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Windows XP max Ram memory


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#1 freedomwins08

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:25 PM

What is the max amount of memory that Windows XP SP3 will use well? Like in some programs its said that only about 2 Gigs to 3 Gigs are properly used, is there any point to getting 4 Gigs?

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#2 usasma

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:48 PM

Yes and no - well, actually it's maybe :thumbsup:

Seriously, it all depends on how much RAM your system is using. If you're not maxing out the use of your RAM now, you won't be likely to see significant performance increases by adding more.

Each program has a 4 gB virtual address space assigned to it - this doesn't mean that it takes up 4 gB of RAM. It means that programs can only use 4 gB of virtual address space (and they don't have to use all of it). The Windows Memory Manager manages the Virtual Memory and swaps it in and out of physical memory according to it's own rules.

For example, in most computers with XP there are 40 or 50 processes running at any given time. Each of them has a virtual address space of 4 gB - and this is a whopping 1600 - 2000 gB of virtual address space. But they use much less than this, so the Windows Memory Manager can work quite well with only 1 or 2 gB of RAM and a windows managed pagefile of about 1.5 to 3 gB.

Another example is my system. I went from 32 bit Vista with 4 gB of RAM to 64 bit Vista with 4 gB of RAM and didn't notice any difference in performance. Then I went to 8 gB of RAM and still no performance increase. What I did get was the ability to play games while having 18 icons in my System Tray, 8 programs open in my Task Bar (to include Firefox with 22 tabs open, IE7 with 8 tabs open, 3 separate Virtual Machines (in Virtual PC 2007)). I've also got 70 processes showing in Task Manager - and I can still play games with acceptable performance.

If you've got 2 gB now that's the sweet spot for XP right now - but in the future, who knows what it'll be.
If your system specs allow you to upgrade to 4 gB it'd be a good hedge against the future - but don't expect any dramatic perfromance gains.

FWIW - most systems seem to be going to DDR3 now - so your investment in DDR2/DDR will likely only be good for this system's lifespan.
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#3 hamluis

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:49 PM

Well...I have 4GB installed in my other desktop (this one has 2GB) and when I click on Properties of My Computer...I see 3.37GB actively available of that 4.0GB.

Of the 2.0GB installed on this system, I see 1.75GB reflected.

I feel as if it's worth it to have 4GB on that system, since it is used primarily for video-editing and music-editing, while this is just the everyday, routine system (for everything else, including graphics-editing). Those functions (v-e and m-e) are more memory-intensive that many other computer functions and I believe that more memory allows edits/rendering to process more quickly than they would otherwise.

But this one would have 4GB if I thought that it mattered for what this system is asked to do.

Louis




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