4GB of RAM

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by FeelTheRads, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    Memory is so cheap these days (and comes in 2-4GB packages too), that it essentially isn't a problem.

    Also, I'm running 64-bit XP and haven't encountered a single problem yet.
  2. Kanhef

    Kanhef Vault Dweller

    Sep 2, 2007
    Which continually pisses me off. No one seems to make any attempt to write efficient code these days. It would be nice to be able to buy new games without needing the latest, greatest hardware available.

    Hmm... maybe the developers are getting paid by hardware manufacturers to force people to keep upgrading their systems... </paranoid>
  3. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    This is a ridiculous complaint.
    I recently bought a new system which is sure to run the newest games at the highest settings. Before that, my 4-year old system could still run any game I threw at it (except Assassin's Creed, which for some reason requires Dual Core CPUs). So the idea that you have to have the latest hardware to play a game is simply not true.

    Besides that, when there's new technology available, people use it for their newest, high-budget games. This is pretty logical for games that are supposed to AAA titles.

    Which is also why many smaller budget games require much less advanced systems.
  4. Gandar

    Gandar First time out of the vault

    Nov 17, 2008
    A few things:

    - 32 Bit OSes are limited to 2^32 locations in address space. Thats 4,294,967,296 or 4GB

    - Address space is used by everything from the system itself to Video Cards. As a result, you will never see all 4gb as usable.

    - Installing 4gb is good if you don't have a higher end graphics solution. Typically you will get about 200mb more than a 3gb setup

    - SLI video cards take out of your address space. My setup for example

    4gb Corsair Dominator RAM
    Dual 8800 GT in SLI (2x 512mb)
    Right off the bat that leaves me with 3gb of "Visible RAM". Minus system etc. my OS is using about 2.8gb of that.

    - Vista (all versions) caches most of your free RAM with any programs you use frequently. This theoretically speeds up program access time. It may look like you have nothing free, but many times thats all readily accessable anyway.

    - Here is the most important part:


    This is extremely important. Even if you have a 64-bit OS, if the software isn't coded to use it, all the RAM over 4gb is still wasted. Oh, and it gets better. Thanks to larger instruction size (64bit vs 32bit), there is some larger overhead on ALL programs. The memory footprint of many apps is actually SWELLED. Sometimes a 32-bit app on a 64-bit system can run WORSE.

    I highly recommend that anyone considering 64-bit and more than 4gb of RAM take a deep breath and consider every program they will use. Unless you already have a 64-bit app that can use that memory, save your cash. If you are buying a new system, then by all means, go ahead. A 64-bit OS, 8gb of RAM, 2gb of Video RAM, etc. etc. will be somewhat more future proof, even if you won't have immediate benefit.
  5. zioburosky13

    zioburosky13 Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 24, 2004
    It won't be a waste if you have 4GB RAM even thought the system reports only 3.2GB RAM available. Those additional RAM is still come in handy when it comes to RAM crunching work.
  6. Rev. Layle

    Rev. Layle A Smooth-Skin

    Jul 26, 2005
    I'm curious how that works, if the OS can only physically address 3.2 GB (assuming that is what is being reported), how is the extra memory addressed if device I/O is mapped there instead?

    (serious question, not trying to be snarky)
  7. Gandar

    Gandar First time out of the vault

    Nov 17, 2008
    The OS actually maps 4GB of address space

    The system, your video card, or any other device with onboard memory, eats into that. Typical computers will see 3.2GB. Because I have TWO video cards, for example, mine only sees 2.8GB+-

    If i SLI'ed 3 video cards at 512mb each I would only get 2.2GB. See how that works?

    Remember, the Video Card in modern systems is not so much for the extra memory, but more for the dedicated GPU and (typically) faster GDDR3 or GDDR4 RAM. Also, Vista 32 can actually see all 4gb, even though it only uses 2.8gb of it in my case. The main reason I went for my config is overclocking. Just easier to find settings for 2 DIMMS of 2gb corsair dominator. By the way, I'm not an OC expert, so I may be wrong on this last part, but I believe timings are weird on odd #s of dual channel RAM.

