The 3GB solution

I notice that Dell and HP are now selling desktop PCs with 3GB of RAM as a standard configuration (2 1GB sticks and 2 512MB sticks).

This is a neat way to avoid having to deal with the common question: “Hey, how come I bought this PC with 4GB but I can only see 3GB or thereabouts?”

Answers here and here, but it is truly smart to avoid the issue in the first place. And of course it becomes a non-issue in a few years when we achieve x64 Nirvana.

7 thoughts on “The 3GB solution

  1. I just bought a new Dell machine myself and indeed, its baseline configuration was 3GB. A little researched revealed why! 😀

  2. I knew all this when we ordered up my dad’s new HP (Vista Home Premium) system a few months ago.

    He had been living on 512MB RAM on his dated XP system, so I wanted to make sure the new system had more than enough RAM to meet his current Vista needs as well as any future applications he will toss at it into the future.

    So we maxed out the system RAM at 4GB to the mainboard limit when we ordered it.

    I knew about the system RAM reporting limit, and warned him ahead of time not to be concerned about it.

    I was impressed that when I unboxed and began setup of the new system, HP had included a clearly placed paper flyer that gave nice background on this issue for its customers who had ordered 4GB RAM configurations but were running a x32 bit Vista system.

    And yes…I usually still flip through all the papers that ship with new pc systems.

  3. Looks like Microsoft is removing this issue in Vista SP1.

    I was reading Long Zheng’s post Microsoft publishes detailed Vista SP1 “changelog” that details a LOT of technical details of the Vista SP1 release when I picked out the following:

    With SP1, Windows Vista will report the amount of system memory installed rather than report the amount of system memory available to the OS. Therefore 32-bit systems equipped with 4GB of RAM will report all 4BG in many places throughout the OS, such as the System Control Panel. However, this behavior is dependent on having a compatible BIOS, so not all users may notice this change.

    Long has a full roundup of the features and changes coming and it is by far the most detailed and comprehensive SP1 information release I have seen yet. Good stuff for all!

    Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals

  4. Came across this post from one of Ed’s other articles. Funny thing though, I’ve had 8GB on my main system for 3 years now, and since I run 32 bit Linux, the install set up the PAE kernel so I’ve always seen all 8GB of RAM. I could never get XP to see that even with the /pae switch.

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