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Windows Server 2000 Std - 4GB RAM limitations

I've recently setup a couple of server 2003 boxes with 4GB RAM that all went OK; I've now done a same hardware Server 2000 Std box with 4GB RAM and when I check system properties it only shows up with 2.8GB RAM. I know why this is (PCI Express, video card and RAID controller all chew up addressable memory); but what should I do about it if anything. This box is going to be a terminal server so I'd like to have all 4GB useable. Can I / should I use Physical Address Extension (PAE)? Do I have any other options (IE: free) short of going to Enterprise Edition?

My setup is:
Windows Server 2000 Std SP4
dual AMD Opteron 280 CPU's
Tyan S2895 mobo
4 x 1GB Corsair DDR400 ECC RAM
Adaptec 2130SLP 128MB RAID controller (4 drive RAID5)
XFX 7600GS 256MB video

Thanks
-Chuck
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chuckrox
Asked:
chuckrox
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2 Solutions
 
chuckroxAuthor Commented:
Edit:
Actually they are Opteron 254's - Dual single core CPUs @ 2.8GHz
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snewoCommented:

I'd go Enterprise edition in order to solve this issue.  It's the right way to go if you ask me.



Snewo
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snewoCommented:

OK, I just re-read my sentence and I need to expand.    Enterprise Edition gives you the flexibility to add more RAM in the future and be able to use it without a complete overhaul of the OS.

As for PAE, I suggest you do some research into it before turning it on.   PAE can have a performance hit due to the memory translation that will be needed to address all of the memory.   Maybe a test could be undertaken on your system.   If you don't want to deal with testing performance hits and the effects of PAE then Enterprise Edition would me where I would go.


Snewo
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chuckroxAuthor Commented:

Would I be safe to go ahead and try PAE? I don't see anywhere saying that it is or is not officially supported in Server 2000 Standard.
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Darwinian999Commented:
You don't need to upgrade to Enterprise Edition. Standard Edition supports 4GB RAM. With your configuration you should see 4GB in the system properties.

Your issue lies elsewhere - perhaps with the motherboard BIOS (is there a newer version available?), or in the BIOS configuration.
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dmccurdy51Commented:
Install the latest firmware for the Server and raid controller.  This should fix it.
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dcliveCommented:
What you should do about it:  Put a simple PCIe gfx card in the machine (or a plain PCI card).  Update the BIOS on all hardware in the system.  

PAE is a bad solution for Citrix because of, as written, the translation required for the memory tables.  Performance would suffer.  

Win64 versions of Citrix are now available, and that would also solve the problem.  You'd need a Win64 OS and a Win64 version of Citrix, and would be a completely clean solution.  
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chuckroxAuthor Commented:
Well I tried adding the /PAE switch and now it just shows the same 2,881,880 KB RAM but now adds Physical Address Extension to the MyComputer properties dialog, so no big change there.

Darwinian:
I sort of get the impression that Server 2000 supports a total of 4GB addressable space which includes BIOS reserved memory space and any device memory (RAID controller and graphics cards). Is this wrong?

dmccurdy51:
I already have the latest BIOS for the mobo (2895_103) and Adaptec 2130slp RAID controller (v9117)

dclive:
Unfortunately going to a 64 bit version (which implies Server 2003) isn't an option. We aren't running Citrix, just regular ol' Microsoft Terminal Server.

I do appreciate everyone's effort here. Please let me know if there's anything else you can think of.
Thanks
-Chuck
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chuckroxAuthor Commented:
I should also mention that MemTest86 v3.2 has no problems seeing all 4 GB on this system.
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dmccurdy51Commented:
Found this on a another forum
http://episteme.arstechnica.com/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/77909774/m/714006398731

Is the 4GB available only under 2003 R2?

I'm running Win 2003 Standard SP1 but not R2 on a similar setup (Asus A8N-E, BIOS 1010 Beta, X2 3800+, 4 x 1GB). I get only 3.14GB.

This is because I've had to turn off in the BIOS, the "S/W remapping above 4GB" and "H/W remapping above 4GB". Without turning these off, I get a BSOD 0x0000007f

I'm encouraged that you get the full 4GB. I badly need it as I'm using this box to run Virtual Server 2005 R2 and I need all the RAM I can get. That 800MB of RAM you've got that I don't means that I would be able to run 2 more VMs!
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dmccurdy51Commented:
More forum speek

"I had braced myself for only seeing 3-3.5 GB of my installed 4GB of RAM, but Windows 2003 R2 is showing 4193528KB (nearly 4GB) of RAM in Task Manager. Asus A8N-SLI Premium, 1009 BIOS, Athlon 64 X2 4800+.

Smile I'm thrilled, but perplexed. Confused

I thought a 64-bit OS was needed for all 4GB to be available to Windows. Apparently some memory-mapping magic has occurred. Is this due to the BIOS, the CPU, the OS, or some combination?"
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Darwinian999Commented:
On a HP Proliant DL385 (dual Opteron) with 4GB RAM and Windows Server 2003 SP1, I see 3.83GB RAM in the Computer Properties.
On a HP Proliant DL385 (dual Opteron) with 4GB RAM and Windows Server 2003 R2, I see exactly the same - 3.83GB RAM in the Computer Properties.

Virtual memory is all about memory-mapping magic.
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chuckroxAuthor Commented:
I took out the grfx card and put in a simple PCI video card and got back back about 600MB of RAM (now showing 3.4GB RAM with and without PAE). I think this shows in my case that Windows 2000 Server Standard can only address 4GB of memory; which is to say that peripheral devices such as RAID controllers and grfx cards will chew up your maximum available RAM. Points to snewo and dclive if no other profound suggestions in the next week.
Thanks for everyone's help.
-Chuck
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Darwinian999Commented:
Your graphics card must have been using system RAM instead of providing its own video RAM. This is a common technique with cheaper graphics cards. Graphics performance is ok thanks to the PCI Express bus, but it robs the system of RAM that it could use for applications.

RAID controllers and other peripherals generally don't work this way - they provide their own RAM for their own use, which doesn't impact on the 4GB address space (other than a small amount of space used for registers & buffers).
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chuckroxAuthor Commented:
Nope, both the video and RAID controller have their own discrete memory; when I run memtest86 I see the full 4GB of RAM - whereas with a shared memory video system you don't see the full amount of memory in memtest. The RAID and grfx cards aren't using actual RAM memory - just part of the 4GB of addressable memory that Server 2000 Standard can use.
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