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Notebook Makers Moving to 4 GB Memory As Standard

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the living-in-the-wacky-future dept.

Portables 567

akintayo writes "Digitimes reports that first-tier notebook manufacturers are increasing the standard installed memory from the current 1 GB to 4GB. They claim the move is an attempt to shore up the costs of DRAM chips, which are currently depressed because of a glut in market. The glut is supposedly due to increased manufacturing capacity and the slow adoption of Microsoft's Vista operating system. The proposed move is especially interesting, given that 32-bit Vista and XP cannot access 4 GB of memory. They have a practical 3.1 — 3.3 GB limit. With Vista SP1 it seems that Microsoft has decided to fix the problem by reporting the installed memory rather than the available memory."

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That's great (4, Funny)

G-News.ch (793321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790020)

Because OS X Leopard CAN access 4GB of RAM. Let's see if Apple also joins the fray. Then again, 4GB is way too much, because after all 640KB should be enough for everyone.

Re:That's great (0, Redundant)

benmatth (1160859) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790030)

I'll care when Apple makes it so I can legally install Leopard on my Vostro with 4gb of ram.

Re:That's great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790174)

Well I guess it sucks to be you... You should have just gotten an Apple and you are able to run most any OS that you want. Plus you get a cooler computer too. Any difference in the cost is made up by the fact that the OS Can support the extra memory and you can gain the benefits of increased performance.

Re:That's great (4, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790410)

You should have just gotten an Apple and you are able to run most any OS that you want
Wow, for a minute there you almost had me believing that the only reason I can't do that on any other machine is because of artificial restrictions that Apple enforce.

How about I stick to what I have now so I don't have to buy an overpriced desktop, and then if Apple decide that I'm allowed to run OS X on something they didn't build, I might consider booting it.

Unlikely, though.

Re:That's great (2, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790472)

What Apple, under 1000 USD, can I buy that allows me to upgrade my video card?

Re:That's great (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790500)

Any of them do.

There is nothing in this world that a bit of elbow grease, duct tape and a hacksaw cannot do.

Re:That's great (5, Insightful)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790040)

'...because after all 640KB should be enough for everyone.'

Nope, that isn't played out.

At all.

And of course... [wired.com] :
"Meanwhile, I keep bumping into that silly quotation attributed to me that says 640K of memory is enough. There's never a citation; the quotation just floats like a rumor, repeated again and again."

Silly quotations do have a way of floating like rumors.

Well, the truth starts here.

He never said it.

Re:That's great (4, Funny)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790098)

I like the fact that your \. ID is in the 640Ks

Re:That's great (1)

FateStayNight (1000465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790220)

Do you really think he would own up to saying it. It's one of the most embarassing and shortsighted things said along with the "world demand for computers is 3" quote etc.

Re:That's great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790276)

Note first that I am not claiming Bill Gates ever uttered those words.

You can hardly hold up the linked Wired article about the issue as an unbiased, credible source. They did not want to give away free software. Their source? Bill Gates himself, who has an obvious bias. Note also that they never make any attempt to determine the source of the rumor. Bill Gates can easily and perhaps honestly say he never said a thing even if he said something similar.

The burden of proof that he said it is, of course, on those claiming he said it. However, your not supporting your claim that he never said it.

Re:That's great (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790338)

He never said it.

He may not have said it, but he believed it;

Bill Gates Challenges and Strategy Memo (16 May 1991)

I laid out memory so the bottom 640K was general purpose RAM and the upper 384 I reserved for video and ROM, and things like that. That is why they talk about the 640K limit. It is actually a limit, not of the software, in any way, shape, or form, it is the limit of the microprocessor. That thing generates addresses, 20-bits addresses, that only can address a megabyte of memory. And, therefore, all the applications are tied to that limit. It was ten times what we had before. But to my surprise, we ran out of that address base for applications within--oh five or six years people were complaining.

Re:That's great (1)

DrJokepu (918326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790142)

No, it can't, unless you have the 965 chipset. It is a hardware limitation. You still can't have more than 4gb though even with the 965 (remember, since it's supposed to be a 64 bit system technically it should be able to support more than 2^32 bytes (=4gb) of physical ram), because of the (hardware) limitations introduced by Apple (without any apparent reason).

Re:That's great (4, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790432)

Uh, what?

Running a 64-bit OS, you can access the board's maximum (there aren't any boards that can max out the 40 or 48-bit address space of existing EM64T/AMD64 CPUs) memory.

