Vista 32 - 2GB DDR2 to 3GB or 4GB DDR2 RAM?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by Riffrafter, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Riffrafter

    Riffrafter Guest

    Hi all,

    I've seen numerous posts related to RAM usage in Vista-32 some of it
    contradictory or confusing. I have 2 questions I'm hoping someone can help
    me with.

    1 - My Dell came pre-loaded with Vista-32 Home Premium and 2 GB DDR2 RAM (2
    sticks of 1GB) in slots 1 & 2. Everything works great - no problems at all.
    I've just purchased 2 more sticks of 1GB and want to know if I must install
    both 1GB sticks as a matched pair in slots 3 & 4, or can I install just 1 GB
    in either slot 3 or slot 4?

    2 - If I install both to get to 4GB total, will Vista-32 Home Premium be
    able to see/use it all if I have Memory remap option in BIOS? I've seen
    conflicting info on this related to DEP, PAE and performance hits if PAE is

    My head is spinning...any help would be greatly appreciated.


    Riffrafter, Oct 29, 2007
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  2. Paired memory will work better than individual sticks, so 4gb comprising two
    pairs is best.

    One pair + 1 single stick will not perform as well as two pairs, but you
    will save on not buying the 4th stick

    One pair will work well enough.

    Vista/XP x86 will support 4gb, but not show it or fully use it, BUT Windows
    may well see anything between 250 and 500mb more than if only 3gb was
    installed. In worst cases where the design of the motherboard is not as good
    as it could be, less than 3gb is seen, even though 4gb is present.

    There is a performance trade off in using odd numbers of memory sticks, BUT
    depending on what applications you run, you may never notice it. Also bear
    in mind that the maximum memory that can be used by any 32 bit application
    is 2gb, and many never ever get close to that kind of usage.

    Also note that the memory slots may be color coded, and some pairings may
    require that 0 and 2 are one pairing, 1 and three being the other. Put the
    same pairs in the same color slots.
    Mike Hall - MVP, Oct 29, 2007
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  3. Riffrafter

    Paul Randall Guest

    32-bit Vista typically allows you to use a maximum of around 3 GB of memory.
    Memory in excess of that is masked by the address space used by various
    things in your computer, such as the graphics card. With 4 GB of RAM, you
    will likely see between 2.9 and 3.4 GB. For most people it is not much of
    an improvement over having just 3GB installed, but 'your mileage may vary'.

    Hopefully your Dell came with a DVD that contains the manual in PDF format.
    Or you can download it from Dell. Adobe Acrobat Reader has very good
    searching capabilities; using that you should be able to quickly find info
    on memory upgrades for your particular model.

    -Paul Randall
    Paul Randall, Oct 29, 2007
  4. Pair the RAM, even if you just buy a pair of 512mb sticks for slots 3 and 4.

    The RAM limitation in Vista 32bit is more dependant on the mainboard than
    Vista itself. Vista 32bit, can technically see and use 4GB of RAM,
    separating this into two chunks for the OS and applicaitons. However many
    mainboard chipsets have limitations, and could limit the amount of RAM
    visible to the OS.

    In some mainboard situations, even moving to Vista 64bit won't let the OS
    see the entire RAM in your system, and you will still be limited to 3-3.5GB
    of available RAM.

    Good luck...
    TheNetAvenger, Oct 29, 2007
  5. Riffrafter

    Tim Slattery Guest

    Check your motherboard or system documentation. Different motherboards
    work different ways.
    It won't be able to use it all. A 32-bit system has 4GB of address
    space, some of that must be used to access video RAM, BIOS, etc. See

    Using PAE would expand the address space to 36 bits, or about 68GB.
    You have to have hardware that supports that, as well as an OS that
    supports it. I think some MS server systems support PAE, I don't know
    how common hardware that supports it is.
    Tim Slattery, Oct 29, 2007
  6. Riffrafter

    ray Guest

    2 ** 36 = 64gb.
    ray, Oct 29, 2007
  7. Riffrafter

    Tim Slattery Guest

    Windows Calculator tells me that 2**36 = 68,719,476,736. You're right
    that since a binary GB is 1,073,741,824, that comes out to 64 binary
    Tim Slattery, Oct 30, 2007
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