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  1. #1
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    My system has 3 Gb RAM, of which the on-board NVIDIA video uses 256 Mb. Would I gain any noticeable performance by upgrading to 4 Gb RAM? I understand the 32 bit OS can only use about 3.1 Gb, but wouldn't that still be replacing what the video robs? Seems like it would help a little, just wondering if it's worth the $.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    The simple answer to your question is 'No'. The slightly more complicated answer is 'Maybe, but only a little bit, if at all'.

    It's not just the video RAM which eats into the address space from 4GB downwards, and on my Toshiba laptop I can use just less than 3 GB of RAM.

    And are you sure that you're even really utilising all the 3 GB you've got?

    Later... There are lots of accounts of 'the 3 GB limit' for WIndows 32-bit operating systems. Here's just one I found...
    BATcher

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty K View Post
    My system has 3 Gb RAM, of which the on-board NVIDIA video uses 256 Mb. Would I gain any noticeable performance by upgrading to 4 Gb RAM? I understand the 32 bit OS can only use about 3.1 Gb, but wouldn't that still be replacing what the video robs? Seems like it would help a little, just wondering if it's worth the $.
    Don't waste your money! I would be shocked if you saw any increase at all! If you had 64 Bit CPU and OS available then yes you might see a slight increase, especially when more 64 Bit apps become available that can efficiently utilize 4 GB of RAM. Even in a 64 Bit environment, most of us will not see increases in speed with more than 4 GB RAM because we almost never utilize the whole 4 GB we already have.

    In a 32 Bit environment, unless you have multiple apps open at once or use large, memory hungry apps, you will almost never tap out all 3 GB RAM, even when using 256 MB for video processing. Even at today's prices, the cost would be like throwing your money away. If you really want to do that I'll send you my address and you can throw it at me! That way at least someone would benefit from it.
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    Check with the motherboard manufacturer. RAM is allocated to the graphics on demand up to a certain level depending on the amount of RAM installed. If you have 3GB installed and only 256 MB is being allocated to the graphics, my guess is that is the maximum that can be allocated.

    For example, the Asus M3N78-VM motherboard has an integrated NVidia GF 8200 graphics chip but can only use 256MB shared mameory. So 3GB installed memory with a 32-bit OS is about the optimum for that MoBo.

    Terry

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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Windows 7 home, will recognize 4 GB of RAM and your programs will use it.
    As to whether or not it's worth it , that will be up to you to decide.
    You'd probably be better off getting a graphics card if you are able.
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  6. #6
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    Okay, thanks, people, I appreciate your responses. That's what I needed to know. I will not spend any money on RAM. Sorry, Ted, I won't be sending you any bucks either. My computer runs fast and clean anyway, so I will just enjoy what I have.
    But I will try to learn a little more about how memory is allocated and addressed. Thanks, BATcher for that link to the article.

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    NO. I upgraded 1 of mine from 2 to 4 and did not notice any improvement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Rossmere View Post
    Windows 7 home, will recognize 4 GB of RAM and your programs will use it.
    As to whether or not it's worth it , that will be up to you to decide.
    You'd probably be better off getting a graphics card if you are able.
    Only 64-bit versions of Windows will use 4GB of RAM. All versions will recognize 4GB but with 32-bit versions you'll only use about 3.2 - 3.3 GB max.

    Joe
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    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Rossmere View Post
    Windows 7 home, will recognize 4 GB of RAM and your programs will use it.
    As to whether or not it's worth it , that will be up to you to decide.
    You'd probably be better off getting a graphics card if you are able.
    It may report that 4GB RAM is installed, but it CANNOT use it. If you look at the System Page (WInkey+Break), it will say something similar to:

    Installed Memory (RAM): 4 GB (3.25 GB usable)

    The exact amount usable depends on memory that the motherboard may reserve.

    Terry

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Rossmere View Post
    Windows 7 home, will recognize 4 GB of RAM and your programs will use it.
    As to whether or not it's worth it , that will be up to you to decide.
    You'd probably be better off getting a graphics card if you are able.

    Clint, As Rusty states in his original post, his system is 32 Bit at this time. He will only be able to access between 3.2 and 3.5 GB RAM (amount depends on Mobo and who you talk to), definitely not 4 GB.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Farrell View Post
    ...If you look at the System Page (WInkey+Break), it will say something similar to:

    Installed Memory (RAM): 4 GB (3.25 GB usable)

    The exact amount usable depends on memory that the motherboard may reserve.

    Terry
    Mine says: Installed Memory (RAM): 3 GB (2.75 GB usable)

  12. #12
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty K View Post
    Mine says: Installed Memory (RAM): 3 GB (2.75 GB usable)
    The system Kernel uses the remaining .25 GB I would suspect. This is normal. Adding another 1 GB od RAM will not change this significantly in a 32 Bit system.
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  13. #13
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    I guess that the 256MB of missing memory is exclusively reserved for the integrated graphics. In my example, I am using a PCIe graphics card with its own dedicated memory.

    Increasing memory from 3 - 4 GB <may> give you an additional 256MB of memory which would be hardly discernable.

    A better upgrade to improve the performance of your PC would be to install a separate graphics card with its own dedicated memory and disable the integrated graphics. That will release 256MB meory to the system and give you vastly superior graphics performance. Just make sure that if you go this route that you don't get a graphics card that has a small amount of memory and shares system memory when it needs it.

    Something like a Sapphire HD 4550 with 512MB DDR3 memory will beat virtually any integrated graphics and be only marginally more than the additional memory cost.

    Terry

  14. #14
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    My computer for the most part runs quick and smoothly. I started this more out of curiosity than necessity. The times I wish for more power are when I am watching streaming TV shows or movies, which are becoming popular on the web. Am I right in thinking a video card with more memory would buffer more of the feed and give a smoother experience? Right now, it will stop to buffer once in a while, but usually not enough to be a nuisance. It would be nice to eliminate that though. I am not a gamer. I mostly use it to do banking and web surfing. I like to watch NASA feeds, some sports and more recently, sci-fi shows and movies.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I would imagine that you would see a decent boost in video and graphics performance with an add-on graphics card as Terry suggests.
    It would alow what memory you have to be more usefull elsewhere in the system.


    My old XP 32 bit system registered over 3.5 GB RAM, and that is with an 8800GT with 512 MB RAM.
    3.2 to 3.3 GB is not the limit in a 32 bit os.
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