RAM Q ...

sargan

Honorable Member
#1
Just upgraded to W7 32bit ... it's on a Dell 9200 with 4 GB RAM

W7 shows 4GB installed 3GB usable ..... is that as good as I can get ? ........... seems hell of a waste to not use 25% of available RAM ?

32bit s/w should allow addressing up to 4GB ..

Is there something I need to set ? or is that it with W7
 


Last edited:

Elmer

Extraordinary Member
#2
Hi Sargan and Welcome to The Forum.

The nature of the beast of 32bit systems is it can only use approx 3.25gb of Ram, 'twas how it was written in the days of 16 (or 8) bit systems.

If you can swap to 64bit then the only limit (technically, there are limits between different versions that wouldn't, generally, affect the ordinary Joe) is how much your MoBo can take.
 


Mike

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#3
This is a common question. While Windows 32-bit can address up to 4GB of RAM, it also needs to utilize real memory from other sources. The most common source will be your video card. If you have a video card with 512MB of GDDR (or some variance), you will find only 3.5GB of free memory available. It can sometimes depend on the motherboard, but likewise, if you have 1GB of video memory, you may find yourself will only 3-3.25GB of available memory. A certain amount of reserved memory is allocated that only leaves a certain percentage available that is free for use once the operating system is loaded. This is because the absolute hard limit is 4GB. Remember that you are falling short of 4GB because other system devices also use memory, and the absolute limit for 32-bit operating systems is 4GB. You will likely never reach a total of 4GB on a 32-bit operating system.

If you want to utilize all 4GB, you should upgrade to Windows 7 64-bit. The memory limitations for that operating system (not hard limits but set by the version):

Starter: 8GB
Home Basic: 8GB
Home Premium: 16GB
Professional: 192GB
Enterprise: 192GB
Ultimate: 192GB

Good luck, sargan.
 


whs

Extraordinary Member
#4
This is not a RAM question but a question of Address Space. 32bit has an address space of 4GB-1 and all components that have memory or need RAM have to be accomodated in that space.

Even if you have e.g. a GPU with let's say 1GB of it's own memory, it will need the address space from the 4GBs in order to be able to address it's own memory. Then there are a few other system components that need address space or real RAM.

Bottom line: typically a 32bit system with 4GB of RAM will give you 3.25GB usable. But if you have a bigger requirement for the GPU, it can be less.

Here is an article that describes it pretty well: Maximum Memory in 32-bit Windows Vista : Windows Vista and Windows 7 Help
 


Elmer

Extraordinary Member
#5
Nice post whs!
 


#6
"is that it with W7"

'sargan',

Hi. As the others have stated, it's not a matter of W7, it's a matter of 32-bit.

Not meaning to open a can of worms, I will add that I (now & for a while) always recommend x64. This is not only in regard to RAM; there are other, additional vitures to 64 over 32. In the not too distance future 32-bit computing will be tailights-n-dust. 64 is the way of the future & in time we may well see 128.

Cheers,
Drew
 


sargan

Honorable Member
#8
"is that it with W7"

'sargan',

Hi. As the others have stated, it's not a matter of W7, it's a matter of 32-bit.

Not meaning to open a can of worms, I will add that I (now & for a while) always recommend x64. This is not only in regard to RAM; there are other, additional vitures to 64 over 32. In the not too distance future 32-bit computing will be tailights-n-dust. 64 is the way of the future & in time we may well see 128.

Cheers,
Drew
I would have gone 64 bit route, but Windows compatability tool advised my best option was 32 bit.
Its only a 32bit platform, so assume it ruled our due to that.
I spills like too upgrade mob to 64 bit later in year.
 


#9
Well, yes, certainly, aren't going to put a 64-bit OS on a 32-bit hardware platform.
 


Elmer

Extraordinary Member
#10
Doh!! Yet again have to agree with Drew.

If your system is only good for 32bit then stretching to 64bit is a definite no-no.

Dealing with blue screens on here (and elsewhere) as of late, some folks seem to have dragged there pre-XP systems out, then wonder why 7 crashes. Know the limitations of your system and then exploit every ounce out of it. Don't ask it to do things it's not capable of doing. That makes for one (reasonably) happy bunny.
 


#11
Well, yeah, guess could be termed "a no-no"... it is just simply not possible to put 64-bit OS on 32-bit hardware.
 


#12
'sargan',

"I still like to upgrade mob to 64 bit later in year."

Also, need a 64-bit CPU w/ the M/B, by the way.

Drew
 


whs

Extraordinary Member
#13
Well, yeah, guess could be termed "a no-no"... it is just simply not possible to put 64-bit OS on 32-bit hardware.
That must be really old hardware you are talking about.
 


#14
True, don't see much of that anymore.
 


sargan

Honorable Member
#15
That is why I went for 32 bi it.
Was just surprised, in Vista it reported 4GB, it its only on W7 it reported not using it all.
 


whs

Extraordinary Member
#16
As far as that goes, there is no real difference between Vista and W7.
 


sargan

Honorable Member
#17
"really old"
Well 2006, duo not that old
Intel E6400 core 2 duo, with P65 chipset

I may build up a new PC later in year.
 


#18
I believe the CPU you have (now) supports x64

Drew
 


sargan

Honorable Member
#19
How could I check?
.
Would have thought a full 64 bit bus, processor etc., would have gone against the Dell way of
Build h/w ... They don't build in unused capability.
 


#20
I did check...

Just Bing Intel E6400 core 2 duo

Cheers,
Drew
 


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