Will PAE turn on with 3gb of RAM?

March 2, 2009 at 12:33:07
Specs: Windows server 2003 enterprise, -
I'm useless with these 64bit address things. I know 32bit OS has some sort of limit of something like 3.5gb of RAM, so I'm guessing if I have only 3GB installed in my system it won't turn on the physical address extension thing? Or will it?

I ask because pae seems to be causing my sound drivers to create horrible annoying crackling and sound distortion issues, and auzentech merely stated when I informed them of the problem that they'd been told by creative the distortion issues with a system that has 4gb of ram installed had been fixed.

... Well obviously they haven't been fixed but tell that to creative. Useless b---tards.

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March 2, 2009 at 13:11:04
From what I understand, PAE is only used for 'over' 4gb.

But anyway, 3gb is usually more than enough RAM for the normal home user. More memory does not automatically speed up a system. It only helps if you don't have enough for your normal mix of applications.

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March 2, 2009 at 14:40:54
You are running xp which is a workstation OS. PAE is for servers and systems with more than 4gig of ram.

64bit does not use PAE. XP64 can address 128gig of memory out of the box.

Your bios has to support PAE.

XP can address the 3.5-4gig or ram in your system with no switches required.

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March 2, 2009 at 17:22:26
I use photoshop a lot so I thought it would be handy to have but the sound distortion is proving too annoying to live with. Also, PAE seems to make hibernation impssible - I always prefered hibernate over standby but found I couldn't use it anymore after I put 4gb of ram in the system.

I only assume the sound problem is to do with PAE though because my system properties state it is active (and before when I only had 2gb it wasn't mentioned at all - and when I had 2gb of ram I never had any sound issues).

I just don't know if I can be bothered to pull out a bunch of hardware to access the ram only to find it didn't work (stop the sound distortion). In either case for some reason PAE is switched on, specifically with 4gigs. It isn't switched on all the time either - its like how xp prior to sp2 couldn't handle HDD's over 130gb, you had to enable the 42bit address thing or something until it was switched on by default by sp2. I'm guessing PAE is also a switch that is either on or off depending on how much ram you have (yea, you only need it when you have more than 4gigs, but I suppose its, 4gb and over with windows since it definitly says PAE under the system properties... I'll yank a stick of memory on the morrow and see if my sound problems bugger off.

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March 5, 2009 at 03:10:35
It seemingly worked.

Before I did anything else I pulled out a stick of 1gb of RAM leaving me with just 3gb installed. The distortion issues vanished.

I read up a bit on PAE though, it might be of interest to some people; but on all 32bit Windows OS's above Windows 2000, PAE is turned on by default when DEP is switched on (Data Execution prevention). I didn't realise that. it means that PAE was on even when I had only 2gb of RAM, I obviously just never noticed it (because in server 2003 DEP defaults to being switched on).

It would appear however that sound distortion only occurs when 4gb of RAM is installed and PAE is switched on. PAE can be switched off, normally you use the /NOPAE switch in the boot.ini. I tried this but it didn't seem to work; that was until I found out that in Windows Server 2003 (SP1 or above), PAE is essentially "stuck" on until DEP is switched off, unlike other Windows versions putting NOPAE in the boot.ini won't turn it off when DEP is on. Must be some kind of dependency between the two on Server 2003.

I never really use DEP - and it only ever seemed to cause a couple of games I have to stop working, so I figured I'd turn it off using the /execute command, then put in /NOPAE. This worked. I plugged the 1gb of RAM back into my system. Now under system properties it reads me as only having 3.25gb of RAM but, I kind of expected this anyway.

However, it would seem after a bit of testing, that the sound distortion has still not reared its ugly head. Not only that but now Hibernate has reappeared in the power options control panel.

Happy days.

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