    With the new Intel I7 processors and mobos with tri-channel RAM, the same will be said for even # of DIMMS installed. The I7 is probably a waste for most people though. 8 Logical Cores is useless to 99.99999% of people unless they do some hardcore multitasking. For today's multi-tasking environment I think Quad is all ya really need. The real reason to get an I7 is the tri-channel memory and the integrated memory controller (huge thing). That got rid of a gigantic bottleneck that Intel was suffering from on their chips. Also, I believe the four cores of the I7 are on one die.

    Well that was a bit of a rant. TL;DR / Getting straight to your question:

    The OS has 4gb of address space. Before you get to use anything all installed devices, the system, and even windows itself will eat a chunk of your RAM. Don't get confused by FREE showing almost 0 in vista though. All that "cached" stuff is actually usable by any program :)
  8. Tycn

    Tycn Still Mildly Glowing

    Sep 27, 2008
    With an 8500/8600 the extra 2GB will do you no good whatsoever. A higher end card (9600/8800 and above) should see better performance though. I noted significant performance gain in games when upgrading from 2GB to 3GB on Vista 32 bit.
  9. baronjohn

    baronjohn First time out of the vault

    Nov 3, 2008
    Windows 2000/XP also has a 2gb per process memory limit, which I found isn't enough to play a large map in Supreme Commander.

    Vista is awful though, and I hear 64bit XP is a lot better these days than it used to be.
  10. Gandar

    Gandar First time out of the vault

    Nov 17, 2008
    I wouldn't say Vista is awful. I would, however, say that the User Account Control is to Vista as the Paper Clip Helper was to Microsoft Office :mrgreen:
  11. Rev. Layle

    Rev. Layle A Smooth-Skin

    Jul 26, 2005
    I'm not a big fan of the oodles of extra services Vista runs or SuperFetch

    You can turn some of them off, but damn, WHICH ONES?
  12. Bofast

    Bofast Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jan 26, 2006
    A bunch of guides about Windows can be found here:

    The second article under Vista should deal with what services do what and which can be safely turned off (as with all things, backup first and be careful) :)
  13. Jack The Knife

    Jack The Knife It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 20, 2006
    The Tweaking Companion from www.tweakguides.com worked wonders for XP on my laptop.
    A great performance gain if one installs XP while following the guide step by step.
    I recon the guide for Vista is just as good, though I have not tried it as I have not yet made the switch from XP.

    Edit: Most boring 100th post ever. Finally half a radioactice cake is mine!
  14. Maphusio

    Maphusio Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Sep 25, 2004
    Sweet, we can be the 8GB club... I bet my 8 is faster than your 8.
  15. Drakehash

    Drakehash First time out of the vault

    Aug 10, 2008
    I migrate from windows xp to vista 64 because i update my system to a amd quad core 9950 @ 3 ghz, a Diammond 4870 xoc and 4 gb ocz memory, soo far i found this vista running better than in my windows xp, i am playing storm of zehir in this system with all graphics and stuff on full with no problems. I guess it can run better on windows xp but what the hell it run nice here and i found vista lot of better in his desktop management (of course i disable the services like UAC. vista aero, index service and the superfetch).
  16. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    yes, individual programs can only be allocated up to 2 gb

    for all NT based OSes, in the 32 bit versions they do not use 32 bit memory addressing, they address in 46 bit blocks but only use about 42 of those bits. thats why 2k/xp/vista see upwards of 3.2-3.5 gb of ram but cant really use more than 2gb at a time.

    now for gaming, if you are using a 64 bit game, then obviously a 64 bit OS will suit you much better. now if you are using a 32 bit game in a 64 bit OS, you are using that 32 bit game inside a 64 bit wrapper/emulator. which uses up cpu cycles.

    if you want maximum performance, get a 32 bit os if all you use is 32 bit games/apps.

    i wonder when game companies will update their compilers to do a both 32 bit and 64 bit version.

    it would be nice if for windows 7 MS required it to have a 64 bit and 32 bit launcher to be considered "designed for windows 7" logo and shit.
  17. Maphusio

    Maphusio Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Sep 25, 2004
    I don't know... After Vista... I'd say they might go another way, just out of spite. All hail Steve Jobs! (to a lesser extent Wozniak).