Windows 7 Pro 32 bit and RAM versus Windows 7 Pro 64 Bit and RAM

Are there any limitations with regards to installing memory in a 32 bit version of Windows 7 Professional versus the 64 bit version?
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Yes. The 32-bit version of Windows 7 is limited to approximately 3 GB of memory. If you install more, it will only see 3 GB.

A 64-bit machine can use as much as BIOS and slots allow. 16 GB is a common maximum, but that is NOT a limitation of 64-bit.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
brothertruffle880Author Commented:
In the 64 bit version of Windows 7 PRO, is there a point of diminishing returns with regards to installing more RAM?  I vaguely recall reading something about  128 Gig being overkill?  or 256GB?
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
The limit on W7 Pro X86 (32-bit) is 4GB, although Windows will typically utilize less than that (usually closer to 3GB). The limit on W7 Pro X64 (64-bit) is 192GB. Here's a table at MSDN that shows it for all W7 editions:

However, your hardware may impose limitations well under the 192GB capability of W7/64-bit Pro. Regards, Joe
Active Protection takes the fight to cryptojacking

While there were several headline-grabbing ransomware attacks during in 2017, another big threat started appearing at the same time that didn’t get the same coverage – illicit cryptomining.

Actually there are RAM limits for Windows 7 64 bit. Home basic tops at 8GB, Home Premium at 16GB, and the others at 192GB (but there probably isn't much hardware except servers that currently would support that much RAM). There are also differences between the 32 bit versions. Starter for example supports up to 2GB, while the others 4GB.

The 3GB thinkpads mentioned above is a reduction you see because of some hardware resources also taking away some of the RAM's address space. But this can vary depending on the hardware of the PC.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
For a workstation or laptop, I cannot imagine needing 128 GB.

Once you have 8 GB you will see you do not use anywhere near that much unless you have virtual machines.

8 GB normally suffices, 16 Gb certainly will.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> 128 Gig being overkill? or 256GB?

I wonder if you're confusing memory with hard drive. 128GB is a huge amount of memory, and 256GB isn't even possible in W7 Pro (as the table I posted above shows). On the other hand, 128GB and 256GB are popular sizes of SSDs (solid state drives). Regards, Joe
brothertruffle880Author Commented:
Wow!  Thanks for the copious feedback.  I'm asking because I will be doing video and audio editing and don't want to get choked!  That's my reason for asking.

Would purchasing a "gamer PC be a good move for someone doing video/audio editing?
How about purchasing a gamer PC for trading stocks, bonds, options and commodities.  The platform loaded would be TRADESTATION, or THINK OR SWIM (which is now owned by TD Ameritrade)

I have a Dell 8700 with an intel i7 processor.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You certainly do NOT want a 32-bit machine for the above.

Get a 64-bit machine. Today get Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - NOT Windows 7.
Get 8 GB of memory.
Get your choice of 500 GB SSD Drive (pricey) or 500 GB 7200-rpm hard drive.
Good video, camera and so on.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> I'm asking because I will be doing video and audio editing and don't want to get choked!

Ah, that explains it! I'm not an expert in video/audio editing or gaming, so I'll drop out now and leave it to the experts in those topics. I have numerous W7 Pro 64-bit systems, but the most memory in any of them is 16GB, which has provided good performance with many apps loaded at once, including some (not much) video editing with VideoReDo TVSuite, some (not much) audio editing with Total Recorder Pro, but no gaming. My higher-end systems have a quad-core Core i7 and 500GB SSD. Regards, Joe
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Would purchasing a "gamer PC be a good move for someone doing video/audio editing?

Audio editing is primarily disk bound, no where near cpu bound unless you are trans-coding from one format to another i.e. I get audiobooks in mp3 or m4a format and I transcode them to m4b and can do several weeks of audiobook transcoding in an hour.

With video on the other hand is primarily cpu bound unless your encoder can use the gpu and then they will become i/o bound.  Currently I can encode @ less than 4 minutes per hour of recording @ 1080p h2.64

How about purchasing a gamer PC for trading stocks, bonds, options and commodities.
if there are a lot of floating point operations AND the software can use gpu offloading.  Then yes, but normally an i5 or i7 would be more than sufficient.   The software will decide for you whether or not it can use gpu offloading AND which brand of gpu you need.  If it doesn't take advantage of gpu offloading to process floating point then you could use the graphics included with the cpu or even a $150 video card..
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@brother:  Your question was about memory limitations and that was answered in the first post. If you now wish to branch out into "what gaming pc do I buy" that is really a different question.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi John,
I agree with you that it branched into a different question, but I will quibble with you slightly about the memory limitations being answered in the first post. Your comment that "A 64-bit machine can use as much as BIOS and slots allow" is not completely correct. If you have a 64-bit machine that allows 256GB memory, W7 Pro 64-bit will not be able to use it — its limit is 192GB. I admit that from a pragmatic perspective, that's a pretty worthless clarification. :)  Regards, Joe
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Physical computers have physical limitations. Its a hardware thing. The limit in my X230 is 16 GB not more. That is why I said what I did.
brothertruffle880Author Commented:
Okay.  you're right.  I"m asking too many questions in one post.
But I've been yelled at by admins for opening too many posts which could have been part of one main question.  So, no matter what I do, it seems someone is going to get upset.
I will close this question and assign points.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 7

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.