Running a 32-bit non-Windows OS with PAE enabled, you can access up to 16 GiB (2^36 bytes) of physical RAM.

Running a 32-bit Windows server OS with PAE enabled, you can also access up to 16 GiB of RAM.

However, even with PAE enabled, Windows XP and Vista 32-bit won't let you access anything past 4 GiB, because of some legacy hardware that could barf if it were handed an address higher than 4 GiB.

Re:That's great (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790144)

Because OS X Leopard CAN access 4GB of RAM. Let's see if Apple also joins the fray. Then again, 4GB is way too much, because after all 640KB should be enough for everyone.
In all fairness 512meg is a reasonable about for XP, 1gig however is better. I don't see your average joe 6-pack user benefiting from more than 2gigs.

 

Oh, I dunno. (3, Insightful)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790330)

In all fairness 512meg is a reasonable about for XP, 1gig however is better. I don't see your average joe 6-pack user benefiting from more than 2gigs.

After all the auto-updating software for their printer, mouse, keyboard, webcam, etc.; all the spyware, adware, trojans; and all the extra applications like AIM, anti-virus, anti-malware, non-driver device software (syncing, calling home, etc.), and media software playing music in the background, I can see joe 6-pack user making use of more than 2 gigs if he actually wants to do something with his computer. :)

Re:That's great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790610)

Apple are already there - MacBooks have been shipping with a 4G max for a couple of months now. Just bought one for a family member.

Vista-Ready (-1, Troll)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790028)

Bring on the bloatware.

Hey! (0, Troll)

gowakuwa (1199733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790034)

I want one of those to run pine and vi!

Re:Hey! (2, Funny)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790058)

'I want one of those to run pine and vi!'

OEMs releasing computers with 4GB of memory standard? Finally, we have machines that'll be able to run emacs...

Re:Hey! (5, Funny)

Roane (1075393) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790116)

In another few years, I might be able to run Eclipse.

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790300)

Finally, we have machines that'll be able to run emacs...
"Exabytes of Memory Are Close to Sufficient"? :P

Emacs is kind of like MS Office... newer versions run about the same speed on new hardware as older versions ran on older hardware, because each version uses more processor power. (Emacs 20 actually starts faster on an aging Sparc workstation with 256 MB of ram than Emacs 22 starts on my pimped-out Core 2 Duo with 4 GB...)

The main difference of course is that Emacs, unlike Office, is a powerful and useful tool where all the bloat is there to help get the job done more efficiently.

Re:Hey! (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790590)

Emacs, unlike Office, is a powerful and useful tool where all the bloat is there to help get the job done more efficiently

Well, I guess now I have to find exactly which is the job I do that can be done more efficiently using either the Mayan Calendar [cmu.edu] or the French Revolutionary Calendar [cmu.edu] ...

I think they should report it as 640k (3, Insightful)

Laglorden (87845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790036)

for obvious reasons :D

Nice "fix" though, then people can keep adding memory and think it helps :D

Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (5, Insightful)

Naito (667851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790056)

What an ingenious solution! No wonder Microsoft is the leading innovator in IT! That's SO innovative it makes me sick. It's hard enough trying to explain to customers why they shouldn't waste their money on 4GB of memory and a 1GB video card only to lose a quarter of it in real life, now the OS is trying actively trying to make me look like a liar too.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790120)

The simple solution is don't run 32-bit Vista. If you have mission-critical apps, hassle their makers constantly, asking for a 64-bit Vista version. Once all of them comply, switch to 64-bit Vista and use all the RAM you want.

(Same for s/Vista/Linux/;, of course.)

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (3, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790260)

Vista x64 is a regression in functionality. For one thing, it _requires_ signed drivers.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (2, Informative)

jfim (1167051) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790416)

For one thing, it _requires_ signed drivers.
No. It requires signed kernel drivers. Drivers for all bus-attached devices should run in userspace on Vista(so your USB printer can't crash the whole system but your video driver might).

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (2, Interesting)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790464)

Userspace drivers are very limited (that's why they are _userspace_) - they can't do anything that requires more than PASSIVE IRQL.

Vista x64 is the first step to locked-down systems, so it should be boycotted.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (1, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790526)

Are you planning on boycotting Linux as well?

Linux kernel 2.6.23 to have stable userspace driver API. [wordpress.com]

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (2, Informative)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790568)

Linux doesn't require drivers to be signed.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790578)

I don't care about userspace drivers (I'm porting FUSE to Windows in my spare time, for God's sake!).

