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#1 Log1ck  Icon User is offline

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Would having 4 gigs of ram in a 32-bit system (3 gig cap)cause errors?

Posted 16 September 2014 - 04:28 PM

I have a 32 bit system and lately its been slightly groggy. Im sure there are other possible reasons as well, but ive run hardware tests and they all seem to clear. I was wondering.

Can having 4 gigs of ram in a 32 bit system cause errors? (random crashing, slowing) things of that nature?
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Replies To: Would having 4 gigs of ram in a 32-bit system (3 gig cap)cause errors?

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Would having 4 gigs of ram in a 32-bit system (3 gig cap)cause errors?

Posted 16 September 2014 - 06:10 PM

No, it shouldn't. Is there anything in the event viewer?
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#3 rasil razz  Icon User is offline

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Re: Would having 4 gigs of ram in a 32-bit system (3 gig cap)cause errors?

Posted 05 April 2015 - 11:46 AM

Never effected my PC
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#4 BBeck  Icon User is offline

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Re: Would having 4 gigs of ram in a 32-bit system (3 gig cap)cause errors?

Posted 24 May 2015 - 05:54 AM

32 bit systems are designed to have 4GB of RAM. You can have less but 32 bit Windows basically simulates 4GB of RAM if you don't have 4GB of RAM. Giving it the actual 4GB is one of the best things you can do for 32 bit Windows. Although these days it might just be time to go buy a 64 bit computer.

What 32 bit cannot do is address more than 4GB of RAM. That's the upper limit. They designed some ways around this back in the day when they needed 32 bit servers to have a lot more RAM than that. Specifically PAE and the 3GB switch.

Windows 32 bit uses virtual memory. The physical memory is mapped by the CPU and Windows to the virtual memory. So, Windows sees 4GB of RAM even if there is only 1GB of physical memory. It will just map and unmap physical memory as needed and will swap the memory in and out using the harddrive to back any memory not in RAM.

Windows will, as a general rule, take 2GB for itself and 2GB for each application. If I remember this correctly, each application gets it's own private 2GB of virtual memory so that the apps cannot interfere with one another with rogue pointers and memory leaks and such. In reality, your app is never going to get the full 2GB regardless of how much physical memory you have. The video card is generally the big thief. When you look, you'll find that the app can never get more than about 1.6GB of memory used in 32 bit Windows.

The more physical RAM you have the less you have to page things out to disk and the faster the system will run assuming the app uses the full 1.6GB of memory and you're doing a lot of paging.

Anyway, for whatever reason, someone decided Windows taking 2GB for itself was too much. So, they invented the 3GB switch. When turned on, Windows gets 1GB for itself and gives 3GB for the app. I've never seen anyone use this switch because I was told by Microsoft a long time ago to never use it; Windows needs 2GB of memory. That wasn't just chosen arbitrarily. And that 2GB of Windows memory is shared by all the apps running.

32 bits can only count to 4 billion which is 4 gig. So, this is a physical limit that can't be exceeded without pulling some tricks. That's why 4GB is the magic number; it's as high as 32 bits can count.

PAE (Physical Address Extensions) was invented for servers with 24GB of RAM to run on 32 bit machines with 32 bit Windows. It takes part of the physical 4GB of RAM and makes it into a map of the higher areas of memory. Your app, if PAE is turned on, can call the Windows API to map pages of memory through PAE up into those upper memory regions and you swap in and out memory pages from those regions. So, you write to the memory page, swap it out to the upper region, and get a fresh page to write on. When you need the info, you swap out the current page, and pull in the page with the data on it that you need. As you can see, this requires not only that the switch is turned on but that the app be specifically written to use PAE. Not to mention you have to have more than 4GB of RAM on a 32 bit system. Microsoft SQL Server is programmed to use this and calls it AWE although I'm not sure if the newer versions even bother with this anymore.
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#5 charmlesskarma  Icon User is offline

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Re: Would having 4 gigs of ram in a 32-bit system (3 gig cap)cause errors?

Posted 14 September 2015 - 01:28 AM

Its funny because hes right. A lot of people think that just because you put more parts in your computer and it runs that it works. But bits are a scalar measurement for how much a processor can store in memory during computation. Each datatype which are essentially numbers in memory and the maximum size is 32 for your computer.
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