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Old May 30, 2009, 12:54 AM   #1
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Apocalypsee
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Default Want to try new 64-bit OS, recommend me one

I've been using Windows XP 32-bit Professional for ages now, and since I wanted to upgrade to 4GB RAM soon I thought I might upgrade to 64-bit to make full use of it. There are 3 versions on my mind now, XP x64, Vista x64 or 7 x64.

The only thing worries me is, I plan to use two soundcards, one is X-Fi XtremeMusic and ASUS SupremeFX II, 1st is for gaming and for Skype (yes, I'm chatting with my gf while gaming :P) From what I read around, Windows Vista only support from one manufacturer (like we can't mix ATi cards with nvidia cards), does it applies to soundcard as well? Although if I use Windows 7 x64, I can't find SupremeFX II driver, would it work with Vista x64 driver? While from what I read XP x64 is major pain in the a$$, or does it?

My primary usage is gaming and music, among others like browsing movies etc. Oh one more thing, does Windows 7 x64 really eats 20GB harddisk space when doing clean install? My first partition is only 20GB so that could be limiting too.

But the main question, is it worth it to move to 64-bit right now just to utilize more than 4GB of RAM?
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Originally Posted by jimjobob View Post
If 3 fans left the station at 10:30am cooling at a temp of 63c and one fan was derailed by a stray sata cable on the track, how long would it take all 3 fans to get on Seyiji's last nerve?

(a) Mmmm donuts
(b) 70c
(c) Hey there muscly arms, why the long face?
(d) Must use fire.
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Old May 30, 2009, 01:00 AM   #2
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Win7 64..

Edit : and why not use one sound card to do it all?
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Old May 30, 2009, 01:06 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by VW_Factor View Post
Win7 64..

Edit : and why not use one sound card to do it all?
I done too much mod on the X-Fi that the all the analog circuit is dead, the only thing working is the digital circuit. I need mic-in for chatting, and the Crosshair II formula give a nice SupremeFX II card so....
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Originally Posted by jimjobob View Post
If 3 fans left the station at 10:30am cooling at a temp of 63c and one fan was derailed by a stray sata cable on the track, how long would it take all 3 fans to get on Seyiji's last nerve?

(a) Mmmm donuts
(b) 70c
(c) Hey there muscly arms, why the long face?
(d) Must use fire.
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Old May 30, 2009, 08:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypsee View Post
I've been using Windows XP 32-bit Professional for ages now, and since I wanted to upgrade to 4GB RAM soon I thought I might upgrade to 64-bit to make full use of it. There are 3 versions on my mind now, XP x64, Vista x64 or 7 x64.

The only thing worries me is, I plan to use two soundcards, one is X-Fi XtremeMusic and ASUS SupremeFX II, 1st is for gaming and for Skype (yes, I'm chatting with my gf while gaming :P) From what I read around, Windows Vista only support from one manufacturer (like we can't mix ATi cards with nvidia cards), does it applies to soundcard as well? Although if I use Windows 7 x64, I can't find SupremeFX II driver, would it work with Vista x64 driver? While from what I read XP x64 is major pain in the a$$, or does it?

My primary usage is gaming and music, among others like browsing movies etc. Oh one more thing, does Windows 7 x64 really eats 20GB harddisk space when doing clean install? My first partition is only 20GB so that could be limiting too.

But the main question, is it worth it to move to 64-bit right now just to utilize more than 4GB of RAM?
Why would you mix an ATi card and nVIDIA card unless you just wanted to use the nVIDIA card for PhysX acceleration?

Not sure why you limit your first partition to 20GB. Between drivers and application installs it shouldn't be that low. I have a 1TB Samsung F1 and my C: volume is 300GB. The rest is dedicated to a data storage volume.
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Old May 30, 2009, 10:59 AM   #5
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I would buy an OEM copy of Windows Vista Ultimate x64 now and wait to upgrade to Windows 7 until all of the initial bugs are ironed out. Windows XP x64 is the black sheep of the XP family and suffers from a dearth of supported hardware, so I would avoid it.
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Old May 30, 2009, 12:46 PM   #6
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@Espíritu_de_América
Yes, that is the idea of mixing different cards, but thats only an example because my 9600GT is more than enough for me. I thought 20GB would be enough for windows + few apps for years to come (when I bought it), my 3rd partition handles games and all my movies, music, torents and stuff is on 2nd. I don't install much programs, only some few utilities like better disk defraggers, hardware monitoring/overclocking software and at most Adobe Photoshop.

