Stingpin 15:48 06 Jun 2009


I've got 4gb RAM installed on my 32bit Vista. My system info states:

Installed Physical Memory - 4.00GB
Total Physical Memory - 3.00GB
Available Physical Memory - 1.25GB

Total Virtual Memory - 6.19GB
Available Virtual Memory - 4.45GB

My question is am i making the most of my RAM? I've been told that 32bit Vista can't use more than 3GB RAM, so i've been raped by PCWorld on this one, but nevermind.
I'm just thinking that the difference between my system running 2GB RAM and "4GB" RAM is nonexistant. I heard that the physical memory/virtual memory should be 1.5times the installed, or something similar to that.

Sorry, i'm a bit of a novice sometimes.

If anyone's got advice on this i would appreciate it.


  OTT_Buzzard 16:02 06 Jun 2009

You're knda rght - 32bit OS's can only address around 3GB RAM, but that's not to say that rest rest is all wasted. As pointed out in another thread (today?) the higher registers of your RAM are allocated for system hardware use, so your actual 'wasted' RAM may be as little as 256MB. This is especially the case if you use on-board graphics, rather than a dedicated card.

The reason that a lot of manufacturers put 4GB RAM in is for economics. It can easliy work out cheaper to put in 2x2GB sticks than it is to put in 2x1GB + 2x0.5GB to give 3GB.

Using 4 RAM sticks also limits motherboard choice for the manufacturer, as only having 2 DIMM slots is not uncommon.

  DieSse 16:35 06 Jun 2009

Your figures and settings are absolutely fine.
As explained, 32 bit windows can only adsress 4GB - and some of the top addresses are reserved for the hadware, and so unavailable to windows.

The unavailable RAM is never used at all - the addresses reserved talk to other memory built-in elsewhere in the hardware.

In addition, if you have an integrated graphics subsystem (ie built on to the motherboard) some more of this upper RAM is used by the graphics chip. In this case this RAM is actually in use for graphics.

The virtual RAM is best left set for windows to determine, for the average user.

Available RAM is what's left after the reserved addresses, any graphics memory, and what windows itself grabs. Windows always grabs as large an amount as it sees fit, as this is more efficient for your system most of the time.

Available virtual RAM is wha't left after windows has used some (it's just a special file on the hard drive.) Windows will always use some virtual RAM - it balances use of real RAM and virtual RAM according to an algorithm that attempts best and most efficient use of your system. I't actually pretty good at doing this.

As explained many system builders these days fit 4GB as standard, as it always gives you the maximum available RAM - especially if you have on-board graphics.

  Stingpin 16:38 06 Jun 2009

Thanks very much for your replies guys, i'm happy nwo that i've another opinion on what my System Info is telling me.

I'm still not 100% understanding it, but if you guys think it's fine then fair enough!

Cheers again!

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