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  • initialised - Thursday, February 14, 2008 - link

    After installing Vista SP1 on a Maximus/QX9650/4GB system it showed a full complement of 4GB under Vista Ultimate 32mb Reply
  • Ichinisan - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    Can we take a look at how SLI is affected by this? With two 1GB video cards, could you hit the addressing limit in XP (or two 768MB GTXs or 640MB GTSs for that matter)? I remember that you had trouble doing that. Reply
  • leexgx - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    SLI systems have the same work space as one card an 7900 GTX 512 in SLI does not turn it into an 1GB video SLI system the frame buffer is still 512mb (last time i checked as Both cards Need the same Textures as both cards render half of the video thats why its was Daft calling an 7950 GX2 with 1gb of video ram (basicy 2x7900 GT cards running off 1 PCI-E) when it can only Use 512MB of it)
  • Blacklash - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    MS was gutless and decided not to push it. Instead of trying to create demand by instilling desire, which can easily be done through effective marketing, they took the lazy "there's no demand" approach. What makes me angry is they have the money to create a hell of a marketing blitz if they so desire, and could even eaten the possible initial loss of attempting to force a move to x64 if they had to. Get a spine MS. Go for it. Reply
  • MadAd - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    of course they didnt push it. The natural time to swap to x64 was the recent vista launch, but A. Intel were still playing catchup with x64 on c2d and B. After all that time in development they had to get some return, so they fobbed us off with the x32 as the mainstream product, which is really at the end of its life now.

    So what next? Well M$ know damn well that half the rest of the world are waiting for SP1 before touching vista with a bargepole so that'll be hurried out the door and dressed up in more BS marketing..and then what?

    Filling the marketing void between SP1 and whatever next will be the 'transition to 64' era. Yes yes lots of chubbly money to be made giving people what they want, not when they need it like now, but when its best to make the most money from it.
  • BikeDude - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    They recently announced that Windows Server 2008 is the last server product to support 32-bit CPUs. It is not known at this time if the next client version of Windows will also drop 32-bit CPUs.

    But the writing is on the wall. Sort of.

    However... A lot of users will not benefit from a 64-bit OS, but can still use 32-bit Vista just fine. Many will see the increased memory usage of 64-bit Vista as a problem (despite the cheap memory prices) performance-wise. For the vast majority of users, it makes little sense. Some of them may even be using some 16-bit Windows software for all we know... Why force them into problems they don't need? 32-bit Vista is a great stepping stone to 64-bit Vista. There is a choice, and I think most of us needs it.

    If you look at the forums (and the article we are commenting), many punters advocate sticking with 32-bit Vista for the foreseeable future. It is a cowardly stance in my opinion, but they present some valid concerns.
  • poohbear - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    very informative article! dont mean to be nit picky, but u guys use words in some wierd contexts: a program taking "sovereign control" of memory? "assumingly"? lol interesting usage. cheers for a great article nonetheless! Reply
  • Tristesse27 - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    Ryan, with all respect, you seriously need to learn how to use commas. Reply
  • Larso - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    As long as you are running 32 bit, with 32 bit addressing, the ultimate barrier will always be 4 GB. So isn't this 2 GB barrier problem a bit acedemic, as we are only one bit short of spending all 32 bits of addressing anyways? We are already hitting the roof and a factor of two is not significant in the long run.

    But hitting roofs seems to make people paranoid, which is understandable with the otherwise unlimited resources of a modern PC. But everybody seems to have forgotten how it was in the old days. How hardware limitations forced developers to be creative and ingenious with great results. You don't see that today, it seems more like developers are acting like spoiled kids.

    Perhaps its healthy to face a hard resource limitation again, so developers will be forced to make efficient use of the resources. Its not that 2 GB is a tiny amount of memory, it's actually a huge amount. And when there is a justified case for using more, there is always 64-bit.
  • MadBoris - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link


    Perhaps its healthy to face a hard resource limitation again, so developers will be forced to make efficient use of the resources. Its not that 2 GB is a tiny amount of memory, it's actually a huge amount. And when there is a justified case for using more, there is always 64-bit.

    It's by no means huge for games, which have always pushed hardware to it's fullest.