My harddisk is onl 160GB, I know harddisk is damn cheap nowadays. I can get 640GB WD for the same price of 4GB 'overclockers' RAM here. (that raises another question, should I bu more storage first?)

@android1
Thanks for the input, I guess going for Vista is better since the new Service Packs has been released and it undeniably more stable than beta staged 7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjobob View Post
If 3 fans left the station at 10:30am cooling at a temp of 63c and one fan was derailed by a stray sata cable on the track, how long would it take all 3 fans to get on Seyiji's last nerve?

(a) Mmmm donuts
(b) 70c
(c) Hey there muscly arms, why the long face?
(d) Must use fire.
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Old May 30, 2009, 02:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Apocalypsee View Post
@Espíritu_de_América
Yes, that is the idea of mixing different cards, but thats only an example because my 9600GT is more than enough for me. I thought 20GB would be enough for windows + few apps for years to come (when I bought it), my 3rd partition handles games and all my movies, music, torents and stuff is on 2nd. I don't install much programs, only some few utilities like better disk defraggers, hardware monitoring/overclocking software and at most Adobe Photoshop.

My harddisk is onl 160GB, I know harddisk is damn cheap nowadays. I can get 640GB WD for the same price of 4GB 'overclockers' RAM here. (that raises another question, should I bu more storage first?)
Well, not only are the OS installs getting bigger but so are application installs. IIRC the full install for Frontlines: Fuel of War is over 11GB and that's just a game. The installation media is 2 DVDs.

Most of the install for Windows Vista/7 x64 that takes up the most space is for backwards compatibility. It has to support everything from Windows 7 and all the way back to Windows 95. That's a lot of data and DLL files.

160GB drive? Time to upgrade! You can get a 1TB Samsung F1 for around $80 and never need to worry about drive space ever again.
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Old May 30, 2009, 02:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Espíritu_de_América View Post
160GB drive? Time to upgrade! You can get a 1TB Samsung F1 for around $80 and never need to worry about drive space ever again.
famous last words... Funny how time flies isn't it? I remember saying the same thing about an 8GB drive.
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Old May 30, 2009, 07:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espíritu_de_América View Post
[...]
You can get a 1TB Samsung F1 for around $80 and never need to worry about drive space ever again.
Heh. That's what I thought when I bought my first 500GB drive a couple years ago. Now I have a 2nd 500GB plus a 1TB drive.



As for the Win7 install space, a 32bit install I did on a 30GB drive took up about a third of the drive so I wouldn't be surprised if 64bit takes up 20GB. Frankly, If I were you I'd get a second bigger drive (500-750GB) copy the stuff you want off the 160GB then reformat it with a 60GB partition for Windows7 and a 100GB for your programs.
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Old May 30, 2009, 11:59 PM   #10
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Win 7RC (official beta from MS) x64. Vista x64 drivers work fine; you may need to install using compatibility mode (right click and select the Vista option).

You can use multiple vendor drivers and version for sound cards in Windows 7; and in Vista - the restriction was on display drivers.

If you only have 4Gb of ram, unless you have a specific application that requires more than 2Gb application space you can use a 32-bit system without issues. There is some good info linked in the useful threads/important info sticky at the top of the forum.
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Old Jun 4, 2009, 09:37 AM   #11
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I would buy an OEM copy of Windows Vista Ultimate x64 now and wait to upgrade to Windows 7 until all of the initial bugs are ironed out. Windows XP x64 is the black sheep of the XP family and suffers from a dearth of supported hardware, so I would avoid it.
Ordinarily I'd agree with this philosophy, but the Win7 RC is in remarkably good shape. There are only two reasons why I might go with OEM Vista now and the Win7 upgrade later instead of getting the Win7 RC now and buying a copy when it comes out. The first is price, I don't know what the prices for the full/OEM/upgrade copies of Win7 are going to be. The other is that, officially at least, if you install the RC now, you'll have to do a clean install when you try and put a purchased copy on later. Of course, they said that about installing the RC over the beta, but getting around that proved to be fairly straightforward.
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Old Jun 4, 2009, 12:55 PM   #12
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i'd go for win 7 x64, been using it since beta 1 and its brilliant...

