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Windows 7: Win 7 32-bit Memory Limits?

22 Apr 2012   #1

Windows 7
 
 
Win 7 32-bit Memory Limits?

I'm running Win 7 32-bit with 2 GB memory in my system, considering upgrading to 4 GB. I've read that the 32-bit ver will only utilize 2.5 to 3.6 GB memory maximum. If my system will only utilize 2.5 GB memory, an upgrade wouldn't really be worth it, but if it will utilize 3.6 GB, I think that would be a nice boost. What determines the maximum memory Win 7 is capable of utilizing in my system in that 2.5 - 3.6 range? Thanks!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 Apr 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

You should be able to utilize approx. 3.6GB. But this depends on how much Windows allots to video ram. If you have a discreet video card with plenty of VRAM, then windows will utilize closer to the 3.6 GB. But hardware also uses the "address space", and that will vary depending on hardware. I think in general, you will get the benifit of upgrading to 4GB of ram. A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Some of the memory (even with a 64-bit operating system) is reserved for use by the devices that you are using, such as a graphics card, PCI card, integrated network connections, etc, meaning it is unavailable for use as normal main memory.

Having said that, I'm not sure how you can determine in advance how much of the 4GB will be reserved without actually installing the RAM. According to this Microsoft Answers forum thread, you could open Device Manager and (with a little math) figure out exactly how much memory is reserved for each component. I'm guessing they mean you can select a device, look under the Resource tab, and figure out how much memory will be held in reserve.

How can I increase my usable RAM to 4GB in Windows 7 - 32bit? - Microsoft Answers
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24 Apr 2012   #4

Windows 7
 
 

Thanks for the replies. Marsmimar, your link eventually led me to the following, a patch which apparently gets around the 32-bit memory limitiations. What do ya'll think? (Warning, some side-bar advertisements are NSFW.)

UNAWAVE - 32-bit Windows 7 with full 4 GB or 8 GB RAM support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by hcour View Post
Thanks for the replies. Marsmimar, your link eventually led me to the following, a patch which apparently gets around the 32-bit memory limitiations. What do ya'll think? (Warning, some side-bar advertisements are NSFW.)

UNAWAVE - 32-bit Windows 7 with full 4 GB or 8 GB RAM support
I'd make a system image on an external hard drive (along with the companion system repair CD) just in case the patch installed malware, or otherwise borked my computer. At least I could get my machine working again in about 20 - 30 minutes.

Considering your machine has 2GB RAM now (and most likely shows less than that as usable RAM), I'd just go ahead and upgrade to 4GB. Even if your usable RAM is "only" 3GB after the upgrade - and it will probably be more than 3GB - that's still more than a 1GB increase of usable RAM without the risk of installing a patch that that may or may not work. Also, most people will see a definite increase in performance going from 2GB to 4GB. Not so much going from 3GB to 4GB.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2012   #6

Windows 7
 
 

Yeah, I always have image backups (Acronis) and would definitely make one before I installed something like that. I think I'll take your advice and go ahead and install the extra ram and see how much my system performance improves w/o any patching. Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

Windows 7 32 bit has a maximum address range of 4 gig. As an example if you video card has say 1 gig of dedicated RAM that RAM is addressed in that 4 gig space. That will leave you with 3 gig of usable address space for your RAM and other hardware. If you have 4 gigs of RAM only 3 gigs will get used. It will actually be slightly smaller than that because some space will be used by other hardware. On the same system with Windows 7 64 bit the address space is not limited to 4 gigs. Video ram gets shifted into space above the 4 gig that will be reserved for system RAM. If your video card uses some of your system RAM, (doesn't have its own dedicated RAM) it won't matter, it will still be subtracted from usable RAM.

Just in case you don't know, your product code is good for 32 bit or 64 bit. You could if you want switch to 64 bit and use the same product code you have now. Assuming you have 64 bit install media that is. Also if it doesn't work out for you, you can just go back to 32 bit. You have to re-install but it is an option.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2012   #8

Windows 7
 
 

Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!

These are all priced the same. Is there any difference between them quality-wise? Also, I may overclock my system down the road. Would one of these be better for oc than the others? Thanks!

Alpha - I'm trying to avoid a complete re-install. If I end up going that route (installing 64-bit ver) I'm just going to go ahead and build a new system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2012   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

These modules are from well known, well established companies with great reputations. The only thing I saw that might make me choose G.Skill over the others is the voltage requirement. G.Skill requires 2.5V, the Patriot 2.6V, and no matter what website I went to I couldn't find a voltage requirement for the Corsair. I'm of the opinion (FWIW) that a lower voltage requirement means cooler temps and heat is always a consideration. Having said that you could probably go with any of the three and be happy with the choice.

One other thought is using matched pairs. Some folks say it's OK to mix and match and I've done it myself on occasion. But other people have compared memory modules to tires on a car. Put a snow tire on one side and a regular tire on the other (even if they're identical sizes) and there's going to be some differences no matter how slight.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Apr 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Do NOT install any kind of patch or file that claims to give you more memory usage in Windows 7 x86.

That being said, if you want/need more memory, is there a reason you aren't looking into Windows 7 x64?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Win 7 32-bit Memory Limits?




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