Win98/ME systems can only have 512MB RAM MAX?

BadThad

Lifer
Feb 22, 2000
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I found this hard to believe, but apparently it's true.
512MB Limit

I few months ago, I did some research and posted some threads around the internet. The conclusion was that Win98/ME could support up to 2 gig of RAM. Has anyone here tried more than 512MB RAM using 98/ME? I need more evidence!

[edit]To clear a few things up. My main PC at home has 512MB of PC133 on win98SE. It has at most crashed 3 times in 9 months of heavy use (no kidding) and I attribute that to my fiddling with the system. I have built better than 40 PC's with at least 256MB RAM, none of my users experience frequent, unexplained "crashes".[/edit]
 

Shadow07

Golden Member
Oct 3, 2000
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Here is a questoin for you. Why would anyone in their right mind want to put anything more than 128MB in a Windows 9x machine? Windows 9x was never ment to handle that much RAM. The memory manager in the 9x kernel sucks. It fails and causes machines to crash. I have seen machines with 256MB of RAM (or even 128MB of RAM) run Windows 9x, then take the same machine and run Windows NT or 2000 and out perform the 9x code. If you are going to put alot of memory in your machine, do not use 9x. Use Windows 2000. By far, it can handle more memory and more efficiantly.:cool:
 

BCYL

Diamond Member
Jun 7, 2000
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I thought the win9x kernel only uses 128 RAM max? I thought I read somewhere before that the win9x kernel only uses 128MB of memory... Even though you can put in more, they are all left unused by the OS...

Can someone verify this? Or have I been mislead all this time?
 

Shadow07

Golden Member
Oct 3, 2000
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Yes, this is true. The OS really cannot handle anything more than 128MB without a severe performance decrease. This is why I say you should use NT or 2000 for systems that have large amounts of memory.

If you do have a Windows 9x machine, you should put in no more than 128MB of system RAM. The BIOS can handle large amounts of RAM (I think on most boards is 2GB), but the OS will GPF and crash with large amounts of RAM.

To prove my point, I have a friend who did not know much about computers, but supported a small network. He had 15 Windows 9x machines that had 256MB of RAM in every system. He thought that with more memory, the more applications the users could use at one time. This make sense, but these machines are Windows 9x machines. Users computers would GPF and crash. He asked me for assistance, and I told him to take out 128MB from a few machines. By golly, the problems went away (or were reduced considerably).
 

LongTimePCUser

Senior member
Jul 1, 2000
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I am running Windows ME with 256 MB ram. It works very well.

I had been running Win98SE. When I went from 128 MB to 256 MB everything seemed to work a little bit faster.
 

doug

Senior member
Oct 18, 1999
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Also watch out adding too much memory to Socket7 boards. Since Win 95 (and presumably win 98/winME) allocate memory from the top down if you put in too much memory you might be getting outside the cached area.

For example on my Tyan S1590S the 1MB of L2 cache can cache 256MB of RAM.
If I put in the maximum of 384MB of RAM on the board then Windows will start using the 128MB of RAM that isn't cached and will decrease performance.
 

Cozmo85

Banned
Oct 9, 1999
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Its not a limit of the operating system, its a limit of the chipsets, alot of people would say win9x couldnt use more then 64mb at at ime, this is actually an issue wtih the older socket7 motherboards.
 

BadThad

Lifer
Feb 22, 2000
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Cozmo85 - Spot on Dude! I argued with a fellow computer geek for an hour about this, that 64MB limit is for CACHED ram due to the chipset and NOT the OS.

Doug - Correct ALSO!
 

Zach

Diamond Member
Oct 11, 1999
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According to the article you can just hard set the vache settings anyway, and there is another thread on this in here also..
 

1KrazyFool

Senior member
Oct 10, 1999
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Jesus, what a bunch of FUD!

Windows 98 can handle at least 320 MB of RAM. I know this personally, and I never got GPF from running that much RAM. Hell, I ran 256 MB for the longest time under 98 with absolutely no problems. I just played some games under 98 with 288 MB. Wow, no GPF for me. Gimme a break.
 

emjem

Golden Member
Apr 7, 2000
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Right on 1KrazyFool, I may not be "in my right mind" but I have been running 256meg with WinME for months without any problems. IMO if a system crashes with more than 128meg (but less than 1 gig) of ram the system is mucked up in some other way -- incorrect ram timing, bad/cheap ram, and so on.

Further, I could actually see the improvement in my system when I went from 128 to 256. As it is now my hard drive rarely runs, so I don't think more ram would do much of anything for my system -- but 256 is sweet.

As for using Win 2000, bah humbug. It may be fast but you spend half your life looking for drivers, and posting to this forum for solutions. Nice hobby buy not quite ready for prime time.
 

BCYL

Diamond Member
Jun 7, 2000
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Actually emjem, I have been running win2k for almost half a year now, and I never had a single problem with the OS... If you do proper research beforehand, you dont have to "spend half your life looking for drivers, and posting to this forum for solutions."
 

