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Thread: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

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    Senior Member usxhe190's Avatar
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    2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    Running 32bit Vista Home Premium on a laptop at the moment.

    I was wondering which one is better:

    1. 2 gb in dual channel
    2. 3 gb in non dual channel

    I have read conflicting reports on what is the "sweet spot" for vista, i.e. whether it is 2gb or 3gb...

    any advice much appreciated!

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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    For me, the more memory you have the better - especially for Vista.

    Actually, I think Vista works best on 4Gig of memory.

    So, maybe you should save a bit of money and buy an extra 1Gig - its cheap now-a-days
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    Senior Member usxhe190's Avatar
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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    thanks milkman! i was scared of using 4gb vista 32bit because i would be wasting money since it can't use some of that memory (my GPU is a 8600M GS 256mb card)...

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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    I would agree, the more memory the better for vista really.
    *insert something whitty here*

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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    thanks V|per! yea i agree more memory the better....

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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    i would and have gone for 4

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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    What the hell are you guys talking about? Vista cannot address more than 3gb memory INCLUDING video memory - so for example, if you were to have a 640mb video card, that's roughly only 2.4gb of ram that will be recognised. (Corrected in following post, 32bit = 4gb of addressing).

    Nobody here has answered the question properly and only given bad advice; 4GB in Vista 32-bit is definately a waste of money.

    I spent a little while looking for an answer to this question before I built my new PC last month. I couldn't find much information on it, other than:

    It's not worth having more than 2gb in vista 32-bit. If you are that bothered about speed, what the hell are you doing using vista anyway? But if for some reason you feel compelled to use vista and want it fast as possible, you should be using vista x64.
    Last edited by Andaho; 18-10-2007 at 10:35 AM.

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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    32bits = 4gb of addressing. This is then split between memory and all the other devices. So, on my system I see 3.25gb of memory in a 32-bit OS (because my graphic card/other devices eat into that 4gb of addressing). If I had 3gb of memory i'd get.. 3gb of memory [or fairly close to it - depends on your hardware] (unless my video card/devices used more than 1gb of addressing..).

    32-Bit= 2^32 addresses, which is 4,294,967,296 (4GB). 64-Bit however registers 2^64, or 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 (18,446,744,073GB, 18EB).

    As a rule of thumb though - got for Vista64 if you want > 2gb of memory to be fully used, and go for 4gb in dual channel.

    And what's with the attitude Andaho? Easy chap!
    Last edited by dangel; 18-10-2007 at 09:54 AM.
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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andaho View Post
    What the hell are you guys talking about? Vista cannot address more than 3gb memory INCLUDING video memory - so for example, if you were to have a 640mb video card, that's roughly only 2.4gb of ram that will be recognised.

    Nobody here has answered the question properly and only given bad advice; 4GB in Vista 32-bit is definately a waste of money.

    I spent a little while looking for an answer to this question before I built my new PC last month. I couldn't find much information on it, other than:

    It's not worth having more than 2gb in vista 32-bit. If you are that bothered about speed, what the hell are you doing using vista anyway? But if for some reason you feel compelled to use vista and want it fast as possible, you should be using vista x64.
    thanks for your advice - good that you also did a search on this...seems like 2gb/3gb is still an unresolved issue. i use a lot of memory hungry applications (not gaming) and like to multitask alot so i just want to know

    only reason why i am using vista32 and not xp32 is because i have a notebook and all manufacturers are pushing everyone to use vista. the reason why i am using vista32 and not vista64 is because of driver issues i am having at the moment

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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    Sorry for my attitude and slightly rude posts. I often get people wound up enough to explain things properly so it works

    Thank you for correcting my haste error of thinking 32bit = 3gb of addressing - I just get wound up by people giving bad advice with no facts, and I hate the boy-racer attitude of "it's bigger and more expensive so it must be better", So I often reply hastily with incorrect half-knowledge.

    I've also seen in benchmarks that dual-channel memory, although good in theory, in every day tasks (including gaming), is only fractionally faster at most things, but also slower at some things.

    I'll be watching this thread closely to see an expert reply to find out - 2gb vs 3gb vs 4gb? - obviously 4gb will produce better - but if it's only something like a 2% improvement over 3gb then it's not worth the cost!
    Last edited by Andaho; 18-10-2007 at 10:34 AM.