But Vista requires _signed_ _kernel-mode_ _drivers_. It won't load unsigned drivers, and there's NO user override for this 'feature'. Let me repeat: Microsoft does not allow you to run some types of code on your computer.

You can turn on 'test certificate root' which allows to use self-signed certificate, but it is hard to do for a common user, causes DRMed content to stop playing and displays 'test mode' icon.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790594)

Apologies for the misconception.

I still think you might be overreacting a tad, but I understand what you mean.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (1)

joss (1346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790302)

> If you have mission-critical apps, hassle their makers constantly, asking for a 64-bit Vista version

Fuck that. Use Windows 2003 64bit.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790414)

or "Windows XP x64 Edition" which is basically the same thing.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790474)

Or Windows Server 2003 32-bit - the only reason why you can't access RAM above 4 GiB (but below 16 GiB) in PAE-enabled versions of XP32 and Vista32 is because of an artificial limitation set by Microsoft.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790218)

4GB RAM isn't such a waste of money anymore, and it's stock anyway. I think 4GB costs less than $100 now, even for notebooks.

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790258)

FTA:

Quotes for 1GB DRAM modules have fallen to US$16 in the second half of December while prices for two 2GB modules are likely to drop to less than US$60 in the first quarter of 2008. Based on this scenario, the cost for 4GB RAM will account for less than 6% of a US$1,000-cost notebook. This is much lower than the 10% of the overall system cost as seen in the past, memory makers added


That's why they're doing it--to increase demand for it, which the chip makers hope will increase the price.

- RG>

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (5, Informative)

IhuntCIA (1099827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790236)

In boot.ini file add switch /PAE at the end of multi(0)disk.. line

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /usepmtimer /PAE

It will not solve Your PR problem nor will solve the problem with incorrect reporting of available RAM, but will allow 32-bit Windows XP Professional to use all of it. In my experience, most programs / games can't use all 4GB of RAM, but if user is running more than one RAM hungry application (multitasks), 4GBs becomes useful.
Also we have to think about future Vista service packs so, 4GB is must have :)

Re:Fix the problem by misleading the customer? (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790424)

In boot.ini file add switch /PAE at the end of multi(0)disk.. line

That's not such a good idea.

The reason PAE mode isn't enabled by default is because it conflicts with DMA. Enabling it may make your Windows system even more unstable.

Vista 3.1GB? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790072)

This is more bullshit anyway - Vista has been shown to only be able to access 2.7GB for starters, by the most reliable test available [dwarfurl.com] [stanford.edu]

Oh just jump to 64bit already MS (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790092)

Stop with the kludges and force the developers along. 32 bit came with the 386 era and lasted a good while - a very good run indeed. 64 bit would last beyond our lifetimes anyway, I doubt we will even come close to the limits of addressable memory there (hopefully this isn't the new 640k comment) -- so there is no point in stalling it indefinitely.

Re:Oh just jump to 64bit already MS (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790204)

It's enough that Vista can't run a lot of programs and devices as it is (I'd think that's enough pressure for devs right there), you want it to run fewer programs and devices by insisting on 64 bit? I think we're maybe couple years away from being able to reasonably justify that for a lot of people.

Re:Oh just jump to 64bit already MS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790334)

Oh stop the cool-aid already. If we had 8388608-bit machines, each pointer would take 1 meg. So 'more' isn't 'better', and the sweet spot seems to be 32-bit.

Re:Oh just jump to 64bit already MS (2, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790460)

So 64-bit is worse than 32-bit because "8388608-bit processors would have 1 meg pointers".

If you really developed a 8388608-bit processor you could technically address 524TB of RAM. At that stage I don't think 1 meg pointers are as much of an issue as you're pretending they are.

Re:Oh just jump to 64bit already MS (1)

togofspookware (464119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790596)

Huh? Did upgrading to 64-bit addesses magically multiply our RAM by 4 billion? Until you just about double the amount of actual, available memory (I say 'just about' because not _all_ memory is going to be used for pointers and 64-bit ints), doubling the size of all your pointers would do more harm than good.

Re:Oh just jump to 64bit already MS (1)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790608)

64-bit windows already exists. If laptop makers want to put in on their machines, they can. Apparently, they (and their customers) don't want to do that right now. So you are upset that MS isn't somehow strongarming them into buying a version of their OS that they don't want? Isn't that exactly the sort of stuff they get in trouble for when they try it?

