3 GB Boot.ini Switch With XP Home ?

Started Apr 24, 2007 | Discussions
kseidman
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3 GB Boot.ini Switch With XP Home ?
Apr 24, 2007

Does anyone have experience or know if the 3GB switch is supported by XP Home Edition?

This switch can be used with XP Pro to allocate 3 GB of RAM to Photoshop. I am thinking of upgrading to a total of 4 GB of RAM on my Dell Dimension 8400 but I don't want to waste the money on RAM if XP Home will not support this switch.

mdmsam
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Re: 3 GB Boot.ini Switch With XP Home ?
In reply to kseidman, Apr 25, 2007

I don't know if it works with XP Home, but here is an article on using Userva switch also, which helps drivers to load correctly if you have 3GB switch on.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/316739/EN-US/

I have 4GB RAM and XP Pro and switch settings are as follows:

3gb userva=2850

This enables drivers to load correctly, otherwise the system will not load video driver correctly. The KB article helps explain this....it has to do with amount of memory allocated to Kernal when 3GB switch is enabled...

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mdmsam
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Re: 3 GB Boot.ini Switch With XP Home ?
In reply to kseidman, Apr 25, 2007

Article on available switches.....

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/833721

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Keith Van Hulle
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Re: 3 GB Boot.ini Switch With XP Home ?
In reply to mdmsam, Apr 25, 2007

Yes, it is supported.

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Wildpicture
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No problem
In reply to kseidman, Apr 25, 2007

It works well on XP jHome too. I have been using it for over a year now on a Dell Dim 9150 with 4GB without any troubles.
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kseidman
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Re: No problem
In reply to Wildpicture, Apr 25, 2007

Thanks to Keith and Hans for responding with a positive answer to my question!

I have posted this question about XP Home and the 3 GB switch on 8 different forums (e.g. Adobe Photoshop, Yahoo WXPhelp, Dell, Photo.net, Mathworks...) and received three 'NO' answers, several 'I don't know but wish I did' and now finally these two 'Yes' answers. I also called Microsoft help but found out I would need to pay $59 to get a Tech Expert to help me answer the question...(didn't want to do that).

I'm going to buy the RAM and try it out this weekend.

Anyone else... please respond if you care to.

Thanks again,
Ken

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davhol
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Re: No problem
In reply to kseidman, Apr 25, 2007

You may want to take notice that there'll be no "outwardly" visible indication of this status ( 3gb userva=xxxx) when you look at the "Properties" of "My Computer" (at least I've not seen it on my system with 4Gb of RAM). ALSO note that you will need to change the "Preferences" in Photoshop to actually use the extra space you're providing it. Click on "Edit" menu item, select Preferences-> Memory & Image Cache... set the amount of memory to be used by Photoshop to some (higher) value/percentage than the "standard" 55%.

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kseidman
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Re: No problem
In reply to davhol, Apr 28, 2007

I've added the additional 2 GB of RAM and have tried the 3GB switch and also the combo: 3GB/userva=2850.

What I've found out so far is as follows:
Use an application called MATLAB :
1) 2 GB RAM (and no switches) -> 2047 MB Virtual Memory
2) 4 GB RAM and 3 GB switch -> 3071 MB Virtual Memory
3) 4 GB RAM and both switches-> 2851 MB Virtual Memory

I believe this means the RAM and switches are all working as expected.

Also, my BIOS indicates 4 GB of RAM, and My Computer shows 3.2 GB RAM (which is okay too since it is not all reported)

Here is where it gets wierd:

I am using Photoshop CS, Educational Version. For the above three cases I find (using Photoshop Preferences/Memory)
1) -> 1764 MB available
2) -> 1777 MB available
3) -> 1777 MB available

I was expecting Photoshop to show about 2600 MB available with the switch and extra RAM.

Furthermore, in case 2 I repeatedly get a disk IO error during a convert to RGB command on a very large file. Case 3 eliminates this problem. Perhaps setting the percentage use below 75% would also.

BUT my question and concern is why Photoshop CS is not getting more virtual memory for case 2 or 3?

Does Photoshop CS (and/or Educational version) Not have the capability to access the extra memory?

I've found an Adobe article which indicates CS2 can use it.
What about CS3, any one have experience with that yet?

Thanks,
Ken

davhol wrote:

You may want to take notice that there'll be no "outwardly" visible
indication of this status ( 3gb userva=xxxx) when you look at the
"Properties" of "My Computer" (at least I've not seen it on my
system with 4Gb of RAM). ALSO note that you will need to change
the "Preferences" in Photoshop to actually use the extra space
you're providing it. Click on "Edit" menu item, select
Preferences-> Memory & Image Cache... set the amount of memory to be
used by Photoshop to some (higher) value/percentage than the
"standard" 55%.

