32-bit Windows 7 and RAM?

By greatman05 ยท 10 replies
Oct 7, 2011
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  1. Hello. I'm in the market to get a new laptop, and I specifically wanted a 32-bit OS. I am steadfast in this, and if it makes me old-fashioned/old-timer, so be it. So, here it goes: I had a 1GB video card in my now defunct laptop that took the available memory down to 3GB from 4GB. I'm considering a laptop that has a 1.5GB graphics card. My question is, would that 1.5GB graphics card limit my available memory to 2.5GB? If so, is there a setting I can edit in Windows 7 to allow it to make use of the extra memory? Does Windows 7 run worse with 512MB less of memory (3GB to 2.5GB)?
  2. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    nope. your defunct laptop had 3GB because 32-bit can detect 4GB, but will only use 3GB.

    now there are 2 kinds of laptop graphics. one is onboard and it share amount of VRAM with the system RAM, and another is dedicated VRAM, which has nothing to do with system RAM.

    so if you want a laptop with 1.5GB VRAM and still have 3GB of RAM (max 32-bit can use anyway) so you gonna have to get a laptop with dedicated VRAM. though honestly, unless the laptop has high-end graphic card, 1GB vs 2GB on lousy models wont make a difference (i.e. 1GB GT540 vs 2GB GT540)

    just in case you end up with the onboard graphics (the one which shares from system RAM), there are settings to change the allocated shared memory, but it is available in the system BIOS, which is outside windows 7 and varies with laptop brand and models.
  3. greatman05

    greatman05 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 429

    It would be a dedicated video card; I can't stand integrated graphics. I thought that the memory addresses from the dedicated card would eat into the available memory that Windows 7 32-bit could address.

    BTW, I would be getting the laptop from XoticPC; they're a custom computer builder that builds desktops and laptops.
  4. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    This question is just mire curiosity, but why so firm on your Operating System being a (32-bit) version only? The wonderful wide open world of (64-bit) opens up so many more options with both the Operating System and hardware alike!
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    This is greatman, he defies logic at every opportunity. Check out some of this threads :)
  6. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    yes, but not always. nvidia have turbocache and ati have hypermemory. both can take advantage of your RAM if the VRAM is not enough, if. this technology have been out since 2005 i think, but now it's useless. hybrid graphics is thecurrently popular technlogy for laptop graphics.

    considering most laptops now have 1GB+ VRAM and not enough horsepower to fully utilize it, i believe the turbocache and hypermemory features aren't even being used, because system RAM is alot slower than VRAM, so if they decided to share it, all it does is bring down the performance.

    the extra gig in 32-bit windows are not being used because windows couldn't use it at all. there are some tricks (i.e. PAE) to hack the windows to enable that extra gig. of course it doesn't always work.

    laptop RAM are very cheap nowadays, and multicore processor would easily take advantage of say 8GB of RAM. so limiting things to 3GB isn't really worth it, unless you got some important legacy apps.
  7. greatman05

    greatman05 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 429

    @SNGX1275: Wait a minute; why would you say that about me? I understand that you may want me to move forward with technology and jump on the 64-bit bandwagon that manufacturers have forced upon consumers, but what's wrong with having a preference? It may not be the preference that makes sense to you, but it's still a preference I have; it doesn't mean I defy logic. I'm not an extreme gamer like that, I do have legacy apps that I still use (Wingroove for one as well as older games like RA2 that I still play), and it's not fair to be insulted simply because I want to use older apps and there's still a way I can do it in Windows natively and avoid major headaches because of the different memory architecture between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. That was really uncalled for man. Besides, not everybody needs 64-bit or can really take advantage of it; I know I really can't considering I don't have the money to buy nor the time to use apps that can take advantage of 64-bit operating systems. When I'm ready to take the plunge, I will. BTW, I am mad and hurt about that comment, so say whatever you will.

    To the other posters, I read somewhere that it was a common occurrence in Windows XP 32-bit systems that had 4GB of memory and video cards with 1GB+ of ram to have less than 3GB of memory with the video card's memory addresses. It's still weird though; my defunct laptop had 3GB with Windows 7 32-bit, but my grandmother's machine has 3.5GB with a 1GB graphics card :|
  8. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    RA2 to my knowledge would be supported by 64-bit Windows. Don't know anything about Wingroove. Win7 64-bit can run WinXP 32-bit Virtual PC which actually allows you to run your 32-bit apps from Virtual PC from your 64-bit Win7 OS start menu directly if you actually need a 32-bit Windows virtual OS.

    I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say "different memory architecture between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows". Win7 64 can run 32-bit apps as if they were running in a 32-bit Windows environment. It can't run 16-bit apps but you are talking the original C&C for an example of a 16-bit game. It came in a 32-bit version later anyway!

    Choice is of course yours.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Whoops. I got the wrong guy. I looked through a bunch of posts trying to find where I formed that opinion, and it turns out it wasn't you. So I apologize for my comments.

    I mixed you up with Tha General, who repeatedly asked for advice on things and then made the absolute worst decision that could have been made.
  10. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    i believe sometimes it has to do with the mainboard as well. i just installed 64-bit windows on my 3yo laptop and only have 3GB of working RAM out of 4GB available RAM. imagine how mad i am for wasting my time doing so. turns out a BIOS update solves that issue. i hope you get the clue...
  11. greatman05

    greatman05 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 429

    @SNGX1275: Thanks for that; I really appreciate it. :)

    @Others: I've tried virtual machines and I definitely don't like them; unless they can create something like DOSBox with better performance and full 3D support, I don't care. My belief has always been to prefer compatibility over extreme screaming performance, so if I can get a great performing system (not necessarily the best) that allows me to still play older games without going through too much of a setup headache, I'm down for that. On Windows 7-32bit, I was able to install all of my old games and play them without any compatibility settings; a few had graphics corruption, but I think that was due to my card and not the game itself (the mobo was defective :| ) Because I want to keep that experience, I'm more than willing to wait until I absolutely have to. But, I do appreciate all of you for answering my questions well :)

    BTW, how do you guys feel about using a RAMDrive to make use of any extra memory?

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