7 can uses vista's drivers however expecting creative to support the card and all its features maybe another thing...
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 12:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
Win 7RC (official beta from MS) x64. Vista x64 drivers work fine; you may need to install using compatibility mode (right click and select the Vista option).

You can use multiple vendor drivers and version for sound cards in Windows 7; and in Vista - the restriction was on display drivers.

If you only have 4Gb of ram, unless you have a specific application that requires more than 2Gb application space you can use a 32-bit system without issues. There is some good info linked in the useful threads/important info sticky at the top of the forum.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereIsASpoon View Post
32-bit makes FULL use of 4GB.

That is a major misconception.

Just because the OS uses 512-768MB ram for system use doesn't mean you are being denied.

if you want more than 4GB, then you'll need 64bit.
Thanks, like I said my main priority is game, nothing else. I believe no games really need 64-bit and more than 4GB of RAM now

With all the driver problem with Creative cards holds my upgrade till now, although I never ever have any sort of problem with Creative cards (been using since 2000), I hope my luck will continue. Although I been thinking of buying ASUS cards, I miss EAX. When I first try it on EAX games, it sounded excellent, and still did now

Another thing is with SLi setup, my system exhibit weird problems, when I benchmark it after been browsing for awhile, the score is the same as the single card config even though the SLi bar is there (game have the same problem too), I need to run it twice before it get the 'right' framerate, sometime it needs a reboot to get Sli 'works' again. I hope Vista or 7 don't have this kind of problem
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If 3 fans left the station at 10:30am cooling at a temp of 63c and one fan was derailed by a stray sata cable on the track, how long would it take all 3 fans to get on Seyiji's last nerve?

(a) Mmmm donuts
(b) 70c
(c) Hey there muscly arms, why the long face?
(d) Must use fire.
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 05:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ThereIsASpoon View Post
32-bit makes FULL use of 4GB.

That is a major misconception.

Just because the OS uses 512-768MB ram for system use doesn't mean you are being denied.

if you want more than 4GB, then you'll need 64bit.
the address space for 32-bit operating systems is 32bit. There's no way you have full ability to address 4GiB of RAM (or even 4GB) when 512-768 MiB are allocated to device i/o space. that address space is a memory hole, there is no physical memory mapped there for the system to use.
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 06:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ThereIsASpoon View Post
Why would you map the space if not to use it?

The system is using that space... it's just not "user" space. It's necessary for an os to have that mapping.

It's not just there to annoy people, it has a purpose, hence you're not "losing" that space.
But that doesnt change the fact that 64bit will allow 4096/4096 mb to be used by the user, while 32bit will only allow 3XXX/4096 mb to the user.

There is a diffrence between the two and in a sense, 64bit allows you to fully use 4gb, wich means going from 64bit to 32bit you do lose amount of memory you yourself can use. If the OS uses that space instead of allowing you to use it is another matter.
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 07:26 PM   #16
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Why would you map the space if not to use it?

The system is using that space... it's just not "user" space. It's necessary for an os to have that mapping.

It's not just there to annoy people, it has a purpose, hence you're not "losing" that space.
Do you even quite understand what you are talking about here?
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 07:31 PM   #17
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Explain how it doesn't make sense.

I'm trying to tell people that 4GBs of ram is usable on a 32bit os, regardless if the user has "access" to it.
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 08:28 PM   #18
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Just wait for Snow Leopard to be released.
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 09:03 PM   #19
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I just started using the Win 7 RC (x64), dual booting with Windows XP. I must admit after messing around with it, installing programs, drivers and games old and new in an attempt to find some sort of bug or limitation, from what I've seen so far it is very stable, well designed and responsive (even with only 2GB RAM). At least for what I need it to do, that is.

