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Notebook Makers Moving to 4 GB Memory As Standard 567

Posted by Zonk
from the living-in-the-wacky-future dept.
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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Notebook Makers Moving to 4 GB Memory As Standard

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  • by Laglorden (87845) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:31AM (#21790036) Journal
    for obvious reasons :D

    Nice "fix" though, then people can keep adding memory and think it helps :D
  • Re:That's great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boredMDer (640516) <pmohr+slashdot@boredmder.com> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:31AM (#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.
  • by Naito (667851) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:33AM (#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.
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:38AM (#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.
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:40AM (#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
  • by l3v1 (787564) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:42AM (#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

  • Video ram? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by B-a-Z.nl (765901) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:57AM (#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.
  • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:11AM (#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.
  • Oh, I dunno. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:18AM (#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:Whose standard? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thsths (31372) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:18AM (#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:That's great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:27AM (#21790410) Journal

    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.
  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:34AM (#21790460) Journal
    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:That's great (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:36AM (#21790472) Journal
    What Apple, under 1000 USD, can I buy that allows me to upgrade my video card?
  • by jhines (82154) <john@jhines.org> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:41AM (#21790504) Homepage
    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.
  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:44AM (#21790526) Journal
    Are you planning on boycotting Linux as well?

    Linux kernel 2.6.23 to have stable userspace driver API. [wordpress.com]
  • by CajunArson (465943) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:07AM (#21790654) Journal
    OK, this is Slashdot and I am amazed at the level of ignorance here. I think 98% of the people on this site would fail a basic OS exam flat out:

        1. Everything you just described for having 32 bit executables and libraries co-existing on a 64 bit OS has existed from day 1 for 64 bit versions of Windows. read the wiki page [wikipedia.org]
        2. 32 bit drivers DO NOT WORK on 64 bit operating systems.. be they Linux, Windows, Slowaris, Mac OS X, or Irix for that matter. You are letting your anti-MS bias cloud your judgment in not realizing that there are fundamental differences between a 32 bit OS and a 64 bit one. It's not all a big conspiracy led by Bill Gates to screw you over, it's a technical fact of life. Don't believe me? Try to use 32 bit Nvidia drivers on your 64 bit Linux box (if you even have one).
        3. Heck I got some PowerPC 32bit driver to run my 64Bit Intel Mac. Bullshit absent you running your "driver" in a PPC emulator or something like that. I want device names, binary blob names, versions, and a fucking video of that working. This line shows you are nothing more than a troll.
       
  • by mangu (126918) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:08AM (#21790656)
    How many Linux engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

    None. Linux lightbulbs last forever. They don't need to be changed.
  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@castl e s t e e l s t o ne.us> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:23AM (#21790772) Homepage Journal

    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.
    \

    Have you ever actually used a computer?

    Joe Sixpack benefits from a computer that runs faster, swaps less, and has a shorter boot time. In fact, I'd wager that he gets more benefit from memory than the typical /. user's second box.

  • by eebra82 (907996) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:29AM (#21790802) Homepage

    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.
    I don't think it's so much about the laptop stickers. It used to be, but something significant has happened lately. You see, three or four years back, the performance of a budget laptop was relatively slow. It feels like the hardware finally caught up with the software (except for games). You can actually buy a 500 laptop because it CAN and WILL perform in almost every everyday application (except for games and such, of course). And it's so cheap because the components are dated and/or low-end enough and cheap to produce. In addition, market got bigger and we all know that the larger the scale of the production, the cheaper it gets to produce as well.

    Of course, every now and then, PC makers push the limits to set new standards. For example, TFT panels used to come in 14" and 15" flavors, but nowadays it's kind of difficult to get a screen that small. And it's not like they decided to make more money by setting 17", 19" and 20" standards, because they didn't. The demand for larger panels was there and as technology advanced and more consumers got into flat screens, prices also went down. By today's standards, you can get a 20" screen for what, 250 bucks? A few years ago, getting 15" for 250 bucks was a dream.
  • Re:That's great (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Xinef Jyinaer (1044268) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @12:02PM (#21791046)
    Maybe Joe Sixpack benefits from a faster computer, however Joe Keg benefits from the slower boot times and load times associated with vista because it gives him time to think about what he's doing. (as per my experience)
  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JebusIsLord (566856) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @12:33PM (#21791268) Homepage
    shipping now? all of them. What 32-bit chips are still being sold today?
  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Posthumous Arkansas (638458) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @12:55PM (#21791426)

    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.

