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32 bit 4GB RAM only?

I was told 32 bt machine can use only 4gb ram. and anything more is not possible or is waster..

is this true..
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25112
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25112
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4 Solutions
 
Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IICommented:
Actually 32-bit OS can only handle around 3.5gb. Yes, the way the 32-bit Operating System is designed it won't recognize anything more then 3.5gb, regardless of how much RAM you have installed. This is why 64-bit has become the standard today.

In other words, this is in fact a true statement.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Yes
No matter what you do a 32bit system can only address 2^32b - in practical terms because of memory addressing the upper 0.75GB of that is unavailable for the system to use so don't put in more than 4GB

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/129999-32bit-windows-not-usingseeing-all-4gb-ram/

If you've a 64bit system you have 2^64b - whci is considerably more memory (there's no commercial system that even approaches that capacity ... yet ;))
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PapertripCommented:
Depends on the hardware and how the system is configured.  Check these links out.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929605
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366796%28VS.85%29.aspx
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
No it doesn't, you can't make a 32bit system address more than 4GB
PAE is not the same thing.
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PapertripCommented:
PAE is exactly how you can make a 32bit system address >4GB.
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25112Author Commented:
MASQUERAID, Scissors85, I think i have seen some 32 bit vista machines sold with 6 GB ram.. what is the deal there?
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Sean ScissorsProgram Analyst IICommented:
@25112 That is what we call a "Marketing Scheme". I myself saw 4GB machines that were pre-installed with 32-bit. This happened quite often when 64-bit was first becoming the norm. Nowadays though since everything sold is basically 64-bit it isn't a big deal. But yea I used to see Vista 32-bit with 4GB RAm and I would just laugh...
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
I've no idea, Vista by default has PAE switched on but there is a system limit in 32bit XP, Vista and Windows 7 which means even if PAE is enabled no physical memory beyond 2^32 can be accessed.

BTW Apologies to Papertrip - I was too focused on Windows clients - yes server systems can use PAE to map to a larger physical memory capacity. But with 64bit hardware so widely available there's little reason to do this.  For Windows clients I stay with my original answer.
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PapertripCommented:
Actually all of the info I have provided thus far applies to certain versions of Windows as well, granted only to Server grade versions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Extension#Microsoft_Windows


I was told 32 bt machine can use only 4gb ram. and anything more is not possible or is waster..
My original answer is completely correct.  If you have a 32bit system using PAE, then having >4GB is not a waste.
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PapertripCommented:
But with 64bit hardware so widely available there's little reason to do this.
With 64bit hardware, PAE is irrelevant and unnecessary.  Yes 64bit hardware is widely available now, but this question is about 32bit.

For Windows clients I stay with my original answer.
But your original answer is incorrect.
yes server systems can use PAE to map to a larger physical memory capacity
That, however, is correct.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
OK, how does a 32-bit Windows Client system access >4GB with PAE?
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PapertripCommented:
I assume you mean versions of Windows that are not Server edition?  As I said in my last comment, PAE is only supported on Server editions.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
PAE is supported on Windows client systems as well as server (from XP)  but there is a 4GB system limit on maximum available memory.

So the answer is 'Yes' if you're putting XP, Vista or Windows 7 on

and

'No', if you're putting a Windows server system on (except W2K3 Standard which still has a system limit of 4GB)

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366796.aspx
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PapertripCommented:
Fair enough.

My original answer is the correct answer for this particular question, it was only asked about a "32 bit machine", OS was not mentioned.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Absolutely - it was an interesting journey though.
2am here so time to go :)
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PapertripCommented:
Good night :)
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garycaseCommented:
A few thoughts/corrections ...

First, the answer to your question is simply Yes -- it's true that installing more than 4GB with a 32-bit OS is a waste.     Installing 4GB is NOT a waste (as some have suggested) -- as that will ensure you have the maximum possible amount of RAM and that it's operating in the optimal dual-channel configuration (most modern systems support dual channel memory operation).

The use of physical address extensions (PAE) is not supported with Microsoft's consumer OS's ... which is, I presume what you're asking about.   PAE DOES provide a way to extend the addressing by using an additional address register to hold the higher-order (above 32 bits) address bits ... but this also complicates memory management and adds a small layer of overhead.    It's supported by the Enterprise and DataCenter versions of Windows Server OS's (both 2003 and 2008) ... but not by the Standard server versions or by any desktop OS (XP, Vista, or '7).      There ARE a few 3rd party applications that use PAE to access memory beyond 4GB for RAMDisk applications -- but I'd consider ANY of the /PAE access modes to be beyond what you had in mind for this question.

Finally, a minor correction:    An earlier comment indicated that with a 64-bit OS you could access 2^64 memory addresses.     This is NOT correct -- neither the Intel nor the AMD architectures use 64-bit address registers in their 64-bit instruction set.    Depending on the mode of the CPU, they support either 48-bit or 56-bit address registers ... so realistically the limit is 2^48 addresses.     In practical terms this is unlimited -- no system could hold nearly this much physical RAM ... but it's not 2^64 :-)
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Thanks, I've certainly learnt a lot from this thread.
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PapertripCommented:
Thanks, I've certainly learnt a lot from this thread.
The best part of EE for experts aside from the shirts ;)
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
There are shirts??
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PapertripCommented:
:D
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25112Author Commented:
thanks very much
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