Makes me feel old (1)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790094)

It's now official, new machines have more RAM than my first computers had hard drive. I'm not sure how to use such power, though you can bet it will be with an open source OS.

This means that my next machine will likely be able to run the entire operating system from RAM if I want to use it that way, even with a GUI and applications I would have qualified as memory intensive just a couple years ago.

Re:Makes me feel old (1)

Slashdot Junky (265039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790176)

Make you feel old...

Ha! I'm not old, and I must be older than you. My first computer, an Atari 800XL, didn't have a hard disk. My second and first PC-compatible, an IBM PS/1, had a 80 or 85 MB hard disk. Yes, that is megabyte.

Later,
-Slashdot Junky

Re:Makes me feel old (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790262)

Young pups! The first PC I worked on was an IBM XT and had a 10MB hard drive.

Re:Makes me feel old (4, Funny)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790394)

Well back in my day we shifted disks on an abacus and made the beeping noises ourselves! :)

Re:Makes me feel old (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790530)

The first PC I worked on was an IBM XT and had a 10MB hard drive.

Well, the first computer I worked on was a CDC Cyber and had a 8.2M hard drive. I still have a ferrite core memory card for that thing somewhere - you can actually see each bit...

The first PC I owned was a TRS80 model 1 with the full 16k of RAM.

Re:Makes me feel old (2, Interesting)

dotnetatemybaby (948280) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790228)

Ha, "old"... Modern CPUs have a bigger cache than the entire memory of my first computer and I'm only just 28!

Re:Makes me feel old (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790352)

Late to the revolution? I'm younger than you are, and 2007 was the 10th anniversary of CPUs having more L1 cache than the entire memory of my first computer.

Re:Makes me feel old (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790234)

It's now official, new machines have more RAM than my first computers had hard drive.

Makes you feel old? Your comment makes me feel old. ;-)

My first computer (first PC, I should say, since I won't count the Timex Sinclaire 1000 with a whopping 4k of RAM) had 256k of RAM, dual 360k 5.25" floppy drives, and no HDD. So technically it had more RAM than HDD.

My first HDD weighed in at a mere 10MB (poor choice of words - as a large external device, it weighed almost 30lbs, but had a capacity of 10MB). That meant basically 10x the installed RAM in that machine.

Two machines later, I finally got to 16MB, passing my first HDD (I think at that point I had a ~300MB HDD). Since I had that one while still in highschool, I suppose that would put it around 1991 or 1992.

I didn't pass that threshold until somewhere around 2002, when I built my first box with a "whopping" 512MB of RAM. Now... My home file server (I don't count my desktop PC, since I don't store anything but the OS and installed apps on it) has just under 2TB. It might take a few more years to pass that in RAM.


So... Um... Git off mah lawn, you damned whippersnappers! :)

Re:Makes me feel old (2, Funny)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790290)

Modern machines have more L2 cache than the first 'personal' computers that I used had hard drives - 8" floppies with 128KB capacity.

Better stop there before I start talking about paper bags in the middle of the street - you youngsters don't know what life is!

Re:Makes me feel old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790296)

Computers didn't have hard drives back in the day. Hell I remember using computers that didn't have disk drives - they used tapes. And before me people used cards. I'm not old, so I fail to see how you consider yourself old.

It is refreshing to see, though, that no genuinely old people reply to this. I hope that no genuinely old people waste their time chatting about such mundane garbage. I might as well head over to perez hilton or whatever that new one is called. Slashdot sucks, you're all idiots.

Re:Makes me feel old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790328)

My first HD-equipped machine had a 40MB disk. My current machine has 8GB of RAM.

Re:Makes me feel old (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790336)

You are a young Whipper Snapper.
I am not old yet. And my first and second computer didn't come with hard drives.
By my 3rd had a 80 Meg harddrive which was succeeded by 1998 when 128 meg systems were common
A year or so after I got the 486 I Upgraded the hard drive on that to a brand new 1GB drive, which was Brand New a absolutely HUGE Drive with more space then you know what to do with it, and I got an additional 16 Megs of Ram for $500 and my computer was the screamingist PC around. with 24 Megs of Ram and 1Gig and 80 Gig drive. It ran Linux like a Champ (Slackware 1.something), The one Gig of Ram became common around 2002.

I bet If I re-downloaded Slackware 1 or 2 I could in theory have it run all in memory.

