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Memory Limits for Win95/98?

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I have been doing some digging around about the memory limits for Windows 95. There is still some debate about this, because apparently there are software solutions to break the 512Mb ‘crash’ barrier.

Has anyone tried these rather redundant RAM performance enhancing programs in Win95? I say redundant, because I have found in my testing that while enormous RAM is a huge boost for a system, it is by no means an elixir for mega-multitasking as though your PC was downtown Beijing. I’ll explain my discovery below.

First of all, I have 256Mb in both my 3.11 and Win95 machines. In the 3.11, it is simple – 64mb and that’s it as far as physical goes. Now it might be different for other people because I have an i430TX in that one. However, it seemingly can provide an 8Mb RAM drive, without cost to its allowable physical memory – perhaps more. Eventually, if you go overboard with the RAM drive, it suddenly think it’s a disk partition – at least with XMSDSK it does.

That said, can a Windows 95 system over the safe RAM limit of 512Mb simply be reduced by the use of a RAM drive? Or does the allocation rule still hold?

Not that it matters, but I am interested. Like I say, system resources rely on RAM greatly, but there is more to it. Although my Win95 flies on 256Mb with disk activity practically non-existant after a just a few program opens, like 3.11 can too, the resources eventually fall faster when you to try to open too many memory intense programs. It surprises me how easy it is to accomplish this. Something else besides RAM must come into play with system resources – what is the cause of the sharp decline in resources after you cross certain line? It certainly can’t be RAM – because you still have lots!

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1 Answer

  1. Generally, 512MB is said to be the limit for Win95/98…the limit is actually 2GB. But before you can install that much, you have to edit the vcache setting in the system.ini file.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/181594

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q25…

    Another thing to consider is the amount of RAM that’s cached by the motherboard chipset. For example, the i430TX chipset that you mentioned only caches 64MB. If more than 64MB is installed, Windows will automatically go to the uncached RAM 1st & that *may* reduce performance. Cached RAM is ALWAYS faster than reading directly off the RAM stick so it’s generally adviseable to stay within the cache limit. The exception to that is if you know you will regularly run software that requires more than 64MB. In that case, exceeding the cache limit & having Windows read directly off the RAM is preferrable to staying within the 64MB limit & having Windows use the much slower virtual memory on the HDD to make up the difference.

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