Can I Add More RAM?

I have a Hewlett-Packard 8160 computer(purchased new in August 1997) with Windows 95 OSR2, Intel Pentium w/MMX processor, Intel 430TX chipset, 256 KB L2 cache.  The computer came with 32 MB of RAM, which I have since upgraded to 64 MB of RAM.  The specs sheet says the computer is upgradeable to 128 MB of RAM, but according to everything I have read and been told, the computer will not make use of more than 64 MB of RAM because of the type of chipset and L2 cache.  Is this true?
CaptainSpeleoAsked:
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philwConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I personaly think that is a mad response.

If you take a clean build of windows 9x and boot it up and then do nothing else you will find that the system is using about 96MB and has set its swapfile to 0MB.

What this means is that if you have 64MB RAM then just sat there doing nothing as above your machine would have used all of its RAM and have a 32MB swapfile.

Then when you run your first application windows has to hot only run the disk to load this application but then dinamicly grow the swapfile move lo priority code into the swapfile and exicute the program you asked for, all this while you are sat there saying "my machine runns like a dog"

You should load the machine with as much memory as you can get in there!  Even un-cached RAM is faster that a hard disk swapfile especialy when the disk is trying to load data into memory at the same time.

Once you have loaded your machine up with RAM the next thing to do is to set your swapfile size manualy.  This can be done through control Panel > system > Preformance > Virtual memory.

Set the swapfile to be the same size as the RAM you have and if you can put the swapfile on a different DISK to the windows directory this then takes the pressure off your main disk and allows it to concintrate on loading data to memory while the other disk is saving data to the swapfile.

Once again even uncached ram is better than swapfile!

Philw
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jhanceCommented:
I'm curious where you've read this misinformation.  

I'm not aware of any RAM limitations with the TX chipset.  In fact, it's likely the only reason that HP says 128MB is due to a limitation in the number of RAM slots.
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bekayeCommented:
the L2 cache may only cache the first 64 mb of ram, but the computer will have access to the full 128 mb of ram if you add it.
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swestonCommented:
It is my understanding that Windows can only use 64mb.  If that is true, unless you have some special need (such as editting graphic images) than there may not be a reason to add the extra memory.
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Somebody_elseCommented:
I have windows and run 128 MB of ram, all my diagnostics say I have 128 too, my friend runs windows with 256 of ram.

I think bekaye is right about the level2 caching for only the first 64 MB and maybe that is the limitation you are referring to?
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jhanceCommented:
sweston,

You're understanding is not correct.  Windows can indeed use more than 64MB. You may be thinking of a limitation (due to hardware) that existed on some very early systems where the memory cache would only support the 1st 64MB of RAM.  Windows could access more but the performance using the un-cached RAM was quite horrible.  This was fixed shortly and it's hard to find such an old system still working today.  A 1997 vintage MMX capable system like the one mentioned above is certainly not a problem.
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bekayeCommented:
the TX chipset only caches the first 64 MB of ram, but it can use up to 256 MB of ram:
http://motherboards.org/subpages/chipset-05.html
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jhanceCommented:
I stand corrected.  If the information that bekaye is valid (and I have no reason to believe it isn't) then 64MB _is_ the cache limit on the TX based motherboard.  While this won't prevent using more RAM, the results are terrible.  
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1cellCommented:
Windows can theoretically use all sizes of RAM.  However, I have seen problems in Windows95/98 when using over 128MB.  I know many will disagree with this but I have seen it first hand.  For some reason, on a few systems with more than 128MB of RAM, the swap files were huge and it actually slowed the system down.  Both removing RAM down to 128 and changing OS to NT resolved these issues.

As per the question, find who told you that and hit'em hard.

I agree with sweston however that unless you are doing some 3D gaming or graphics design, the added RAM really wouldn't be needed.  I will say though that it would be fun and a nice upgrade.
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jhanceCommented:
1cell,

I'd agree with the argument that more than 128MB on a Win9x machine is not generally productive.  In most cases the limitation that prevents more apps from running on a Win9x box is the GDI RESOURCE MEMORY which is fixed regardless of how much RAM is installed.  This is the price paid for backward compatibility with MSDOS/Windows 16-bit apps.  NT and Win2000 don't suffer from the resource limitation at the expense of 16-bit compatibility.
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bekayeCommented:
in thiese intel manuals it says the chipset can cache 64 MB of ram:
ftp://download.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/archive/ym430tx/ymtps.pdf page 9
http://developer.intel.com/design/motherbd/lt/67703201.PDF page 14

1cell, you have a question in the lounge.
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swestonCommented:
Why spend your money on added memory, if your total memory only looks impressive and adds nothing to your preformance.  With the exception of certain types of applications it will not improve your preformance.
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1cellCommented:
it's not that it wont improve performance, it's just that the most noticeable difference will be in 3D rendering and such
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CaptainSpeleoAuthor Commented:
I want to thank everyone for their response to my question.  Based on your responses and what I've read, I'll stick with 64 MB of RAM. I'd like to thank "Bekaye" for the link to the motherboard site, which has some very useful information.
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