Re:Makes me feel old (1)

drgruney (1077007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790380)

If your first computer had less than 4GB of HD space that doesn't make you old... it makes you a young'n. If your computer had a hard drive at all you can gtfo my lawn.

20 meg harddrive chiming in (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790492)

it even took years to fill up

YOU feel old? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790498)

Our first PC had a 30MB HD capacity. And that's the first PC, not the first computer.

I'm only 29!

Re:Makes me feel old (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790562)

If you're old, then I'm ancient. My first computer came with 4K RAM which I quickly upgraded to 20K. I didn't have a hard drive, I used cassette tape. Sure, there were hard drives at the time, but they were for those monster business machines with somewhere between 32 and 64k RAM and the drives were a whopping 5MB.

I remember those days clearly... back when Radio Shack was a store I actually liked to visit!

Whose standard? (1)

drewmoney (1133487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790102)

Since 4GB is Vista's supposed "sweet spot", this seems to make sense. But the addition of RAM (which I could not find anywhere in the article that said it would be standard) is partly due to the price of 2GB modules "likely" dropping. If I was a memory manufacturer, and knew the big names in notebooks were going to quadruple memory, you better believe I'm raising prices. If 4GB ends up being standard, it's more like "consumer pays for" standard, than "steering wheel in a car" standard. This seems more "likely" to me.

Re:Whose standard? (1)

Targon (17348) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790198)

Most computers come with 2GB of RAM right now, with a number selling with 3GB. Moving to four gigs really isn't that big of a jump.

Re:Whose standard? (2, Insightful)

thsths (31372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790332)

> Since 4GB is Vista's supposed "sweet spot"

As the article says, 4 GB is the maximum that Vista supports. Calling that the sweet spot is like saying that it needs more memory than it supports.

Re:Whose standard? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790546)

Calling that the sweet spot is like saying that it needs more memory than it supports.

Yep, that sounds like Vista.

How can windows suck so much... (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790104)

Its pathetic how poorly Microsoft has moved towards 64 Bit vs. Other OS's out there...

Solaris Way Back in the 90's with Solaris 7 I think... Had 64 bit support with perfect 32 bit
support of backwards compatability.

OS X goes a step further one OS Package and support for PowerPC, 32 Bit and 64 Bit and Intel 32 Bit
and 64 Bit. And appliactions seem to work for all of theme for the most parts (with the ovious
exceptions of apps that require the advanced features of the newer Chips.

Reporting that you have 4 Gigs installed is not a real feature it just makes it easier for the
hardware companies to scam people saying here buy this with 4 Gigs of Ram and the OS says there is 4
GIgss of Ram while it only supports 3. I would be Pissed If I knew I couldn't access all my RAM.
Say I had VMWare on my Laptop and I allocated a VM with 2 Gigs and an other with 1.5 Gig and ran both
figuring that I had 4 Gigs of Ram available. I would be annoyed that I couldn't run both of my VMs
and Not knowing seeing that it supports 4 gigs of RAM I would want to know who is taking up 512 Megs
of Active Ram. I could blame Windows for being more of a memory hog. I could blame VMWare for sucking
up all the extra memory to run. But the fault is the Hardware Manufacutre put more ram then the
PC with the preinstalled Software can handle to make a few bucks and Microsoft just plays in their
hand making everything look hunky dory.

If it says you have 4 Gigs install It should also say there are 3.3 Gigs that can be access

Re:How can windows suck so much... (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790252)

You mentioned Solaris, but didn't it too runs on 64 bit x86_64 and can used more memory if it is there. In fact put 8GB in there for good measure, have one running like that as I speak. Ditto Linux. Running mysql? Add the RAM and tweak the config to use it and watch it go like smoke. Seems like only MS is having the 3.1/4GB issue.

Re:How can windows suck so much... (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790284)

Uh... MS has had 64 bit OS's available for quite some time. In fact, AMD's CEO testified in Microsoft's favor at its antitrust trial, and in exchange MS chose AMD64 as the way to push its software to 64 bits (Itanium support is a joke).
    The problem is, there has not been a lot of demand for 64 bit, and drivers for many pieces of hardware have not been written. Another point: Your VM example is plain wrong. XP CAN access all 4 gigs... just not all at the same time for the same application due to the Kernel/Userland split of the 32 bit address space. Your first VM can get one set of 2GB userland space, and the other VM can get a separate 1.5GB of space (although this will obviously be demand paged just like any other large apps would be). Incidentally, the exact same issue affects 32 bit Linux which still predominates in desktop/laptop use, and even a large chunk of server use.