That said, I still think for the time being Windows XP 32-bit and 2GB of RAM is still plenty sufficient for most people. Personally, I just wanted to see what the fuss was all about. But I can see games, especially RTS', needing 4GB of RAM soon.

But yes, I can recommend trying it out as you'll love it. And you can always dual boot it with your current XP installation if you've got multiple HDDs/partitions.

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Old Jun 5, 2009, 09:21 PM   #20
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Explain how it doesn't make sense.

I'm trying to tell people that 4GBs of ram is usable on a 32bit os, regardless if the user has "access" to it.
I understand how it works. Im not totally sure you understand it.
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 09:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereIsASpoon View Post
Explain how it doesn't make sense.

I'm trying to tell people that 4GBs of ram is usable on a 32bit os, regardless if the user has "access" to it.
Yes, it is "usable" but it's irrelevant if it is not used by your installed applications, right? I as well was confused about this at one time too, because a buddy of mine was (and still is) adamant that XP-32 did use all 4GB for applications.

Read these articles:

http://www.anandtech.com/gadgets/showdoc.aspx?i=3034
http://members.cox.net/slatteryt/RAM.html

Quote:
As we have mentioned in previous articles, most modern system running in 32bit x86 mode have trouble seeing and using more than roughly 3GB of memory. This is because part of the total 4GB of memory space (not the physical memory) is reserved for various functions, such as computer components transferring data between each other using memory-mapped input-output(MMIO). The textbook example of this is the CPU transferring data to the memory of a video card, where a chunk of the address space equal to the size of the memory of the video card is reserved by the video card, and any data sent to those addresses actually ends up going to the video card. This design has many technical merits, but it makes the consumed memory addresses unavailable for use with physical memory.
Quote:
Unfortunately this is not the case as there are problems on both the application and kernel side of things. On the application side, a common poor programming practice has been to always assume that an application will only be dealing with 2GB of user space; code that makes this assumption will likely error if more than 2GB of user space is actually available. This is avoidable by following proper programming practices, but as a safety precaution even with additional virtual address space allocated to user space Windows still defaults to limiting an application to 2GB. Only finally, if an application indicates to Windows that it is capable of handling more than 2GB, via the "/LARGEADDRESSAWARE" flag, may it have access to any space above 2GB.

As for the kernel, having had up to half of its space taken away must now find a way to live in a smaller space. The (in)ability of any specific system/Windows configuration to deal with this is why the 3gb switch is considered dangerous, seldom recommended, and just generally a bad idea. The biggest culprit here is drivers that run in kernel space. Like applications, they may assume that there's an entire 2GB of address space to work with, except unlike applications this space gets smaller instead of bigger.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 06:23 AM   #22
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I just bought 4GB of RAM, I pay a little for a Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 CAS4 instead of normal generic DDR2-800 and run it at 1GHz. Fired up Crysis Warhead and set to everything maxed, on 2GB system it stutters like hell, loading takes quite some time. With 4GB, everything is silky smooth, no more stutter and alt-tabbing to windows takes few seconds. Amazing!

I've finished downloading Windows 7 64-bit, but I won't install it until next Wednesday, when I finished my finals. I think I need to repartition too because 20GB is not enough I guess....
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 06:54 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ThereIsASpoon View Post
Notice i never used the word application.

I know that apps can't use the reserved memory.

But, it may sound like semantics to you, i consider that memory as being used for a good purpose, hence, here's the tricky bit, 4GB is usable in a 32-bit OS.

The OS itself is an app... your 512-768-1024 etc of mapped ram is being put to a useful purpose, you are not being denied.
i find your answers very confusing

so if i had a 32bit os, with 4gb of ram, and a 1gb video card, are you saying my system could use the total 5gb because windows can use the 4gb of ram seperate to what the video card is using, or are you saying in this situation the pc could only use 4gb total ram therefore making the extra 1gb of ram pointless?
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 09:17 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereIsASpoon View Post
Notice i never used the word application.

I know that apps can't use the reserved memory.

But, it may sound like semantics to you, i consider that memory as being used for a good purpose, hence, here's the tricky bit, 4GB is usable in a 32-bit OS.