    The very existence of OSx86 [wikipedia.org] shows that it's not a technical limitation that prevents OS X working on any machine you like.
    These statements presuppose the completely false notion that Apple has any reason at all to consider allowing their OS to run on someone else's hardware. They don't. The margins they make on their "overpriced hardware" are the envy of the industry, and OS X is the main incentive people have for paying the hardware premium. Moreover, Apple has built a brand identity around the "Mac experience" that depends in part on their retaining control over what hardware their OS has to support. Why on earth would they torpedo their current, highly-profitable business in order to sell a standalone OS for commodity hardware? Consider that Apple's market cap right now is almost half of Microsoft's, yet their OS market share is a tiny fraction of Microsoft's. Even if you adjust the numbers to discount the contribution of the iPod, Apple is clearly making a ton of money from Mac sales, regardless of overall OS market share. So, why should they be an also-ran scrounging for pocket change in Microsoft's couch cushions, when they can mint money with their current strategy?

    While I am sure there are many good reasons for you to stick with what you have, as long as Apple continues to make billions doing things their way, complaints that they haven't committed suicide trying to win customers who don't want to buy their hardware seem sort of pointless.
  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @12:56PM (#21791434) Journal
    Agreed, 640k jokes about this ought to be enough for ANYBODY.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:14PM (#21791558)
    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.

    Really? Linux works flawlessly in all my light sockets. I guess the system whereby engineers ask for specs from the people who want to sell them light sockets gets the job done.


    -FL

  • by JOrgePeixoto (853808) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:24PM (#21791628) Journal
    The summary claims that the *notebook manufacturers* are deliberately raising the price of DRAM chips.

    First, if they are doing that, they are benefiting the DRAM manufacturers, so they must have an agreement with them. I am not sure this would be legal.

    Second, a single notebook manufacturer would hardly have the market power to increase DRAM prices. Such a move would have to be coordinated among several manufacturers, and I doubt very much that would be legal.
  • by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:27PM (#21791656) Homepage
    Well, what incentive do these OEMs have to keep memory prices high? They buy memory, surely they want to buy it as cheaply as possible.
    It looks more like these manufacturers are taking advantage of the low prices to boost the perceived value of their systems, and also offset some of the slowness associated with vista.
  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by n0-0p (325773) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:35PM (#21791708)
    You're dead-on, but you forgot to mention that they have no incentive whatsoever to incur the massive overhead of implementing support for the broad range of commodity hardware that Windows must run on. Their control of the hardware not only buys them a nice profit margin, it also drastically reduces their development QA costs.
  • by smidget2k4 (847334) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:50PM (#21791786)
    If he doesn't own the company why should he care? And even if he does, isn't good service above gouging people for money? You want these people to come back, after all.
  • Re:That's great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joe U (443617) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:52PM (#21791794) Homepage Journal
    Basically, Microsoft and IBM decided that the color video buffer should always be at $A000, which pretty much limited you to 640K.

    Since the processor at the time only could access 1MB, 640K of the 1MB was enough for DOS and the 8088. Now, when the 80286 arrived, things changed. The 286 had a 16MB limit, but DOS was still acting like it was a 8088 (some part for compatibility, some for poor design switching between real/protected modes).
  • Re:That's great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:59PM (#21791850) Journal
    The really interesting thing about all this is, if the market continues to reject Vista on the basis that it's bad technology even when it's working properly, and they consider their choices to consist of either sticking with the Windows XP that they know or taking a risk on the Linux upstart which seems to have a trustworthy reputation, the simple fact that Linux is 64 bit could make it the only performance contender around on commodity hardware.

    When Vista isn't an acceptable option, you don't own a Mac, and you've got a gig of ram sitting there unused, that's a pretty powerful pressure to use another operating system.
  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by macshit (157376) <[gro.ung] [ta] [selim]> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @04:06PM (#21792650) Homepage

    The margins they make on their "overpriced hardware" are the envy of the industry, and OS X is the main incentive people have for paying the hardware premium.

    Is there really all that much of a premium for Apple hardware these days?

    I don't own a Mac, but I was in the computer store yesterday where they had Mac laptops and desktops along with lots of other brands, and least the Mac laptops were cheaper than other "top" brands with the same processor/speed/memory (they all seem to have a Core 2 Duo at 2 GHz or so, and 1GB of RAM).

    The same is true of ipods -- they often seem to be cheaper than their competition (and the competition is almost always palpably more flimsy and tacky).

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