More ram help?

With windows XP 32 is it worth it to step up from 2 gig to 4 gig of ram or does it limit it so much it’s not worth doing. Memory is so cheap I wa thinking of sticking 4 gig in the new build but not liking vista I was curious if the increase was even noticeably helpful?

Under XP stay with your 2GB. XP32 is really not good at allowing full access to memory over 3GB, sometimes you are lucky and get most of it, sometimes you only see 2GB. Physical Address Extension is supposed to get around this problem but it needs driver support, Program support, BIOS support and can have a performance hit with applications as it has to bank swap memory. Most home type drivers are not designed with PAE extensions in mind so could cause problems.

Under Vista 32 with a suitable BIOS it can access up to 8GB using bank swapping so 4GB (and a BIOS upgrade when they start suporting PAE fully in BIOS’s) is a good move. Vista drivers have to be designed to support PAE as it is in use by the kernal all the time (even if it never actually does any swapping).

Thanks for the answer. I put it in for the heck of it just to see if I could tell any difference. It’s fast but I don’t think there’s much difference. So I’ll probably pull 2 back out.