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Portables Operating Systems Software Windows Hardware

Notebook Makers Moving to 4 GB Memory As Standard 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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Notebook Makers Moving to 4 GB Memory As Standard

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  • Re:Makes me feel old (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dotnetatemybaby ( 948280 ) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:02AM (#21790228)
    Ha, "old"... Modern CPUs have a bigger cache than the entire memory of my first computer and I'm only just 28!
  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:35AM (#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:That's great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) * on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:40AM (#21790900) Homepage

    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.
    My overpriced Quad G5 which is 2 years old has 16GB Max memory spec and I actually saw it in use on a Pro DTP Workstation.

    When I bought it, it was same price as a Quad Xeon workstation. I was happy with the G5 Technology (unlike G4-Laptop guys) so I opted in for Quad G5.

    What Apple lacks are
    1) A complete image fix of iMac series. Even if iMac performs 3x faster than a "Black Box Desktop PC", it won't be taken serious.
    2) A mini Tower with 2x more space so they won't be bothering with 5400 RPM HD, integrated Gfx card. I am speaking about a bigger Mac Mini.

    For generic PC running OS X? Half of OS X'es power comes from Apple knowing their desktop stuff out there and Taiwan no-name card manufacturers can't manage to get into those machines.

  • Re:That's great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RulerOf ( 975607 ) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:58AM (#21791014)

    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.
    A friend of mine was running an XP computer with 512 of ram. He couldn't play Warcraft III at acceptable frame rates or resolution, and if he hit the windows key on accident, he would be dropped from the game because his computer couldn't swap data fast enough to get him back to his desktop within the 45 seconds that the game gives you to start responding again.
    After I gutted his computer from all excess hardware (modem, spare NIC, etc.), turned off almost every service that wasn't required to boot the computer, and repartitioned his hard disk, was he able to play the game acceptably and not get screwed by alt-tabbing.
    So, in short, I agree with you based on experience with "Joe six pack's" computer, and the GP is nuts.
  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @12:01PM (#21791044) Journal
    That just proves my point... you are using 32 bit drivers with a 32 bit kernel!! Having partial 64 bit support at higher levels does NOT give you a 64 bit operating system. There's something else he said in his post that you are overlooking too: He said he uses 32 bit POWER PC DRIVERS in a 64 bit INTEL Macintosh. Please show me how this works... you can't.
  • Re:Ubuntu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dionysus ( 12737 ) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @12:43PM (#21791356) Homepage
    Did you install the generic kernel or do you have the default 386 version? generic has the highmem turned on.
  • Re:That's great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:24PM (#21791626)
    I'm wondering if these funky memory addressing issues in Windows were due to it's choice of how to stop OS/2 from running 32bit Windows applications years ago. IIRC, IBM had OS/2 running 32bit Windows apps in a beta of OS/2 about a year before Windows 95 shipped but then one of the Win95 beta's broke this capability. When it was analyzed, it was found that what Microsoft did was changed the application loader so that it pulled a few app resource data structures and plopped them up at around the 1GB address space. OS/2 processes had upto 512MB of address space available to each process and with the Win32 apps poking a number of bits of code up at the high end there was no way for OS/2 to run Win32 apps without IBM changing OS/2's max process address space. IBM eventually did but didn't bother trying to run Windows applications inside of OS/2 any further.

    Now here we are with available system memory growing into the multi GB's for standard desktop/laptops and we find that Microsoft Windows applications are running into upper limit issues. Kinda sound like Microsoft could be getting hit with the results from hard-coding/forcing special data structures into places a cleanly designed OS would not run into.

    Or not.

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @02:53PM (#21792190)
    AMD and Intel both went with AMD's x86_64 architecture, back in the Pentium 4 days, before any multi-core x86 parts existed. In fact, the first multi-core x86 parts were x86_64 through and through, not any less capable of running 64-bit applications than the single core.

