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XP and Ram Limit

By willy4360 ยท 4 replies
Jul 6, 2008
  1. Hello.

    I am planning to build a system for graphic design purposes: Core 2 Quad 2.40 ghz with 4 gigs of ram. I won't be able to use Vista as the main OS. I will use XP Pro SP3 32bit.

    Can I improve a XP pro SP3 system by adding 4 gigs of ram?
    Can I set 2 gigs for the OS and 2 gigs for Apps?

    I think I read somewhere that this can be done. But I'm not so sure right now.

    This link says 4gb:


    Any help will be appreciated.

  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Essentially, 2Gb is the maximum that any single application (graphic processing in your case) can have. On a 32-bit processor, only 3.2 Gb of real ram can be addressed by the processor.

    The system uses virtual memory to reach 4Gb, but the more real ram you have the less of the virtual memory is 'slow', and the faster your PC actually runs.

    With the 32-bit limit only 3.2 Gb can be 'real' ram, but clearly it is worthwhile to have 4Gb real since you can only install exactly 3 or 4Gb.

    To use 4Gb of real ram would require 64-bit XP professional, but due to many problems such as driver availability and even more so, application availability and incomplete debugging of a (so far) minority OS, I would not recommend this route at present.
  3. willy4360

    willy4360 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Great! Thanks!

    Then I am not making a mistake by building this system with 4gb.

  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,515   +2,311

  5. usasma

    usasma TS Rookie

    The 3gB switch involves both instructing the OS to use it, and in using an application that is aware of the existence of the switch. Without both of these conditions being met, you won't be able to utilize the additional memory in the virtual address space.

    The virtual address space is, by default, 4 gB on 32 bit versions of Windows (2 gB for the kernel and 2 gB for the user) - irregardless of how much physical RAM is installed. The additional physical RAM will help to reduce paging operations - which will, in turn, speed up the system.

    64 bit OS's have a bit more overhead when operating than 32 bit OS's - so the performance difference won't likely be noticeable at 4 gB of physical RAM.
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