Re:How can windows suck so much... (-1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790370)

Yes but there are 2 versions out there. WIndwos 32 and a Window 64. Linux/Solaris/OS X well every other modern OS out there seems to sell one copy of the OS and it works well for 32 bit or 64 bit Why does microsoft have 2 and why doesn't 32 bit drivers work on the 54 bit system. They seem to work on other systems... Heck I got some PowerPC 32bit driver to run my 64Bit Intel Mac.

to fix the problem by reporting... (2, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790114)

to fix the problem by reporting the installed memory rather than the available memory

I wouldn't have expected any other `solution' from MS :P

Article doesn't say what summary says (5, Informative)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790138)

From the summary: "They claim the move is an attempt to shore up the costs of DRAM chips, which are currently depressed because of a glut in market."

The article says: "While first-tier notebook vendors such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Toshiba are planning to roll out 4GB notebooks starting from the first quarter of 2008, the move is expected to give a boost to the DRAM market, according to memory module makers."

The article does not say that this is a deliberate attempt to increase DRAM price. And if it was, wouldn't it be illegal?

Solution: Make More Wiis (5, Funny)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790140)

It sounds like they should be making wiis and not memory. Solve a few problems at once

4 GiB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790154)

or is the 7.37% difference between GiB and GB used as error correction nowadays?

Re:4 GiB? (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790402)

or is the 7.37% difference between GiB and GB used as error correction nowadays?
No, it's just that nobody (outside a handful of geeks and pedants) uses "GiB" at all. Real people use "GB" exclusively, and just select which value to give the unit depending on the context: 1000-based for hard disks, 1024-based for RAM.

Inevitable (0, Troll)

spywhere (824072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790158)

The only Microsoft desktop operating system available to new PC buyers, after M$ stops licensing XP, will be Vista.
The only way to get Vista to run halfway decent is to throw better hardware at it.
When a new Vista laptop comes with 4 GB of RAM and a 512 MB video adapter, it will run almost as well as an XP laptop did with 512 MB RAM and a 128 MB video adapter. Nostalgia for XP will fade. As existing PCs fail, they will be replaced by Vista boxes.

Sooner or later, the OEMs will start offering 64-bit Vista on these machines (as a higher-cost option), and limiting the included bloatware to 64-bit versions. (This will have the desired effect of locking those buyers into subscribing to the pre-installed $ecurity $oftware, and constraining their ability to use older software... all win-win for McAfee, $ymantec, and M$).

Re:Inevitable (0, Flamebait)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790268)

Sooner or later, the OEMs will start offering 64-bit Vista on these machines...

Or maybe offer Linux or Solaris instead.

Re:Inevitable (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790350)

Nostalgia for XP will fade. As existing PCs fail, they will be replaced by Vista boxes.

Vista is an interim solution to a problem that existed only in the minds of Microsoft's stockholders, which has caused and will continue to cause problems for actual customers. I have the feeling that by the time Vista is out in any significant quantity, Microsoft will have obsolesced Vista and moved us onto something else.

Can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790170)

to me why XP/Vista 32-bit only support 3 GB of RAM? Should 4 GB be completely addressable with a 32-bit OS? So, is this just Microsoft ass-hattery not wanting to actually implement the support for this?

Re:Can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790216)

nevermind, the AC answers his own question. You still need part of that 4 GB addressable memory space for addressing to devices. There is my DUH moment of the day.

Re:Can someone explain... (2, Informative)

shl1 (216799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790254)

32-bit Linux has similar limitations, too. OS needs to reserve *some* addresses to access other hardware such as CPU registers, PCI cards, etc. Since 32-bit CPUs can only count up to 2^32, it cannot address all the locations in RAM. This is definitely not just Microsoft.... :-)

Re:Can someone explain... (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790592)

This is definitely not just Microsoft.... :-)

Yes it is.

The Linux kernel devs solved this back in 2004 [kerneltrap.org] .

Re:Can someone explain... (4, Informative)

teslar (706653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790456)

The address space you'd normally use to address memory beyond 3.5gigs (or thereabouts) is reassigned for talking to other stuff. It's a simple 32bit limitation - can't only be talking to the RAM after all. As others have pointed out throughout this thread, the problem does not exist in 64bit architectures.