    The problem is that those that set the limits, are the most guilty of waste (MS). Try using managed .NET and see RAM usage climb exorbitantly in applications. Vista itself claims extensive amounts of RAM as applications open up on the PC (w/ superfetch off). Also Vista uses more CPU cycles compared to XP for a game (maybe only certain games, maybe not). I also didn't ask MS to commit 20+- percent of a CPU core to sound as they think I should do now in Vista w/ software.

    As we get more hardware resources MS is right there to "waste" it, not really using it efficiently or gaining performance from more HW resources, which should be the obvious result. Cutting out hardware sound best suited their needs (I really think it had more to do with pushing xact and moving devs to 360 consoles). Furthermore, tighter control on GPU makers with restricted WDDM helped their needs with a prettier desktop to compete with MAC (maybe wddm2 will bring more to the table). DX10+ API's also now further limit the individual 3D features that GPU companies can expose in their hardware, they have to have the API support first to expose features and WDDM support to expose how resources are managed.

    I'm not into MS bashing or conspiracy theories, but their comes a point that "Sovereign" control becomes better for the king and worse for the people, it inhibits creativity. Maybe it will take an "upheavel" but that sure won't come from any outspoken hardware MFR's or IHV's because they have to maintain best relations, regardless how poorly and yet dominantly, MS steers the ship.

    Devs will have to become smarter with resources, but as this article clearly shows, that needs to begin with Microsoft first, they are most guilty in the OS and dev languages and runtimes. So I am not exactly filled with confidence when they remove hardware sound and take tighter control of the future of 3D features with their API support and hardware functionality with their driver models.

    It's not an MS rant, but if MS is going to take tighter control of all the reins, and everyone else has to adapt to them, then they should be the ones to answer for things. Since they made it their responsibility, they should be held accountable not the companies like Creative and Nvidia that have to struggle with the difficulty of adapting to the stringent choices MS makes (for their competitive reasons).
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    You're right in that the 2GB barrier seems academic when we have the 4GB limit right above that, but in practice it's not. All 3 of the major games we listed run just fine with 2GB of RAM, yet all of them were prone to crashing due to running out of virtual address space(especially under Vista) which means that the real problem is the 2GB barrier and not the 4GB limit. In other words developers don't have another 2 years to put off worrying about some "way off in the future" problem, they must start doing so today.

    You're probably right in that we're going to see some developers tighten up their code in the face of the 2GB barrier. I fear we may also see them simply stop raising the bar altogether, and turn the PC in to some twisted static console.
  • leexgx - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    i beleve windows only alowes 2gb (+2gb virtual) in 32bit mode (even if the OS is 64 bit if the program is 32bit windows 64 uses the same rules as 32bit os for compatiblity so its stuck with 2gb realy untill programs become native 64bit but thats an long time before that ever happens 5-8 years maybe) Reply
  • bsteff - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    I will NEVER use any form of Vista because I am unalterably opposed to the DRM and the insulting philosophy behind it. As a Physician who uses a Windows XP machine to view critical patient images, I cannot tolerate the "tilt bits" and degradation that Vista will cause. Maybe one day Microsoft will get this DRM right but it usually takes them at least 3 tries and neither I nor my patients can take that chance! (automatic image degradation, processing slowdown, etc.if DRM violation is suspected by Vista) The memory problem is the last straw as it is obvious that MS wants to use the flaws in XP 64 bit to drive users into Vista (and give MS control of their own machines) For me the only way to go is Linux/Unix. What MS does is irrelevant. I am pressing our imaging software suppliers to develop for Linux and get rid of the entire MS problem in one fell swoop. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    Uh . . . O-K . . . What does that have to do with the article at hand ? No one is forcing you to use any form of Windows, and I wish you *NIX Zealots would resist 'sharing' your oposition to anything MS related, or at least stay where people may listen or believe you (slash dot ring a bell ?).

    Anyone who uses Windows has most likely already passed by the hurdles those of you who are opposed to using Windows have not. We really, REALLY, do not wish to 'share' in your misery . . . Next thing you know, you'll be telling us that MS is forcing you to use Windows, because application developers do not write their code for anything else . . .

    You named only one reason why you would switch from Windows to Linux. I can name you 10's if not 100's of reasons why I would never switch over to Linux 100%. Driver suppport, Intuitive user interface, the OSS development model just to name three.