Shadow07

Golden Member
Oct 3, 2000
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I agree with BCYL. If you do some pre-checking on Windows 2000 issues, then you would not spend an hour or so on the boards looking for answers. Using Windows 2000 does not take a genius to work with it. I also agree that some issues with the amount of RAM in the system is not that of the OS, but that of the type of RAM and the mobo you have. But, most issues that I have come across with win9x and RAM larger than that of 128MB, I have seen severe performance decrease. Most of the RAM I have put in are either Kingston or Toshiba RAM. Nothing else. Also, most of the machines are either Compaq or HP (corporate machines, not the home user brand) and grey bozes with Abit and Asus boards.

Just from my personal experience, I would not put in more than 128MB of RAM in a Win9x machine (and that goes for ME). I do not like the memory manager with the 9x kernel.
 

emjem

Golden Member
Apr 7, 2000
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Well Shadow, looking at your posts on this forum I must say that I respect your technical networking os knowledge. But I'm thinking maybe you're a little off norm on this ram issue since thousands of us are successfully using more than 128 meg of ram in w9x systems.

I have seen badthad's system performance results with 512 meg of ram and I'm sold. No doubt he is searching for some tweaking to make it faster yet.

I'm convinced that 256 meg of ram works for me since I ran tests with 128 and 256. And my system is equally stable with both.

It's easy enough for anyone to test the performance benefits of increased ram with Windows magazine's free WinTune ap. So there is little need to guess and or "feel" what's going on between 128 and 256 meg.

Anyway it's mostly mental masterbation. People with quality systems (like badthad)will seek to push their ram up to max system performance, while most folks with Compaq, HP and Cow computers aren't going to worry about it a whole lot.

Relative to w2k I suspect that it is a great networking os. But I found something to agree with you on: Don't use what you don't like. Goes right along with: Don't fix it if it ain't broke.

Well, I don't like spending my limited time researching/learning a new os for my small pc network. And WinME ain't broke so I ain't "fixing" it with w2k. I give the very same advice to my clients, and others reading these posts.

With that I now officially apolagize to you badthad for stepping on your thread. I promise not to do again (well today anyway, lol).
 

Shadow07

Golden Member
Oct 3, 2000
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EMJEM, ok. You make some good points, but I am not here to change anyone from what they are already doing. I am only stating what I have experienced before. Whenever I see a Win9x machine GPF'ing all of the time, or even BSOD, I emmediately look at how much RAM and what type of RAM is installed. Windows 9x does not have the robust memory manager that Windows 2000 uses (or even NT4 for that matter). Albeit that Windows 2000 is a mem hog, I would still use it over Windows 9x any day of the week. I upgraded my machine from Windows 98SE over 1 year ago to RC2 and RC3 of Windows 2000 and have never looked back. Now, I cannot say that anyone else would have the exact experience as me.

Here is another little saying, "There is always an exception to every rule." I have never experienced a Win9x machine behave properly with anything more than 128MB of RAM. Even with that amount of RAM installed, I have seen machines run worse than that of 64MB or even 96MB installed. I am happy for you that you have machines that run quite well with 256MB of RAM, but I have never seen one in action.

Post back what hardware you have installed including the type of mem installed. I am curious to see what you have compared to what I have used and seen installed at other clients sites.

And another thing. I have to harp on you about your comment of Win2k not being ready for prime time. I strongly disagree. Both of my personal Windows 2000 machines and all of my work machines run practically flawlessly. I would recommend Windows 2000 any time for almost any install.
 

LongTimePCUser

Senior member
Jul 1, 2000
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Some mother boards have a problem with 2 sticks of memory from different manufacturers.

When I added a second 128 MB stick, from a different manufacturer, to my mother board I started to get GPFs in Win98SE. When I replaced the second 128 MB stick with one from the same manufacturer as the first stick, the problems went away.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I currently have 256 MB running stable under WinME.
 

BadThad

Lifer
Feb 22, 2000
12,080
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Well...my next 0.02 worth.;)

I have built well over 100 PC's and worked as a tech on a few hundred more. I have yet to see a PC perform better with 64MB ram than with 128MB under ANY OS.

emjem - Thanks for the post, you know what results I've been getting and they've been great with increasing ram. Based on what I've read and worked with (I have 2kAS on my home server), Win2k is the best version of windows yet. However, for consumer PC's Win98/ME is still the best option, especially with respect to price. :) Until 2k takes over after ME dies, the hardware/software support for the 9x OSes just can't be beat.