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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    No worries matey

    I've found it depends on the game - some games are really memory hungry, some aren't. I found i could hit the limit of 2gb in some cases on XP, and more so on Vista so I decided to go for 4gb for my new build (because I could do dual channel easily with 4gb versus 2gb). Memory was cheap too - i got the set for about 120quid at the time. Dual channel ought to be faster in all cases - it's peak bandwidth is much higher per frame but in real world terms it's often not as significant as faster cycling memory would be. Of course, if you're struggling for memory with an app then having enough to run it is better than swapping to disk. Swings n' roundabouts

    As to the question of whether 4gb is a waste in 32bit - well, possibly. But then i'd rather have the max amount of memory avail to 32bit XP (which i still use a lot) AND have it in dual channel mode. So, although i'm 'wasting' ~750mb of my memory i've still got more physically available than I would of in 2gb configuration regardless. For me, XP 32 is a stopgap until Vista64 X-FI drivers get better (it's the only thing holding me back) but i've had some success the other day with that (by using hacked auzentech drivers). In other words i've got 4gb in there for the longer term (i doubt i'll shift platform for a good year) and 3.25gb for the short term
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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andaho View Post
    What the hell are you guys talking about? Vista cannot address more than 3gb memory INCLUDING video memory - so for example, if you were to have a 640mb video card, that's roughly only 2.4gb of ram that will be recognised. (Corrected in following post, 32bit = 4gb of addressing).
    32-bit Vista (other than Starter Edition) can address as much physical memory, up to 4GB, as the BIOS presents to it.

    If there is hardware which is memory-mapped (such as devices connected to the PCI bus), occupying the higher-end of the address space (between 3GB and 4GB) then the BIOS needs to support memory remapping to allow the OS to use PAE and access the memory.

    See: http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=121009

    (Then there are onboard devices which can be configured to share system memory, but this is usually subtracted from the "installed physical memory" figure the POST screen displays.)

    I have seen machines running 32-bit Windows which can see all 4GB, and built machines months later with newer hardware that only saw 3.3GB, so there is not even a guarantee that "newer is better", even when the manufacturers state the mainboard supports up to 4GB of RAM.

    It is often easiest to either ask the manufacturer or check the Internet for people who have the same hardware and have experience of using 4GB of memory to know whether it will be all useable or not - otherwise it's a "test it and see" approach unfortunately.


    As for the original question of "dual vs single channel", I've not seen any empirical evidence that indicates a massive performance by using dual channel.
    That said, "performance" is very much an issue of "what do you use it for?", so others may swear blind that in blind tests (not just synthetic benchmarks) they can notice a huge difference.
    Maybe single vs dual channel makes more difference on portable hardware, or less because of the more significant bottlenecks in CPU and disk throughput...


    Vista will take advantage of all the memory it can get hold of, even if you don't explicitly use it for your processes, by using it for caching - this alarms some people because they see "free memory" get lower and lower and lower, but the volatile nature of cache memory means if a process needs more memory it can instantly be given some which is used for cache, without any paging required (the cache is a memory-resident copy of data on disk which was read for read access only, so there are no changes to write back).
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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andaho View Post
    ...What the hell are you guys talking about? Vista cannot address more than 3gb memory INCLUDING video memory - so for example, if you were to have a 640mb video card, that's roughly only 2.4gb of ram that will be recognised. (Corrected in following post, 32bit = 4gb of addressing).

    Nobody here has answered the question properly and only given bad advice; 4GB in Vista 32-bit is definately a waste of money...
    I fail to see where I have given such bad advice.

    The question is not what to buy, but rather what his wondering is better !
    Considering it’s a laptop.

    If you only have 2x 1Gig and you load a lot in memory, then your system will become slow.

    I run 3Dmark06 on a Vista system, with 2Gig and then with 4Gig, not much, but I got a slight increase using 4Gig.

    I do not think that bigger is better, nor do I think that more expensive is better.

    I’m sorry that your thoughts/views are different to mime, but that is what Forums are for.
    Everyone gets a chance to say what he/she thinks.

    Last edited by MilkMan; 18-10-2007 at 03:30 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
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    Re: 2gb vs 3gb for Vista?

    4GB definately works nice in Vista Ultimate x64. Mine can idle around 55% (2GB) and when even browsing the web/encoding/watching movie it goes around 85%.

    Vista uses as much memory as it needs rather than using the pagefile to speed things up. When an application requests memory that Vista is using, Vista will allocate that memory.

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