Max Memory?

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Old 11-26-08, 07:11 AM
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Max Memory?

I'm running Vista 32 bit with 3 GB ram and a 256mb video card and would like to upgrade the card to a 1 mb unit. After reading a lot about the maximum ram accessible by a 32 bit OS and still being confused, I'm wondering if this upgrade will result in an improvement, a slow-down or no change.

Any thoughts?
 
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Old 11-26-08, 09:14 AM
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You can't upgrade the memory on a video card. And it also won't help you to upgrade system RAM, as you'd have to upgrade to 64bit OS to see 4 gigs of ram.
 
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Old 11-26-08, 09:22 AM
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I'll assume you mean replacing the video card with a 1GB unit...

As a 32bit operating system, Vista can only address 4GB of memory. The memory on a video card must be mapped within the first 1GB of this 4GB space. To protect against any overlap, 32bit OSs reserve this first 1GB of space, so the system can really only see 3GB of system RAM at once, regardless of how much RAM is installed.

So, in your case, you have 3GB RAM and if you upgraded the video card to 1GB version, you'd still have 3GB RAM and 1GB of video memory.

If you were to have 4GB RAM and upgrade, you'd now only have 3GB RAM and 1GB video memory, effectively "loosing" 1GB of installed memory.

We can get around this limitation only by installing a 64-bit OS, like Vista-64, but hardware drivers are not mature on this platform as of yet, and I do not recommend moving to 64-bit if you have any older hardware at all.

But, increasing your video memory over 256mb really will not do a whole lot unless you are rendering film grade 3D animation with the proper tools to do so, or are an extremely hardcore 3D video game player with the eye to notice very small changes in FPS.
 
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Old 11-26-08, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by toofer View Post
You can't upgrade the memory on a video card. And it also won't help you to upgrade system RAM, as you'd have to upgrade to 64bit OS to see 4 gigs of ram.
toofer,
I believe he's talking about installing a "new" graphics card with more memory on the new card......

His question asks if there is a limitation as to how much graphics memory can be used with the 32 bit OS when installing a new graphics card.

I'm guessing there's a point of no return, or even a point where the operating system will actually bog down if a graphics card with too much memory is installed.
Phil
 
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Old 11-26-08, 09:50 AM
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Yes, Joe & Phil are correct. I am looking at a video card with 1GB onboard.

From what you say Joe, it probably would result in an improved performance? I'll be using Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 and 3D Studio Max so video and graphic processing are important.
 
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Old 11-26-08, 10:10 AM
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I can only speculate that you'd see a small increase in speed, but only under certain conditions. The system will still only see 3GB RAM, but 1GB of extra RAM will now be seen by your 3D applications. There are a lot of "ifs" here, mainly because I do not know your workflow.

If the new graphics card is faster at rendering than your current one, you'll immediately see better performance out of 3DSM, regardless of the amount of memory in the system.

If you have very large and extremely complex scenes rendering in 3DSM, the extra 1GB of video memory may decrease the amount of memory "shuffle" between system and video memory, but, it is hard to say if this would be an improvement you could see. I think it would be rather difficult to fill up 1GB of video memory with a 3DSM render, and I wonder if you'd ever use more than a few hundred MB. Of course, Photoshop and other 2D applications won't take advantage of the extra video memory at all.
 
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