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4gb Ram On 32 Bit Vista?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 MvF Think Pad

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 12:44 PM

Hi all!

I recently purchased my new think pad and added 4GB of ram under the impression that the 32bit systems could handle a maximum of 4GB of ram. To my dismay i received the computer and saw that it only read 3GB of ram, i called the lenovo service and was informed that apparently "32 bit operating systems are limited to 3gb or ram". I argued for some time and asked then why would fricken lenovo offer 4GB or ram then??? He said that incase i ever needed to upgrade to 64 bit. Can anyone explain to me why a 32bit can physically hold 4GB but can not actually use all of it!?!?!?!?! THANKS!!!

-Mike von Fange

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 02:35 PM

32-bit Vista can work with 4GB of RAM installed. However, due to hardware and software limitations, only 3-3.5GB is actually available to use. 64-bit Vista, on the other hand, can use FAR more than 4GB. One of the users at MSDN had this to say about the issue:

"32bit versions of XP and Vista are limited to 32Bit address space, this has to include space for all hardware mapped into the address space as well, so you will never see your full 4Gb of memory (I see 3.6Gb on my machine)."

Also, here's a website that further explains: Coding Horror

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#3 rigacci

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 04:19 PM

I have never heard of anyone upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit, so they are throwing you some bull. Normally, you would purchase the computer with either or, not upgrade at a later date. You will need to buy new discs if you want to do that.

But then, Lenovo are a wacky bunch. We have had experience with them in the past and would rather not in the future.

Good luck though. They aren't the worst laptops but they are down there with the support.

DR

#4 Scotteq

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 06:54 PM

In 32 bit Windows operating systems, the total addressable space available is 4GB. If you installed total 4GB memory, the system will detect less than 4GB of total memory because sizable portions of the available address space must be allocated for other critical functions, such as:

- System BIOS (including motherboard, add-on cards, etc..)
- Motherboards resources
- Memory mapped I/O
- Configuration for AGP/PCI-Ex/PCI
- Other memory allocations for PCI devices - (Video RAM being the main culprit here)

Different onboard devices and different add-on cards (devices) will result of different total memory size. e.g. more PCI cards installed will require more memory resources, resulting of less memory free for other uses.

This limitation applies to most chipsets & Windows XP/Vista 32-bit version operating systems.

If you install a Windows operating system, if more than 3GB memory is required for your system, then the below conditions should be met:

1. A memory controller which supports memory swap functionality is used. The latest chipsets like Intel 975X, 955X, Nvidia NF4 SLI Intel Edition, Nvidia NF4 SLI X16, and AMD K8 CPU architecture can support the memory swap function.

2. Windows XP Pro X64 Ed. (64-bit), Windows Vista 64, or other OS which can address more than 4GB memory.



Note: According to the latest Change Log published my Microsoft, Windows Vista 32bit ***SP1*** will display the installed amount of RAM. It is unclear at this point whether or not that memory will actually be available for use, or if it's simply change to the display.

#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 08:44 PM

I think that the update in SP1 will simply change the display. The only way to go from 32 to 64 bit Vista is to install the 64-bit edition using a clean install which will wipe out the 32-bit. This is possible using the OEM, Upgrade, or Full retail copies. That is assuming you don't want to dual boot.

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#6 coolchris706

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 08:55 PM

I think that having 4gb of RAM in a new Thinkpad laptop is kind of overdoing it to begin with. 3gb is more than enough for almost all projects that you would hope to accomplish on a laptop. Especially with the new Intel Core 2 Duo processors that are much better at multitasking then the older processors. To each his own though.

#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 05:13 PM

Most users don't need 4GB, yet. Gamers, encoders, and people using 3D graphics will need all the RAM they can get. Luckily, Vista is better able to manage large amounts of RAM than XP.

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#8 Arioch13

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 05:44 PM

I had exactly the same issue. I have a desktop games machine and bought paired corsair ram modules to get to 4gig only to find that I could only see 3.5 kind of dilutes the value. Speaking with microsoft I was told that I would need the 64 bit version however working as I do for a large corporate organisation I cheekily phoned the IT helpdesk to ask the rather knowledgeable gurus I know there to see what they thought. The response was "oh dear" you bought vista, silly boy would you like me to get xp back on thier for you before you throw your pc out a window.

Fortunately though I work from home ( hence can choose my own pc ) and can invoke the services of the great chaps in IT to get me out of this nightmare so going back to XP for reasons other than this but I looked for a solution quite widely to this very issue and I couldnt find one. Worse I found that if I upgraded to the 64 bit version I may struggle to find drivers for some of my hardware devices. This was quite surprising as I am not running anything I would term non standard and all of it is basically the best I could find when I built the machine.

Personally disappointed on this for the same reason as yourself. Doesnt matter if you need it or if you dont. Personally my "work" applications need nothing like the spec I have but I know the games I invested in this kind of spec for sure do. The 2 tier 32 / 64 bit thing was a nasty surprise. My question would be more along the lines of do we have a real choice?

If anyone has an answer to the last one I am all ears, if I could find a secure user friendly OS that didnt torture me with each update pls lets hear it. Pls bear in mind IT is not my occupation so its got to be something I could use.

Edited by Arioch13, 20 December 2007 - 05:49 PM.


#9 rigacci

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 07:15 PM

I believe you have a choice in certain OSs now but soon you probably will not. Take the latest Exchange Server; it is not available in anything but 64-bit. Leave it to Microsoft to just lay it on and force you to follow them.

I would say, yes, you have a choice today but tomorrow is another day and they can change their mind on a whim.

DR

#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 05:08 PM

You have the choice between 32 and 64 bit today. In the future, you will not have a choice. The next edition of Windows might have both bit types but the one after that may not. Some users have few problems going to 64-bit. If you decide to go to the 64-bit variety, double-check to make sure you can get drivers for your equipment and software. I've been using the 64-bit Vista since it's release. The only real problem I've had have been with drivers. It's not that there aren't any, but the ones I needed were put together in a haphazard sort of way causing problems. The two pieces of equipment I had problems with were my Netgear wireless NIC and my Creative X-Fi soundcard. Those were solved by replacing the wireless card with one that worked from D-Link. The soundcard was replaced with a, in my opinion, better card from Asus.

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