    I'm guessing you are confused because of the Intel Core Duo line that was prominent before Core 2 released. The Intel Core line was released after 64-bit P4s not because of inherent multi-core advantages, but because they realized how the NetBurst architecture was not working out, particularly in low TDP mandated environments like laptops (where they currently were using Pentium-M now, derived from Pentium-III). They released Core in an effort to have a more consistant offering, with lower TDP and better per-clock performance, forsaking 64-bit until Core 2 (except the Xeon family, which stuck with NetBurst until 64-bit was available via Core 2). It had nothing to do with multi-core and would have played out that exact same way if it was just single cores.
  • 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).
    Unlike printer drivers, drivers for input devices must run in kernel space. This includes drivers for assistive input devices used by people with disabilities. Some hobbyists building assistive input devices in low volumes cannot afford to pay $499 plus tax per year to VeriSign for a code signing certificate.
  • Re:That's great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by coryking ( 104614 ) * on Saturday December 22, 2007 @04:08PM (#21792662) Homepage Journal
    Wow... how many hours did you spend doing this? If it was more than a couple hours, you probably spent more billable time dicking around than just ordering another stick of ram. Once you start dicking with services, odds are good you might make things more brittle too.

    Time is money. In most cases, hardware is a lot cheaper than labor.
  • Re:That's great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by laffer1 ( 701823 ) <luke@ f o o l i s h g a m> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @07:22PM (#21793764) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft may claim that Windows can address more RAM, but not really. If you look at their KB, you'll see a list of supported motherboards that can address 4GB or more of memory. Those boards are 3 intel chipsets. I have an Intel DP965LT motherboard. I recently bought 2 new 1GB chips to bring my board to 4GB total. I had 64bit vista. The system booted extremely slow, had data corruption on disk and took out my boot loader. An older ubuntu CD allowed me to test RAM, but the 7.10 CD freaked out too. BSD worked fine.

    I would say Microsoft is not ready for 4GB+ memory configurations in consumer devices. It may work in servers, but it's not working on the desktop. Conversely, my wife upgraded her Mac from 1GB to 5GB for Leopard the same day. Her Mac Pro is working flawlessly.

    DirectX compatibility maps memory from your video card into the 32bit address space which causes problems with windows. The more RAM your video card has, the less your system can have. Further, there is a bug in Vista that double maps it for DirectX 9 support. There is a patch available for that issue. My PC had an ATI x1900 with 512MB. The system is stable with 3GB but more causes problems. If this can happen with a supported chipset, what happens on other systems?

    My motherboard claims to support 8GB of RAM. I tried several different versions of the BIOS. The Vista x64 ultimate installer doesn't even work right with 4GB in. I just decided to go back to XP Pro after that experience. The point of Vista is gone in my book.

  • Wow, that was blunt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. ... isiurc_tuo_neeb.> on Sunday December 23, 2007 @12:59AM (#21795576) Homepage Journal
    Here's an equally blunt response for you: You're wrong, 32-bit OSes can access up to 64GiB of RAM using a feature called PAE []. It's a bit of a hack and has some downsides - for example, no individual 32-bit program can access more than 4GiB, and some drivers aren't compatible with it (which is why it isn't enabled by default in client versions of Windows). However, the hardware has been capable of it since the Pentium Pro CPUs (mid 90s)

    In reference to the GP, there are typically two variants of standard Linux kernels available for a x86 system: Default (or similar) and Big, BigSMP, or similar. The SMP stands for Symmetric MultiProcessing (ability to use multiple CPUs, CPU cores, execution paths, etc.) and has been integrated into the Default kernel for some time now. The "big" kernels also support PAE. This is not in the default due, I believe, to the risk that some kernel modules such as drivers don't handle PAE correctly (the Wikipedia page also mentions that PAE-enabled kernels won't run on non-PAE-capable CPUs, though this is hardly a concern on any modern machine).

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"