5 years ago, nobody would have thought that we'd run into this problem at all. Remember those times? Everybody and their mum was just about getting ready to jump onto the 64Bit bandwagon with AMD charging in front. And then, while nobody (especially not AMD) was paying attention, we kinda veered off-course into a multi-core world instead and all of a sudden, people stopped caring about 64bit. After all, you had a larger net performance gain from upgrading to 2 32Bit cores than to one 64Bit one. And now, we're finally running out of address space.

Re:Can someone explain... (1)

teslar (706653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790480)

upgrading to 2 32Bit cores than to one 64Bit one
Gotta learn to click preview instead of submit... before someone starts flaming, that should really read "two cores capable of running 32bit applications than to one capable of running 64bit applications".

Re:Can someone explain... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790512)

Remember that the 3.2-3.3 GB limit is not imposed solely on the RAM itself. The computer as a whole only has a maximum number of addressable "points." I believe that 32 bit Windows or Linux allows for a maximum number of addresses around 4 GB, so you'd think that you could use 4 GB of RAM.

Wait a moment and think it out.

Estimate that components such as your processor caches, motherboard I/O destinations, Network cards, CD/DVD drive will take up about 1/2 GB of the theoretical 4 GB. These MUST have addresses or they cannot function.

Now add in all of your vRAM (the amount of ram on your video card), that ram will also need a set of addresses. We'll estimate 256 MB of vRAM.

So now you've taken your theoretical 4 GB of ram space, subtracted 512 MB for essential system components needing addresses, subtracted 256 MB of vRAM on your video card needing addresses. So, total, you've just taken away 768 MB of your theoretical RAM limit. 4 GB (Theoretical limit) - 768 MB (used addresses by components and video card memory) = 3.25 GB of RAM. Systems with 512MBs of vRam have a 3GB limit for memory.

Now consider the slap in the face SLI 8800 GTX's would be to system addressing. They take up 768 MB of vRAM each. So that is 1536 MB of vRAM total. Now you are probably down to something like 2GB of RAM addresses available for the system.

Heh. So the point is, the world NEEDS to get it's butt over to 64-bit sometime soon. Gamers are going to start to feel the burn soon when suddenly they have no more RAM to play with while SLIing.

This applies to both Windows and Linux. 64-Bit doesn't have this limitation. The only ones implying it is a Windows problem is those like Twitter the Troll and Communist Zonk.

Video ram? (2, Insightful)

B-a-Z.nl (765901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790186)

My Laptop uses the ram as video memory, if they use 256/512 MB as video ram it is not that much more than the maximum allowed by 32bit operating systems.

Re:Video ram? (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790304)

This would use the upper reserved portions of the memory anyway, as it because of shadowed memory that this problem exists in the first place. As the article says implement PAE correctly and the problem is reduced.

Can we get some parental supervision on this site? (4, Informative)

kma (2898) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790270)

Or at least, supervision by people who know how computers work? 4GB is perfectly sensible for a 32-bit x86; the virtual address space is only 4GB, but the physical address spaces is larger (at least 36 bits on all popular processors). Yes, that means it's awkward to use more than 4GB in a single application, but so what? Using more than 4GB across the system is perfectly transparent.

Also, what's with slamming Microsoft over the "slow" transition to 64-bit? 64-bit XP has been out for, like, three years now. It runs 32-bit applications, because the x64 architecture makes it so ridiculously easy you'd have to intentionally break it. 64-bit Linux does the same, because it takes, like, a line of code to do so. If software makers aren't producing 32-bit apps, it's probably because their customers haven't demanded they do so yet; and the customers probably haven't demanded it because it's unusual for a single application to need 4GB of RAM. Finally, those applications that can frequently use gigondo amounts of RAM in a single virtual address space (e.g., Oracle) for the most part had 64-bit binaries available right out of the gate.

Re:Can we get some parental supervision on this si (4, Informative)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790442)

Windows 32-bit operating systems really do not play well with more than 3Gb of memory. Check out what Microsoft says about it [microsoft.com] .

Re:Can we get some parental supervision on this si (4, Informative)

SigILL (6475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790466)

4GB is perfectly sensible for a 32-bit x86; the virtual address space is only 4GB, but the physical address spaces is larger (at least 36 bits on all popular processors).

The trouble is that in contemporary chipsets in 32-bit mode the upper 1G or so of physical memory overlaps with the address space for the PCI bus.

