (i.e. 32bit) system?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by housepiglet, Jan 6, 2009.

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  1. housepiglet

    housepiglet Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I ordered a new PC today, with XP. I'd have liked 4GB of RAM, but reading round over the last few days I learned that 32 bit systems like XP can't use 4GB of RAM.

    I've been told, though, that if I get 4GB installed then the system will probably be able to use about 3.2GB of it. That's a price I'd be willing to pay: after all, it's more than a 50% increase on what I'd otherwise have.

    I'm not techy enough to be sure I've u/stood this properly. Can anyone please advise? I really need to know asap because if I need to increase to 4GB I'll need to ring the vendor in the morning.

    Many thanks for any help :)
     
  2. HURST

    HURST Registered Member

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    Can't you get a 3GB offer?

    Also, most time it is cheaper to buy the lesser amount of RAM offered and buy the extra RAM on your own later.
     
  3. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    4 gig, 4x1, on an XP 32 system here. (originally built for XP 64) The system does see 3.25.

    A couple side notes. XP seems to have a sweet spot at 2 gigs. I have read that if you have 4 slots, loading the fourth slot may actually slow the PC down. Have never tested this by pulling one stick. The cure is to either run only 3 gig or run 4, 2x2.

    There are also some that say even though 4 gigs is not reported the system does know it is there and will use it. :doubt:
     
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    What is going on is the 32 bit systems map some of the memory to coincide with what is on your graphics card. Hence more ram on the graphics card, the less XP see's.

    I have 4g in my machine and with my graphic's card I see about 2.8g. But the graphic's fly. Also it makes the machine x64 ready when I want to play.

    Pete
     
  5. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    Running with a 512 on board card. The math just about works out. Only shy 256.
    Though I have heard Windows measures it (does the math) a bit different then manufacturers do. Have heard this go`s for larger hard drives as well.
     
  6. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    I have 4 gigs on my work laptop and I see almost 3.5. I think that's pretty much the limit for XP x32.
     
  7. housepiglet

    housepiglet Registered Member

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    Many thanks to all of you for the very helpful info. I'll order the extra :)
     
  8. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Just get a pair of 2 gig sticks. The performance boost from matching pairs often makes it worth it. Rather than having 4x diff sticks to get to 3 gigs. And a pair of 2 gig sticks will usually cost less than a pair of 1 gig sticks PLUS a pair of 512 meg sticks.

    Depending on many factors..your system will be able to use and show usually from 3.0 gigs to 3.6 gigs of RAM. Most of this variance depends on your specific hardware configuration..motherboard resources (don't forget hardware on your motherboard takes up memory addresses), video card RAM, etc.

    Some system specific drivers will modify the OS so that your System Properties page does actually show 4 gigs...but the key it to look in task manager, the lower amount such as 3.2 or 3.5 is what actually can be used.
     
  9. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    I've never heard that. The key to optimal RAM performance is having matching pairs and installing them in the correct order in your memory banks.

    Having odd numbers of RAM sticks would hurt more, as you lose the synchronous timing for "double data rate" you get in matching pairs.
     
  10. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    Agreed. I have read it but never tested it. Although with all this talk about memory I probably will be ordering a couple new 2 gig sticks for my main rig. It is so darn cheap right now. (gotta help the economy ;) ). Can tuck my current 1 gig sticks away for emergencies and maybe gain a bit of a boost at the same time.
     
  11. Fuzzfas

    Fuzzfas Registered Member

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    4 GB is more future proof, in case you want to migrate to 64bit operating system.

    In XPx32? I have 4GB available , but i run only with 2GB DDR. Why? Because with 2x1GB you can set your RAM in BIOS to run at 1T. With 4x1GB you are forced to run them at 2T. The difference in performance between 1T and 2T is considerable.

    So, while 4GB will give more amount, 2GB at 1T, will give actually higher bandwidth in all bandwidth tests and thus faster RAM. For XP 2GB are plenty, so i don't think going to 3+ will be more beneficial.

    So, it's performance (2GB at 1T) vs quantity (4GB at 2T).

    Documentation (not all are of the same opinion):

    http://www.overclock.net/amd-memory/32605-1t-vs-2t-command-rate-there.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  12. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    Crucial! Just a few states west of ya! :D
     
  13. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    Checked them as well as Newegg. Can`t find :doubt: 2 gig sticks for my slightly aging GA-K8N Pro-SLi mobo to save my life. Guess I`ll just have to live with 4x1. :'(
     
  14. C.S.J

    C.S.J Massive Poster

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    this forum is biased!
    i was in the same boat, i got my laptop on vista x86 with 4gb ram, but over 3gb is enough anyway for what i do, and the price for 3gb was almost the same.

    the 4gb will always be there, for when i switch to x64, in which it will use it all :)

    so i say, if you have a chance to get more ram, get it :)
     
  15. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    Dual channel is good for crysis :p

    Anyway, running here with 4GB on Vista 32-bit and I can see 3.5GB of usable memory. The amount of usable memory on a 32-bit system depends upon whether the OS can do memory remapping (no Windows OS can), the specific hardware configuration and even the motherboard BIOS. In some cases, a different BIOS version can actually increase or decrease the usable RAM for 32-bit Windows.
     
  16. ThunderZ

    ThunderZ Registered Member

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    Current BIOS. Had to dig a little though to find the required change. Some\most Gigabyte boards have hidden "advanced" settings requiring a proper key combo to access the 4 gig switch. You can imagine my displeasure :mad: when I initially fired it up with XP64 loaded at the time and only saw 2 gigs. That is one of the few times I actually went back and read the full documentation on a board. :D "Instructions?!? We don`t need no stinking instructions!" ;)
     
  17. TechOutsider

    TechOutsider Registered Member

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    If you don't need that much ram, forget about it; too much leads to memory fragmentation.

    When I had ThreatFire installed, my system was at a crawl. Taking out everything but 1 512mb stick significantly sped up my system. Then I took out TF ... a lifesaver
     
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