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Maximum RAM on Windows 7 and Windows 8

The easiest and most affordable way to make your computer run faster is to add more DRAM (Dynamic Random-Access Memory). But there is a limit to the amount of Dynamic RAM you can add to a Windows-based PC. So, how much DRAM can you use on the Windows 7 or on the Windows 8 operating systems?

The maximum amount of DRAM that the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Home Basic OS can read is 4GB. The 64-bit version of Windows 7 can read up to 192GB DRAM. 

The maximum limit of DRAM on the 32-bit version of Windows 8 is also 4GB while the 64-bit version can handle up to 512GB of dynamic random-access memory.

Here are the physical memory limits for Windows 7 and Windows 8:

Version Limit on X86 Limit on X64
Windows 7 Ultimate 4 GB 192 GB
Windows 7 Enterprise 4 GB 192 GB
Windows 7 Professional 4 GB 192 GB
Windows 7 Home Premium 4 GB 16 GB
Windows 7 Home Basic 4 GB 8 GB
Windows 7 Starter 2 GB N/A
Windows 8 Enterprise 4 GB 512 GB
Windows 8 Professional 4 GB 512 GB
Windows 8 4 GB 128 GB

Please note that X86 is the 32-bit system. For more info on memory and address limits, see the Microsoft memory site. That page also explains how graphics cards and other devices affect memory limits:

Devices have to map their memory below 4 GB for compatibility with non-PAE-aware Windows releases. Therefore, if the system has 4GB of RAM, some of it is either disabled or is remapped above 4GB by the BIOS. If the memory is remapped, X64 Windows can use this memory. X86 client versions of Windows don’t support physical memory above the 4GB mark, so they can’t access these remapped regions. Any X64 Windows or X86 Server release can.

X86 client versions with PAE enabled do have a usable 37-bit (128 GB) physical address space. The limit that these versions impose is the highest permitted physical RAM address, not the size of the IO space. That means PAE-aware drivers can actually use physical space above 4 GB if they want. For example, drivers could map the “lost” memory regions located above 4 GB and expose this memory as a RAM disk.

Even faster computer

Adding DRAM is the easy go-faster option but you should also consider getting the new Windows 8 operating system. Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 and it boots much faster too.

Gamers and heavy computer users have necessarily been running 64-bit systems (instead of 32-bit systems) but if you’re a home user planning to do some advanced picture or video editing, you should also consider upgrading to the 64-bit Windows 8 platform.

Another way to make your PC faster still is to replace your HDD (hard disc drive) with a SSD (Solid State Drive). Typically, the read/write seek time on a HDD is anything from 2.9 ms to 12 ms while that of a SSD is a mere 0.1 ms (milliseconds).

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