Well, this thread has certainly deviated...LOL. I'm still searching for the geek out there running greater than 512MB under the 9x kernel!!:D
 

JackBurton

Lifer
Jul 18, 2000
15,993
14
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Hey, I've got 98SE running with 384MB of KingMax PC150 on my Abit BF6 board. Looking good so far. ;) As far as speed you really can't tell that big of a difference between 128 and 384 doing regular things. But let me tell you, if you ever played UT you'd kiss every bit of memory installed on your machine. With 128MB of ram the game runs great but that damn load time (when you first lauch UT) takes forever, even on the second go around. Now with 384MB of ram, UT loads in 3 seconds the second time I launch it. ;) How is that for an improvement! :) This is especially helpful when you are doing mods and are constantly closing and starting UT. However, I used to have 256MB of ram is this machine too, and to be honest, I couldn't see a difference between 256 and 384 on 98SE. I think 256MB on a 9x/ME system should be the max installed because anything above that is just not being used. I just like being ready, just incase it does need more. ;)

Oh, and having 512MB on my server is nice too but that is running 2000 Advanced Server. ;)

 

EvilDonnyboy

Banned
Jul 28, 2000
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I believe it was some earlier versions f win95 that couldn't handle large amounts of ram, along with that 8gb per partition limit.

98 and Me should run fine with 256mb of ram. It should run fine up to 768mb, where it may have problems handling all that ram.
 

1KrazyFool

Senior member
Oct 10, 1999
323
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<< I believe it was some earlier versions f win95 that couldn't handle large amounts of ram, along with that 8gb per partition limit. >>



This is not true also. The problem was with some chipsets out at the time that wouldn't cache RAM above 64 MB. Since Win9x loads from the top of the memory pool downwards, The OS was loaded into areas above 64 MB, ie non-cached areas. This lead to poorer performance overall, despite more RAM. This was a limitation of hardware, not OS.

The 8GB drive problem was also a limitation of the computer, not the OS. Some BIOS' couldn't read above the 8GB mark, thus newer drives that were bigger than 8GB had to have drive overlay software installed. Win95 orginally came with FAT16, which had a max parition size of 2GB.
 

emjem

Golden Member
Apr 7, 2000
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For Shadow:

Asus p3v4x with PIII600E OCd to 800
Micron pc100 ram scarfed from a Compaq pc
1 stick 128, 2 sticks 64
Bios says cas2, but I run it at cas3 since there is little performance difference and cas2 setting is a wee bit less stable. Also, this ram will run at 133fsb with a wee bit of instability so I run it at 100.
CL Annihilator2 w/32meg ddr
Two Maxtor 20gig 7200 hdds
Toshiba 24x cdrom
Yamaha 8424EZ burner
WinME current with all updates

pc 2 running with 256meg:
Abit BH6 with cel 300a OCd to 450 (100fsb)
&quot;old&quot; (early pc100 generation) Micron pc100 ram
4 sticks of 64
Diamond Viper TNT 8meg ram
WinFE current with all updates
Old WDC 5400 hard drives, Goldstar 24x

Maybe one gpf a month (8 to 10hours/day usage) per pc, usually brought on by a rogue Java ap.

I have very low regard for corporate packaged boxes (Compaq, HP, IBM and Cows), and thus was not surprised to hear your comments about ram problems with these type boxes.



 

Priit

Golden Member
Nov 2, 2000
1,337
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Little more about memory management: 64Mb is also a limit for Dos, cause himem.sys (if I remember correctly) can't allocate any more memory. Only Intel's S7 chipset that was able to cache more than 64Mb RAM, was HX (also depended what kind of L2 you had). TX, what came after HX, brought 64Mb limit back, cause Intel was pushing Slot1 by then and wanted S7 platvorm to be dead. VIA-s and ALi-s older chipset were theoreticaly mostly able to cache up to 512-1024Mb, but with 512Kb L2 cache that limit was 128Mb (with 1Mb L2 that was 256Mb and with 2Mb L2 you can use up to 512Mb cached memory).When using SS7 processor with on-die L2 cache (K6-2+/III/III+), full 4Gb RAM could be cached, even if MB has only 256Kb L2(L3) cache. Intel P2/LX chipset had cacheable memory limit on 512Mb. Hope this makes some memory FUD bit clearer...
 

Vbguy

Junior Member
Nov 29, 2000
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I have had 512MB in my Win 98SE and Win ME system for about a year now and NEVER and believe me (sometimes I can't believe it either)ever had a GPF or BSOD. I read stuff about how much problems people have with their machines and wonder what they are doing to their PCs. I run Photoshop, Lotus Notes, Client Access, Access 97, and just about every other game (Unreal Tournament, Quake III, Sims, etc..) so I think I'm pushing the machine pretty hard. I haven't had problems with my PC. (knock on wood)
 

Shadow07

Golden Member
Oct 3, 2000
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Most of the corporate machines do not come close to the performace you or I could with a custom built machine. But the scenario that I stated before, they bought machines from a local reseller that were all grey boxes. They were using the Asus BX chipset and Toshiba memory. All of the machines had 256MB or more and they would crash 3 to 4 times A DAY. Like I said, I told him to take out the additional memory, only leaving 128MB in, and the crashes vanished. I checked out the boxes myself and found no settings that were incorrect.

I am going to reiterrate what I said earlier. Not everyone will experience what I or anyone else has, and they may in fact differ in what they have running. If it is working, fine. But I can only say what I have delt with in the past.;)
 

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