    Now, ask me what I have just posted has to do with this article . . .
  • smegz68 - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    Not only are games hamstringed by Vista. I have issues when working with large meshes and complex characters in apps like Carrara, Poser 7 and Bryce 6. Poser won't even let me load new models without locking up. When I look at the task manager, physical memory is usually maxed out at 2G or very close. The pagefile size is also right there at the 2G mark. Even running them in compatibility mode doesn't help. Thank god I still have a fast XP system I can do that work on. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    I don't know those applications inside & outside, but I believe the answer is no. This is a fix relating to address space consumption due to video RAM usage, those applications aren't GPU accelerated in any way as far as I know. Reply
  • CZroe - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    I'd still would like to see address space assignments in a system running SLi vs. one without. If address space usage can be effectively doubled in this configuration, it could make it significantly easier to hit this limit even with the patch. Reply
  • leexgx - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    SLI systems have the same work space as one card an 7900 GTX 512 in SLI does not turn it into an 1GB video SLI system the frame buffer is still 512mb (last time i checked as Both cards Need the same Textures as both cards render half of the video thats why its was Daft calling an 7950 GX2 with 1gb of video ram when it can only Use 512MB of it) Reply
  • BikeDude - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    I think you are slightly wrong.

    I suspect the cards won't automatically be addressed as one (and have identical memory contents). The driver will be responsible to transfer textures to both of them, thus they will both need to be mapped into the system memory space. I.e. if you have a 4GB system memory, 32-bit Windows will forget about 2x512MB memory (given two 512MB cards) instead of just 512MB. I read one magazine that claimed they lost more system memory in a SLI system than just a regular one card system (with two 768MB cards, they were left with 2.2GB system memory).

    The processes themselves will likely be unaffected, and as you say the video memory mapped into them will remain 512MB in size. (given a single card or two SLI cards w/512MB memory)

    I hope more people will move to 64-bit Windows and return any hardware that doesn't offer full 64-bit support. Anything else is ridiculous at this point.
  • leexgx - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    ok the part about adress space on windows 32 with an 8800 768mb SLI, only seeing 2.2gb system ram is the driver with kernel space

    what your saying is lost to kernel not used system ram just in this case the other half of the ram is not been used for any thing but kernel drivers (this does not happen in 64bit mode)

    SLI cards max frame buffer is the size of one card Both cards need the texture data on both cards as both of them do half load rendering

    if the cards are Not in SLI mode then yes both cards have inderpendent frame buffers

    if any one has any hard info on this it be nice to know but i am quite sure i am right (i am not braging just from when i got my 7950GX2 as alot of reviews Pointed that out that its not 1gb card its 2x512mb in SLI so max textures before ram use is 512mb)
  • johnsonx - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    While Vista may be worse than XP in regards to how much of the user address space it uses for the same app, isn't it better in that it's safer to increase user address space to 2.6Gb on Vista than it is to use the /3Gb switch in XP? As long as the developers of big game apps make them large memory aware, then won't Vista provide a net benefit? (ie the same app under Vista will allocate a 10-20% larger chunk of the 30% larger address space vs. XP).
    Of course this requires fiddling in the Registry to enable the 2.6Gb allocation; perhaps MS could add something to SP1 to smooth this process, or maybe even make it default if it can be determined to be safe enough for mass use?
  • Chadder007 - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    Does anyone know why its hard to get X64 still on PCs from the likes of Dell/HP/Lenovo still? I know that HP offers Ultimate x64 at least on some of their consumer PCs but not basic or premium. Reply
  • johnsonx - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    simple: support headaches. Too much stuff still isn't 64-bit compatible. They just don't want the hassle of all the extra calls to support, and the angry customers who are told they have no recourse but to purchase a retail copy of 32-bit windows.
  • johnsonx - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    and I can't blame them either.
  • ikjadoon - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    BF2 literally CTD's with this issue.

    I've heard claims that with this you cannot use unsigned drivers with these hotfixes, can Anandtech confirm that for us? Many of us using Vista are using Beta (aka unsigned) drivers because WHQL versions are few and far between. Thank you!

  • Ryan Smith - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    All of the games we used also can crash due to the issue(and much more frequently than BF2).