The OS itself is an app... your 512-768-1024 etc of mapped ram is being put to a useful purpose, you are not being denied.
What you're saying is correct. But what's really relevant here is your apps being able to use that RAM.

What happens when you're using an app that does utilize all 4GB? Not all 4GB will be available because a chunk of the address space is reserved for I/O functions of other components for the OS, in turn limiting the app's potential. In a 64-bit environment, the address space is much larger so the OS does not have to dip into your physical memory.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 10:20 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ThereIsASpoon View Post
Explain how it doesn't make sense.

I'm trying to tell people that 4GBs of ram is usable on a 32bit os, regardless if the user has "access" to it.
I'm sorry but you're totally ill-informed here. As someone has already explained to you, there is a 'memory hole' near the top of the 32bit address space. This is address space used for device drivers which MS allocated within the 32bit space due to broken drivers for which they didn't want to break compatability. This part of the 32bit address space is NOT ABLE TO BE ALLOCATED TO MEMORY. This doesn't mean that devices or the system is using the RAM. It means that part of the RAM has no address space and cannot be read from or written to in any way shape or form. It is completely unused.
Your 32bit windows install only has some much address space it can give to devices (including RAM). If devices other than RAM need address space like a soundcard, video card, etc that address space cannot be allocated to another device - in this case RAM. See how a 256MB videocard consumes 256MB of address space? It's not consuming RAM, just address space that the ram could have used. You cannot use 4GB of ram in 32bit windows. NOTHING, not devices, not drivers, not windows itself can use 4GB of ram in windows 32. You're horribly confused as to the difference between 4GB of ram and 4GB of address space.

End of story.

"The OS itself is an app... your 512-768-1024 etc of mapped ram is being put to a useful purpose, you are not being denied."

Actually you are being denied. The whole POINT that you're missing here is that the RAM is NOT MAPPED. It is NOT being used by devices or drivers or the OS. It is unused and has no address space. You seem to believe that those top pieces of address space are consuming ram. This is not the case. Ram requires its own address space in order to be read from or written to. With that address space used, the ram can't have it thus is goes completely' totally' and utterly unused'

In 64bit windows the address space for other devices besides RAM exists FAR above any ammount of ram we would have installed so we can use ALL of our RAM.

Last edited by Studio : Jun 6, 2009 at 05:47 PM. Reason: edited in an attempt to be more civil as I was quite grumpy last night :(
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 11:12 AM   #26
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I'll try to be more succinct because I'm not very good at explaining concepts like this.

32bit windows has 4GB of address space. Any device in the system requires address space to work. This could be a sound card, I/O controller, Parralel port, memory on a video card or ram.

If all the devices in your system need, say, 0.6GB of address space that leaves only 3.4GB of address space left for your 4GB of ram. This means that only 3.4GB of ram has address space allocated to it. The remaining 0.6GB of ram does not have any address space. Nothing can read from it or write to it. It doesn't exist. It's a memory hole. It's not being used by anything. It doesn't exist. Nothing is flippings it bits. It's unused. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is using it. It's useless.


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Old Jun 6, 2009, 11:16 AM   #27
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Why would you map the space if not to use it?

The system is using that space... it's just not "user" space. It's necessary for an os to have that mapping.

It's not just there to annoy people, it has a purpose, hence you're not "losing" that space.
No kidding. Again, you're confusing address space with RAM.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 01:55 PM   #28
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Thank you for the information , i had to read a couple of times to get it. My mistake was thinking ram was being allocated, instead it was address space.

I'm gonna delete my posts since they are of no value now.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 02:46 PM   #29
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Thread added to Useful Info sticky as 'Considerations for OS Choice with 4Gb RAM'. Some good links and useful discussion in this thread.
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Old Jun 7, 2009, 08:44 AM   #30
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Yes, good explaining Studio. Cleared up a few things I was confused about too.

I think this quote from one of the articles I posted sums it up most simply:

Quote:
If the total installed computer memory is less than the usable space, all installed computer memory is available for use only by the operating system.

If the total installed computer memory is equal to or greater than the usable address space, a small portion of installed memory is unavailable for use by the operating system.

Last edited by Meteor_of_War : Jun 7, 2009 at 08:48 AM.
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