How much RAM for Win XP Pro SP3?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Michael73, May 13, 2009.

  1. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2007
    I've got VMWare Fusion v2.0.4 running a copy of WinXP Pro SP3. As you can see in my sig I'm running it on an 8 core early '08 MP with 12GB of RAM. Right now VMWare is set to use 2 cores and 2GB or RAM and it seems a little sluggish although I'm not running anything more than MS Office, Quickbooks Pro and some other apps specifically suited to my business (website optimization and paid search consulting). VMWare says I can devote up to 8GB of RAM. While I think 8GB is overkill and Windows couldn't even use that much, does anyone know what the optimal amount might be to maximize performance? To make it more snappy! :D
  2. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    Windows XP can only make use of about 4GB of RAM (I think it's something like 3.5GB). You could devote 4GB to Windows XP, but I wouldn't do any more than that.
  3. aiterum macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2007
    United States
    Because XP is only a 32-bit operating system, it only can take advantage of up to 3.2GB of RAM i believe. You shouldn't need more than that anyways though.
  4. armoguy94 macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2007
    It is around 3.2gb of ram. I think thats the correct answer. But I do disagree with your last comment. Sometimes my system will get a bit laggy cause of lack of memory, even with my 4gb of ram in my iMac. But perhaps that is because the iMac runs off of mobile components.
  5. adrian.oconnor macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Nottingham, England
    I recommend that you turn off 3D graphics in the virtual machine settings. Try also using a single core virtual processor -- two cores could, paradoxically, be creating an overhead in the emulation layer that makes it slower.

    I use XP SP3 running on VMWare for my day-to-day programming work, which is pretty intensive compared to most uses, and it works perfectly well. I've noticed a little bit of a slow down in the past two months, which I've also noticed on 'real' Windows XP (i.e., non-virtual), and which, I suspect, is Windows update related.

    My default setting for a virtual machine is 1 core, no 3D, 2GB RAM.

    P.S. My 4GB iMac has a Vista image that I can only allocate 1.6GB RAM to -- any more and OS X starts to slow down. Even at 1.6GB it works pretty well, albeit that Vista is generally more sluggish than XP for most workloads.

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