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Vista 32bit memory limitation

panais

Power User
#1
I have on my computer 4096MB of ram (4 dimms)
Windows vista ultimate 32bit from te default reads 3582MB.
Now... after i install sp1 windows reads 4GB.
I wonder if this is reall or just a virtual.
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
usa us_oklahoma
#2
Hi Panais,

It's real. It was a bug in the 32 bit version of Vista where it would not always see anything over 3GB. The SP1 fixed the problem.

Shawn
 

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panais

Power User
#3
So that means now my os end programs benefit and use all my 4096 ram?
 

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    2/4/5.1/7.1-channel Realtek High Definition
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    Samsung LE40A656F1 1080p 100Hz LCD HD TV 50,000:1
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Brink

Staff member
mvp
usa us_oklahoma
#4
Yep, it sure will.
 

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panais

Power User
#5
This is perfect!!
 

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Scotteq

Plays with his WEI
Vista Guru
usa us_new_jersey
#6
In 32 bit Windows operating systems, the total addressable space available is 4GB. If you install a total of 4GB worth of RAM, the system will detect/use/display less than 4GB of total memory because of address space allocation for other critical functions, such as:

- System BIOS (including motherboard, add-on cards, etc..)
- Motherboards resources
- Memory mapped I/O
- Configuration for AGP/PCI-Ex/PCI
- Other memory allocations for PCI devices

Different onboard devices and different add-on cards (devices) will result of different total memory size. e.g. more PCI cards installed will require more memory resources, resulting of less memory free for other uses.

This limitation applies to most chipsets & Windows XP/Vista 32-bit version operating systems. Again, this is a limitation of the Operating System not having enough address space to allocate to the system *and* the RAM. Not allocating address space to devices renders them inoperable. Not allocating addresses to RAM simply results in the unaddressed section not being used in an otherwise fully functional computer. Therefore the OS designers assign RAM last.

We can have long debates about mathematical fundamentals and discussions about why the original Windows designers couldn't allocate the full theoretical max of 36 bits of address space so that users today would be able to use more resource. But at the end of the day, the designers and engineers 'Didn't Do That Then'. So we 'Can't Do This Now'.


If you install a Windows operating system, and if more than 3GB memory is required for your system, then the below conditions must be met:

1. A memory controller which supports memory swap functionality is used. The latest chipsets like Intel 975X, 955X, Nvidia NF4 SLI Intel Edition, Nvidia NF4 SLI X16, AMD K8 and newer architectures can support the memory swap function.

2. Installation of Windows XP Pro X64 Ed. (64-bit), Windows Vista 64, or other OS which can provide more than 4GB worth of address space.



Note: According to the latest Change Log published by Microsoft, Windows Vista 32bit SP1 will display the installed amount of RAM. This is a display change only.
 

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#7
32Bit has a TOTAL hardware memory address allocation space of 4GB when not running in PAE mode (no, don't ask...1. it won't work on "home" versions of Windows. 2. It's not a nice trade off.).

You have to allocate for devices which require address spaces based on what the ask for; USB controllers, audio cards, USB devices (external storage and the lot), and Video Cards, and THEN what is left over goes to RAM.

Vista SP1 have a "fix" that lies to you and tells you that Windows Vista Recognizes all 4GB on your system. It won't tell you how much you're actually able to address unless you look deeper under the covers (task manager and what not).
 

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panais

Power User
#8
Emmm....
I need a simple answer for a simple question...
With sp1 installed my os and programs will benefit and use all my 4096 ram?

Thanks for ur response.
 

My Computer

System One

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    Custom Built by me.
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    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
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    Gigabyte GA-X38-DS4
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    KINGSTON HYPERX DDR2 4GB (2X2GB) PC6400 800MHZ DUAL CHANNEL KIT
    Graphics Card(s)
    SAPPHIRE RADEON HD4890 OC 1GB GDDR5
    Sound Card
    2/4/5.1/7.1-channel Realtek High Definition
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung LE40A656F1 1080p 100Hz LCD HD TV 50,000:1
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768 in Desktop,1920x1080p in gaming and video
    Hard Drives
    C:\WD VelociRaptor 150 GB,10,000 RPM
    D:\WESTERN DIGITAL WD15EADS 1.5TB CAVIAR GREEN SATA2 E:\WESTERN DIGITAL WD15EADS 1.5TB CAVIAR GREEN SATA2 No Raid.Copy Paste Is The Safest Way.
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#9
Emmm....
I need a simple answer for a simple question...
With sp1 installed my os and programs will benefit and use all my 4096 ram?

Thanks for ur response.
The simple answer is no. Functionally, SP1 works the same as pre-SP1. 32-bit Vista will only be able to use and benefit from ~3Gb RAM (the exact number depends on a few factors). SP1 fixes the way it displays the actual amount of physical RAM installed, but the way it's used by the 32-bit OS hasn't changed.
Hope this helps.
Munkus
 

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#10
Emmm....
I need a simple answer for a simple question...
With sp1 installed my os and programs will benefit and use all my 4096 ram?

Thanks for ur response.
Nope.:zip: :D
 

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Dzomlija

Resistance is Futile
Vista Guru
Gold Member
south_africa
#11
I have on my computer 4096MB of ram (4 dimms)
Windows vista ultimate 32bit from te default reads 3582MB.
Now... after i install sp1 windows reads 4GB.
I wonder if this is reall or just a virtual.
Prior to Vista SP1, Vista displayed the total available system memory, which is determined by hardware in the BIOS, and how much is used by internal devices such as HDD & USB controllers, Display adapters, etc.

In Vista SP1, the total installed memory is now reported.
 