-- hide signature --
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davhol
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Re: No problem
In reply to kseidman, Apr 29, 2007

I don't know what to say to you about Photoshop CS. I'm running CS2 on my system (I removed CS when I upgraded to CS2) and I'd rather not re-install it at this point in time. I know that CS2 can handle extra (i.e. more than 2Gb) memory. On my 4Gb system, Photoshop show it can use up to 2538 Mb (100%). I have CS2 set to use 100%. This number is for available RAM in the process image (which can be 3Gb) -- so photoshop reserves about 500Mb for it's "kernel" and uses the remaining (2.5Gb) for it's "buffer space" for image processing (thus using all 3Gb of memory available to it via the 3Gb switch).

As for CS3, I'll be upgrading to that next weekend. However, I'm 99.98% SURE that it won't "go backwards" and remove this ability. Maybe some others here will be able to answer this for you before next week.
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Dave
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kseidman
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Re: No problem
In reply to davhol, Apr 29, 2007

Dave,

Thanks for your reply and info about your system.

I did some searching on the Adobe website and I think I have the answer to my 'missing' memory. I found Adobe TechNotes on CS, CS2 and CS3.
e.g. "Optimize Performance of Photoshop CS3 on Windows XP and Vista".

I noticed that the sections on "Allocating memory" with the 3GB switch were only present in CS2 and CS3. So, it appears that CS does not support the expanded address space (virtual memory).

Since I also plan on upgrading to CS3 in the next few weeks I'm not troubled about my current situation. You may want to skim through the last week or so of the Adobe Photoshop Windows forum. There are some posts about CS3 and the 3 GB switch to be found there.

I'd be interested to know your experiences when you make the upgrade.

Thanks again,
Ken

davhol wrote:

I don't know what to say to you about Photoshop CS. I'm running
CS2 on my system (I removed CS when I upgraded to CS2) and I'd
rather not re-install it at this point in time. I know that CS2
can handle extra (i.e. more than 2Gb) memory. On my 4Gb system,
Photoshop show it can use up to 2538 Mb (100%). I have CS2 set to
use 100%. This number is for available RAM in the process image
(which can be 3Gb) -- so photoshop reserves about 500Mb for it's
"kernel" and uses the remaining (2.5Gb) for it's "buffer space" for
image processing (thus using all 3Gb of memory available to it via
the 3Gb switch).

As for CS3, I'll be upgrading to that next weekend. However, I'm
99.98% SURE that it won't "go backwards" and remove this ability.
Maybe some others here will be able to answer this for you before
next week.
--
Dave
http://davedigital.smugmug.com

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Thomas Sapiano
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Added in CS2...
In reply to kseidman, Apr 29, 2007

kseidman wrote:

I believe this means the RAM and switches are all working as expected.

Correct.

Also, my BIOS indicates 4 GB of RAM, and My Computer shows 3.2 GB
RAM (which is okay too since it is not all reported)

While the physical address space used by the computer is primarily used for accessing memory, it is also used for a number of other functions (eg communicating with hardware). As such, when 4GB of RAM is installed in a machine running a 32-bit OS there aren't enough addresses to go around. As the memory-mapped functions are critical to the operation of the computer, the chipset must leave overlapped areas of RAM idle.

The number reported by the BIOS is the amount of RAM that the chipset has access to before any of this is considered. The amount of memory reported by Windows (or any other OS) is the amount that is actually addressable by the system so any overlaps will lead to discrepancies like this.

Furthermore, in case 2 I repeatedly get a disk IO error during a
convert to RGB command on a very large file. Case 3 eliminates
this problem. Perhaps setting the percentage use below 75% would
also.

The virtual address space that each 32-bit process is allocated is 4GB, which is traditionally split up into 2GB for the user process (the program itself) and 2GB used for kernel functions. The 3GB switch changes that balance to 3GB for the user process, however in order to make room it decreases the amount allocated for kernel functions to 1GB.

As this is not a commonly used feature, not all drivers are designed to deal with the decrease in kernel space and, as such, can cause problems such as this one. The userva switch allows you to fine tune the balance to something between the 2 and 3GB points - as such, you can usually find a balance somewhere that won't cause any problems with the drivers.

BUT my question and concern is why Photoshop CS is not getting more
virtual memory for case 2 or 3?

Support for this functionality was added to Photoshop in CS2, and wasn't present in earlier versions (including CS1). In order to gain access to the larger virtual address space, programs must have a flag set in the executable file telling the OS that they were designed to make use of it. If that flag isn't present, the program will be limited to the traditional 2GB virtual address space.