Is it really due to "glut in market" ? (5, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790282)

Laptops, which have been a nice fat cash cow to OEMs, are steadily becoming cheaper and cheaper. Nowadays, we have retailers selling laptops for about 500 euros with specs that a couple of year ago were selling for a lot more than 1500 euros. A while back the average laptop price tag was about 1200 euros and nowadays it went down to 800 euros. That's a heck of a revenue cut.

So the OEMs are forced to add another fancy selling point, like upgrading the specs once again, in order to keep making the big bucks. They don't give a damn if it brings any added value to the product or if it even functions properly. What matters is some fancy little side remark on the laptop's brochure that makes their fancy little product be picked by the vast hordes of consuming sheep. Who cares if it makes sense or if it's even usable. What's important is that them flock falls for that "OMG! IT'S N+1!!!" and promptly spend their cash, specially for the "it's bigger than my neighbour's" bragging rights.

This sort of thing isn't exactly new. In fact, it's the repeat of another similar marketing push, which was the "32-to-64bit" campaign. The fancy stickers advertising the new and improved 64bit 'puters for the "OMG IT'S TWICE THE BITS!!" effect were all over the place, which earned quite a few hardware sales. Yet, the fact is that the brand new 64-bit 'puter could only run on the 32-bit legacy mode, as they were shipped with a 32-bit operating system and the OEMs shipped hardware without ever thinking on releasing 64-bit drivers or even releasing the hardware specs.

So those OEMs will, once again, sell hardware that will not be usable by the user, at least as advertised. It doesn't matter to them. The only thing that matters is the sales revenue, specially in this day and age where we are starting to see sub-300 euro hardware. And screw the consumer.

Not bad at all (1)

arigram (1202657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790286)

More ram with a new computer and cheaper ram to upgrade with. Doesn't sound too bad.

If you also use a resource-laconic OS, it will mean more ram for your software.

Bloatware will always exist and lean programming will also continue. A word processor can be made to run slow on future super computers or really fast on 90s era computers and its all depended on the programming philosophy and skills. People who care will always complain or work with every little byte of ram, even if you have tenths of GBs to spare.

Not the only one (1)

kaiwai (765866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790320)

I've got a MacBook (not the x3100 model), 2.16Ghz BlackBook, and the max in theory it can hold is 4gigs but according to apple the max it can support is 3gb, and according to the forums, it can access 3.3.

What happened to 4gb? a chipset limitation or Apple castrating their hardware like usual?

ps. this is an honest question, I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone :(

Reminds me of an old Microsoft joke (5, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790376)

How many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

None. Microsoft just redefines darkness as the standard.

Reminds me of a new Linux joke (0)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790496)

How many Linux engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

None. They all stand around complaining that the socket isn't compatible with the lightbulb they created from scratch, then demand that the makers of the socket tell them exactly how they built it or they'll sulk in the dark.

Re:Reminds me of a new Linux joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790588)

How many OpenBSD developers does it take to change a light bulb?

None. They all stand around complaining that they have to sign NDAs to make the lightbulb, then demand that the makers of the socket tell them exactly how they built it with profanity or they'll continue spouting profanity.

Moore's law in action? (2, Insightful)

jhines (82154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790504)

I'm guessing this is Moore's law in action, in that the memory chips have scaled. Notebook motherboard space hasn't increased, so they probably aren't increasing the number of chips, but going to the next gen of memory chips.

Time to upgrade (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790522)

I think next year I'll finally upgrade my system. I have a TI-99/4A [wikipedia.org] . I bought it a few years back when they went on sale at Sears for $100. It has 256 bytes of RAM, but will store programs in the 16 KB of video RAM.

Fifteen colors, 256 x 192 resolution, 3 MHz processor, plenty for coding and reading Slashdot. But Firefox takes forever to load from the cassette tape.

So for ten times the cost (ouch) I could get 250,000 times the RAM, 1,000 times faster clock speed, and at least 10,000,000 times the storage.

I hope my games still run: Parsec, Congo Bongo, and my favorite Alpiner.

The Persistence of Memory (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790606)

Why would notebook makers want to keep memory prices propped up, when those prices increase their costs, and the price of their notebooks they have to sell?

The much more obvious reason is that Vista needs more RAM, as does XP and everything else that inevitably bloats (including Linux).

And even though 32b Vista can't use all the 4GB of RAM, people will want it anyway, because they won't know/understand that the extra RAM isn't helping. And with all the other problems Vista has, the old solution to just throw more RAM at a buggy platform will still be popular.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790632)

Yes, I can.
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