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.Joe

1337 spammer
Vista Guru
usa
#12
I have on my computer 4096MB of ram (4 dimms)
Windows vista ultimate 32bit from te default reads 3582MB.
Now... after i install sp1 windows reads 4GB.
I wonder if this is reall or just a virtual.
Prior to Vista SP1, Vista displayed the total available system memory, which is determined by hardware in the BIOS, and how much is used by internal devices such as HDD & USB controllers, Display adapters, etc.

In Vista SP1, the total installed memory is now reported.
Question. Should the full 4 GB show up in all applications running in a SP1 system? I've got the RTM SP1 installed, and I have applications still reporting only 3.3 GB. Will the full public release of SP1 resolve that?
 

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Zdon

Don't worry be happy.
Member
usa us_arizona
#13
32Bit has a TOTAL hardware memory address allocation space of 4GB when not running in PAE mode (no, don't ask...1. it won't work on "home" versions of Windows. 2. It's not a nice trade off.).

You have to allocate for devices which require address spaces based on what the ask for; USB controllers, audio cards, USB devices (external storage and the lot), and Video Cards, and THEN what is left over goes to RAM.

Vista SP1 have a "fix" that lies to you and tells you that Windows Vista Recognizes all 4GB on your system. It won't tell you how much you're actually able to address unless you look deeper under the covers (task manager and what not).
My understanding is that PAE will work on 32-bit Vista. But, you say no to "home" versions. Please clarify.
 

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Dzomlija

Resistance is Futile
Vista Guru
Gold Member
south_africa
#14
Prior to Vista SP1, Vista displayed the total available system memory, which is determined by hardware in the BIOS, and how much is used by internal devices such as HDD & USB controllers, Display adapters, etc.

In Vista SP1, the total installed memory is now reported.
Question. Should the full 4 GB show up in all applications running in a SP1 system? I've got the RTM SP1 installed, and I have applications still reporting only 3.3 GB. Will the full public release of SP1 resolve that?

That just depends on which API call the application makes to determine the amount of memory to display. Either the available memory, or the total memory can be queried by an application.

And of course, it doesn't really matter, since a 32-bit application is strictly limited to 2GB RAM anyway, (whether it's being run on XP or Vista), regardless of how much is installed or available.
 

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Zdon

Don't worry be happy.
Member
usa us_arizona
#15
Question. Should the full 4 GB show up in all applications running in a SP1 system? I've got the RTM SP1 installed, and I have applications still reporting only 3.3 GB. Will the full public release of SP1 resolve that?

That just depends on which API call the application makes to determine the amount of memory to display. Either the available memory, or the total memory can be queried by an application.

And of course, it doesn't really matter, since a 32-bit application is strictly limited to 2GB RAM anyway, (whether it's being run on XP or Vista), regardless of how much is installed or available.
Right, but more memory, more applications running closer to optimally. I still am wondering about your "home" computer remark. That is what I am hoping to clarify.
 

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Dzomlija

Resistance is Futile
Vista Guru
Gold Member
south_africa
#16
That just depends on which API call the application makes to determine the amount of memory to display. Either the available memory, or the total memory can be queried by an application.

And of course, it doesn't really matter, since a 32-bit application is strictly limited to 2GB RAM anyway, (whether it's being run on XP or Vista), regardless of how much is installed or available.
Right, but more memory, more applications running closer to optimally. I still am wondering about your "home" computer remark. That is what I am hoping to clarify.

I never mentioned PAE on "home" versions. That was bruce2.

But to clarify your question anyway, PAE (Physical Address Extensions) is not available on any consumer version of Windows. It is typically used on 32-Bit server operating systems (Such as Windows Server 2003) to allow the operating system (and enabled applications) to address more than 4GB of memory.

Because x64 can on the hardware level address more than 4GB of memory in excess of TeraBytes, PAE is not necessary on x64 versions of Windows.

So it remains - If you want more than 4GB, you either need to use a server OS that isn't really suited for home use, or switch to a 64-Bit OS, such as Vista x64.

I've been using Vista x64 Ultimate for just over a year now, and it's performance, compatibility and reliability is second to none. Just make sure you can get Vista x64 drivers for all your hardware...:geek:
 

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Zdon

Don't worry be happy.
Member
usa us_arizona
#17
HaHa. Thanks much. Excuse my dumb for thinking you were replying to me. But, OK, this read seems to imply that PAE applies to Vista 32-bit. And, there are others that seem to imply the same.
 

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Dzomlija

Resistance is Futile
Vista Guru
Gold Member
south_africa
#18
HaHa. Thanks much. Excuse my dumb for thinking you were replying to me. But, OK, this read seems to imply that PAE applies to Vista 32-bit. And, there are others that seem to imply the same.
That article is misleading. If you were to check on Microsoft's Vista website (or others detailing the memory limitations of Windows Vista), you'll notice that none of the 32-Bit versions of Vista support more than 4GB of memory. So the logical conclusion would be that they don't support PAE...
 

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    SAHARA 21"
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Zdon

Don't worry be happy.
Member
usa us_arizona
#19
HaHa. Thanks much. Excuse my dumb for thinking you were replying to me. But, OK, this read seems to imply that PAE applies to Vista 32-bit. And, there are others that seem to imply the same.
That article is misleading. If you were to check on Microsoft's Vista website (or others detailing the memory limitations of Windows Vista), you'll notice that none of the 32-Bit versions of Vista support more than 4GB of memory. So the logical conclusion would be that they don't support PAE...
I know what you mean. But, help. Here are some more:

Memory Management Registry Keys (Windows) and

/pae.

Why is there so much apparent confusion on this issue?
 

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