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Kent C
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Ken... another confirmation...
In reply to kseidman, Apr 30, 2007
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philmar
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Re: Ken... another confirmation...
In reply to Kent C, Apr 30, 2007

What kind of gains do you notice with 4 gbs RAM with/without the 3 gb switch?
Are we talking 10% gain in processing time?

Are there any downsides to doing the switch? does this force the CPU to work harder addressing the increased memory?

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Kent C
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Re: Ken... another confirmation...
In reply to philmar, Apr 30, 2007

philmar wrote:

What kind of gains do you notice with 4 gbs RAM with/without the 3
gb switch?
Are we talking 10% gain in processing time?
Are there any downsides to doing the switch? does this force the
CPU to work harder addressing the increased memory?

Phil,

I just did it prior to the post at adobe and didn't time anything before. Really only did the smart sharpen and neat image on one 3MB file. I almost always got a progress bar even if for a few seconds before and Smart Sharpen was instantaneos. Seems like Neat Image took about 1/2 the time, it did. I may switch back to time some stuff but more RAM is more RAM and it's pretty straight forward as to the benefits. And no - no drain on CPU that I've read or heard about but someone more knowledgeable than I may add something.

While I had 1712MB 'available' for PS I was running at 75%, now running at 100% so I'm using more than twice the RAM than I had. Doesn't work on all systems and there could be some downsides but check the MS links given in the thread at adobe for what they are. For a summary read Thomas' post below.
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AK_2
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XP Home or Pro . . . RAM
In reply to Thomas Sapiano, May 1, 2007

I'd regularly read that the 3gb feature was part of XP Pro and not the Home edition . . . now that I know the 3gb switch is in Home version, is their any reason for a home powre user with 3 networked PC's, to get XP Pro instead of XP Home.

Regards,
Kev

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philmar
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Re: XP Home or Pro . . . RAM
In reply to AK_2, May 1, 2007

AK_2 wrote:

I'd regularly read that the 3gb feature was part of XP Pro and not
the Home edition . . .

THAT SEEMS TO BE MY RECOLLECTION AS WELL....THAT'S WHY i BOUGHT xp pRO

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kseidman
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Re: XP Home or Pro . . . RAM
In reply to philmar, May 1, 2007

philmar wrote:

AK_2 wrote:

I'd regularly read that the 3gb feature was part of XP Pro and not
the Home edition . . .

THAT SEEMS TO BE MY RECOLLECTION AS WELL....THAT'S WHY i BOUGHT xp pRO

All the older Microsoft Articles only refer to XP Pro and the 3 GB switch. I found articles starting around Jan or Feb of this year that include XP Home when referring to the switch. I don't know when support actually started, or perhaps it was there all along?

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Cecil Williams
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2GB vs 4GB Test Results
In reply to philmar, May 2, 2007

philmar wrote:

What kind of gains do you notice with 4 gbs RAM with/without the 3
gb switch?
Are we talking 10% gain in processing time?

I've just posted some test results from tonight that I did wtih WinXP, PSCS2 and 2GB vs 4GB of RAM, if you're interested:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1004&message=23071695

Regards,

  • Cecil

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AK_2
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Re: XP Home or Pro . . . RAM
In reply to kseidman, May 2, 2007

kseidman wrote:

philmar wrote:

AK_2 wrote:

I'd regularly read that the 3gb feature was part of XP Pro and not
the Home edition . . .

THAT SEEMS TO BE MY RECOLLECTION AS WELL....THAT'S WHY i BOUGHT xp pRO

All the older Microsoft Articles only refer to XP Pro and the 3 GB
switch. I found articles starting around Jan or Feb of this year
that include XP Home when referring to the switch. I don't know
when support actually started, or perhaps it was there all along?

I'm glad you added this kseidman, as I wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me.

Kev

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kseidman
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Re: 2GB vs 4GB Test Results
In reply to Cecil Williams, May 2, 2007

Cecil,

Thanks for posting your results and the link to the Photoshop benchmark.

My own desire/need for more memory is due to the 350 MB files I start out with after scanning medium format 6x7 cm film. By the time I add three layers and a mask or two I am working on files that are easily over 1 GB (16 bits/channel). At that point I have to save and flatten, and sometimes drop down to 8/bits per/channel for more layer work.

As I am getting interested in assembling panoramas from 2 or 3 medium format images (and thus possiibly starting out with files that are over 700 MB !) you can appreciate my need for more memory.

As soon as CS3 'stabilizes' (there appear to be many install problems, etc.) I will upgrade from CS (which doesn't support the 3 GB switch) and hopefully see some dramatic improvements for my situation.

Ken

Cecil Williams wrote:

I've just posted some test results from tonight that I did wtih
WinXP, PSCS2 and 2GB vs 4GB of RAM, if you're interested:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1004&message=23071695

Regards,

  • Cecil

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