    As for this hotfix, it does not stop using unsigned drivers. I have heard however that one of the other subpacks for SP1 does break this under x64.
  • MadBoris - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    Thanks Ryan for showing the before and after effects of the patch. It is clear Vista still has it's overhead unfortunately. Even if a game avoids hitting the 2GB wall by thorough testing and optimization (in a fixed footprint game unlike SupCom), the problem is all developers are being handicapped by RAM for PC now. We have the GPU and CPU power to render more and handle more, but memory size is a restraint to overall game design now for certain genres. Even though console games won't be very effected by PC ports, but standalone PC games that could really address more memory in a couple years won't be able to. As for now 2GB RAM is the current sweet spot for a gaming rig, but it's a slippery slope as we get close to the ceiling.

    I'm all for the 64 bit solution, as it is the only viable one. It really needs to become more mandatory that applications and games start doing proper x64 versions, some good apps still lack support. I fear the "strong encouragement" from MS isn't enough, maybe new tools they can come down with Visual Studio could make it easier for devs to verify code and do a proper 64 bit build.

    Also, I think Microsoft should do a special promotion where users can buy a 64 bit Vista upgrade if you own 32 bit. 1/4 the price or better will make the transition easier and more inviting to Vista 32 users. I think MS would make plenty of money because more people would take the leap, and at the same time help the market adoption to 64 bit. Without MS making it an easy transition price wise for platform saturation, it also won't happen. As it is, 64 bit support is growing very quickly over the last 6 months by developers, it's promising but we need a 32 bit cutoff by MS I fear, maybe with the next OS would be a good time.
  • BikeDude - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    No, 2GB is no longer the sweet spot for a gaming rig. One year ago -- sure.

    Even though your game will at most utilize 2GB memory, there is still a need for the OS to cache stuff, and you might have other applications running in the background. Nothing is sweeter than having BF2 not touch your hard drive after a while... (I've had 4GB memory for two+ years now)

    Given how cheap memory is now, 3GB or 4GB is closer to the sweet spot.
  • leexgx - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    vista norm running you should have 2gb at least or pc mite be an little slow with 1gb with just running norm programs like norton and 1 copy of internet explore + msn printer and so on can realy lag the pc out (gameing on 1gb ram can be an drag but if the game settings are low any way mite not matter)

    gamers on vista should aim for 3gb min
    for later on maybe just buying 4x1gb or 2x2gb ram be better so all the ram is the same and you can get 64bit windows later on or Now (seems to be working fine for me but some games perform not so well game is jumping when FPS is high)

  • Shawn - Thursday, August 16, 2007 - link

    You can switch from Vista 32bit to Vista 64bit by just using the 64bit installation dvd. You can use your same key. You don't need to re-buy Vista. Reply
  • MadBoris - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    bah no edit function...correction...

    "the problem is all developers are being handicapped by RAM for PC now."

    ...handicapped by the 2GB memory ceiling for PC now. (handicapped in development)
  • stash - Monday, August 13, 2007 - link

    Calling PSS for hotfixes is no longer required. You can request hotfixes through the web.">
  • Rebel44 - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    Direct link to hotfix download"> - its password protected (password: {8ly8YX2 is valid untill 8.17.07) Reply
  • leexgx - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    password must change offen link">

    has both files to x86 and x64 (useing the 64 one now)

    uses with cards that are less then 512mb (e.g. 256mb) are likey to be less affected or not affected at all as most games would be unplayable on Very high detail settings on them type of games so running out of ram probly not happen on lower end cards
  • n0nsense - Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - link

    stay with "quality" buggy products of MS and you will experience much more :)
    Linux (and all xNIX OSes including Mac OS X) moved to native 64 bit few years ago. I'm personally use Gentoo x64 since my upgrade to C2D (more then year) and i didn't felt the transfer. Almost every software available as native 64 (including commercial soft like Nero). and what is not, working seamless (even 32bit drivers on 64bit system).
    for people that does not have 64 bit hardware, there is a kernel (OS) support for 64GB of RAM. and first 4GB can be shared between system and user spaces as 1/3 GB (respectively) 2/2GB and 3/1GB. this can solve the issue for microsoft, but it seems they are too greedy to solve the problems for what you already have paid, they will force you to pay for something else with different problems ;)
    this is not anti MS or pro xNIX post, the suggestion for solution is inside.

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