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Windows 98 memory adressing limit?

Posted on 2000-03-08
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Does anyone know the maximum amount of memory that a win98 machine can address? I have heard many conflicting views (one of which even said 64mb), but I really just need to have a definative answer.
Thanks in advance

Austen
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Question by:Austen
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11 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Ajnin
ID: 2596325
Well really the limit is not on 98 it is on the motherboard. If you have less than a PII then it depends on the chipset that you have majority of chipsets don't really utilize more than 64meg but if you have a PII or higher than there really is no limit (4gig) it depends on the number of slots that you have. This also the case for 95. The reason being that whenever you run an app win9x automaticly says that that program is allowed to use 4gigs. Other experts might have some handy sites that will give this information. I can't remember where I found this. It was either windrivers.com or pccomputing.com.
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Expert Comment

by:AdamWoodland
ID: 2596678
I think that the 64MB comment comes from the though that memory is exclusively handeled by himem.sys (the old DOS memory device driver).

That is not true, himem.sys handles memory uptop 64MB, however after that, another file takes over the memory handling (which someone else can remember the name of because I can't).

I can vaguely remeber a mention of the problem with greater than 64MB of memory, but I have never seen it comfimed and suspect it was 'maybe' in the very first release of Win95, which maybe had a patch.

I have used Win95 and Win98, both with 128MB of memory with no problems at all. Win95 runs extremly fast with 128MB, and could shut down in less than 2 seconds, even with a lots of programs running and a network card.
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Expert Comment

by:asnack
ID: 2596704
That would really depend upon what your motherboard was able to support. For example, if you were running windows 98 on a  retail penitium system most of those boards would limit you to 128mb. Alot of PII boards will take 384mb on non-ecc and 756mb on non-ecc. Completely dependant upon the motherboard manufacturer.
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by:1cell
ID: 2596727
OK, here it is!

First AdamWoodland is on the right track.  Himem.sys can only handle 64MB but after that, the memory management is handled by the virtual memory manager (VMM32).  Theoretically there is no limit to how much RAM you can put into a 98 (or 95 for that matter) machine.

However, and I am expecting many will disagree with me, I have experienced personally decreases in performance when going over 128MB due to excess paging and incredible large swap files.  

If you are using up to 128 I would say you are fine.  If you are going over that, you are probably doing something which you maight as well have NT to do anyway.
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Expert Comment

by:Big0range
ID: 2596760
Win98 will use as much memory as you can afford.  There was, in fact, a 64mb limit with the first release of Win95 (of course, it also couldn't use FAT32), but that's been long since overcome.
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Expert Comment

by:Big0range
ID: 2596792
And now that I see 1cell's post, I'll be the first to disagree.  I run 256mb on my gaming machine at home.  With that, one can disable virtual memory entirely, or assign it a fixed size, and performance is just dandy.
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Expert Comment

by:1cell
ID: 2596858
hehe, I knew it was coming.  I wont disagree that Win98 can handle it.  I have also seen it work.  However, my point is that I have seen some performance problems with it and if you are using that much memory and can go with NT, it is a better idea.

I do find the idea of disabling virtual memory very interesting though and would be interested in knowing more about that.
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Author Comment

by:Austen
ID: 2596971
Looking at all your replies it would appear that it is entirely upto the Mobo/BIOS as to how much memory I can address, but there seems to be a split opinion on the performance of 128 vs 256. I suppose if you think of it logically there would be less paging the more memory you install, but because were dealing with MS here it seems that the machine pages more with additional memory. Can someone confirm this?
Thanks

Austen
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Author Comment

by:Austen
ID: 2596986
Looking at all your replies it would appear that it is entirely upto the Mobo/BIOS as to how much memory I can address, but there seems to be a split opinion on the performance of 128 vs 256. I suppose if you think of it logically there would be less paging the more memory you install, but because were dealing with MS here it seems that the machine pages more with additional memory. Can someone confirm this?
Thanks

Austen
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Accepted Solution

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1cell earned 100 total points
ID: 2597003
What I can tell you is I have seen it both ways and can't determine exactly why it happens sometimes.  I have seen systems running 95 and 98 which used more than 128 MB of RAM but I have also seen problems with these OS's when going that high.  

As for the motherboard, these days most motherboards handle at least 128 MB and usually more.
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Expert Comment

by:AdamWoodland
ID: 2599607
NT is a better (superior) operating system, except on one minor point...

I can't play Quake on it, the sensitivity is strange (you either get high or low - not the number you specify has no real effect). It is also a bit laggy playing the single player.

NT4 from SP4 (I think) comes with DirectX 3, but doesn't go any higher with SP6a. Ruins any game playing really.
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