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Useable memory not actual memory

Posted on 2011-09-26
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
With a Win 7 32bit Ultimate on a new HP, useable is 2.93 gig and 4 gig installed. In taskmanager, it says 2.93 available. So is the 1 gig lost or held in reserve for windows or maybe video?
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Question by:cebu1014
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athomsfere earned 500 total points
ID: 36600831
x86 can only address 4GB of RAM. This includes the video card and some other parts of the OS, which gives you a usable RAM of approximately 3GB. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less but that looks right.
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by:Run5k
ID: 36600860
You are essentially seeing the correct amount of available memory.  This article helps clarify things:

Clearing up the 32/64-bit memory limit confusion
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Author Comment

by:cebu1014
ID: 36601062
So would the WIN7 hole in physical memory for set aside for video memory applies also to XP PRo 32 bit.?
I never saw XP PRO report this has memory loss in task manager...but was it really assigning memory addresses off as unuseable?
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by:jcimarron
ID: 36601274
cebu1014--Perhaps of help.
" ...msconfig/ boot/advanced, and untick 'maximum
memory'... Reboot and now 8gb of RAM is shown in system with no
amount usable."

This comes from  http://www.w7forums.com/win7-64bit-not-seeing-all-8gb-ram-t9488p2.html  
See BobH's solution about 60% down the page, and a post toward the end as to what the word "usable" means.
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by:senad
ID: 36688687
windows 7 x32 uses only up to 3gb of ram. No more ....
You can have 20 gb of ram but W7 x32 will use only 3gb.
To use maximum amount of memory you need W7 x64 bit installed.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 36987618
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 500 points for athomsfere's comment http:/Q_27328323.html#36600831

for the following reason:

This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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by:senad
ID: 36987619
The answer is actually  not correct !
There is a difference of how much memory a system can use
and how much it can handle. How much memory a system can use is seen here :
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366778%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

In non-PAE modes of x86 processors the RAM memory is always limited to 4GB.
However,the architecture of the x86 limits RAM usage to something like 3.2 or 3.4 gb.
So if you have 4gb of ram windows will display lesser availability,cca 3.2.
Here is a nice example :
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/03/dude-wheres-my-4-gigabytes-of-ram.html


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by:Run5k
ID: 36987697
With all due respect to Senad, I think that Athomsfere's answer is essentially correct.  Yes, you can certainly get in-depth regarding the terminology.  That is why I posted a hyperlink to an article with a more elaborate explanation, which in turn references an article by Mark Russinovich with an even greater level of detail.

That being said, Athomsfere's answer is relatively simple but essentially correct.
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by:senad
ID: 36990353
actually not correct....
Windows 7 use 4 GB  RAM. It is split into 2 parts:
2GB for programs and 2 GB for system (kernel).
Theres a trick to correct this ratio (wake windows with /3GB switch) and you will have 3 GB for programs. But this is all virtual RAM.
Basically BIOS and other cards steal some of you RAM and you end up with 3 to 3.2 GB. Rest is available to Windows. More cards you have less ram you get ...
x86 system have 4GB limit (so the answer seems correct) but user was wondering where did his ram go. Thats how I understood the q ...
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by:senad
ID: 36990365
So roughly, the limit for a 32-bit Windows system is 4GB minus the amount of dedicated memory installed in BIOS (on the motherboard, including cache, onboard audio and video memory and etc...) -- which usually translates as about 3GB of useable RAM. So I hope RAM mystery is solved ... :-)
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by:Run5k
ID: 36990385
Senad, I have a great deal of admiration for your Windows expertise.  However, I feel the same way about LeeTutor and his status as a Microsoft MVP certainly doesn't hurt that sentiment.

That being said, LeeTutor didn't have any problem with the accuracy of Athomsfere's answer and neither do I.  No, his answer didn't provide a tremendous amount of detail like you saw within some of the links that we posted above.  On the other hand, his veriage really isn't vastly different than what you wrote in your last post.  I certainly respect your opinion, but I really think that we are splitting hairs over the terminology.
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