Upgrading to 4GB of RAM - What to expect with BootCamp:Windows?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by PockieLoli :3, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. PockieLoli :3, Jun 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014

    PockieLoli :3 macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2009

    First off my specs:
    Early 2009, 13" Macbook (Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz)
    With upgraded Western Digital HDD (7200 RPM)
    OSX: Snow Leopard (temporarily downgraded straight off the installation disc)*
    BootCamp: Windows XP Professional SP3

    That said, I just ordered a pair of 2GB Corsair Memory Sticks to upgrade from 2GB to 4GB of RAM.

    Currently, XP runs pretty smoothly. I mainly use that partition for gaming. It runs my main game well; TF2 with an average of 55-75 frames. I'm limited to a lot of games however and canyourunit.com usually lists my 2GB RAM as being the main problem.

    I've previously tried out a Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 32-bit partition. The OS itself ran beautifully but just could not handle running any games. The performance loss was obvious, so I reverted back to an install of XP.

    With my 4GB of RAM coming in, I wanted to know:
    a) What kind of performance increase to expect in XP when gaming, if any?
    b) Would I have enough memory to run Win7 instead, or should I stick to XP?
    c) In OSX, would it be worth it to upgrade back up to Mavericks?*
    d) Any other expectations and/or experiences anyone has had with a RAM upgrade.

    *I installed my first XP partition while on Snow Leopard years back. I've installed each iteration of OSX that has come out since then. When I installed that Win7 partition, I was running Mavericks. When I decided to reinstall XP instead, I found out Mavericks' BootCamp Assistant only supports Win7 and up. Hence why I downgraded back to Snow Leopard, whose Assistant still supports XP. However, I've been enjoying how smooth S.Leopard runs and am wondering if I should stick to it or can afford to upgrade a bit?

    Oh and probably worth mentioning:
    While booted in OSX, I do creative work. I am studying web development, so I use most of Adobe's Suite (Photoshop, After Effects, etc), Sublime Text Editor, Final Cut Pro... just to name a few. Taxing programs on my memory. So I'm sure my OSX partition will benefit greatly from more RAM.
  2. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    Overall, an upgrade to 4 GB of RAM will help quite a bit, but you're going to find your system struggling to keep up with the demanding development programs you're trying to run. It will also help with Windows. 7 should run much better with more RAM, though with the 32-bit version of the operating system, you'll be limited to a maximum of 3.25 GB available. You shouldn't run XP as it is no longer receiving any security updates.
  3. PockieLoli :3 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Well, the versions of the programs I use are older and I've had them since I got my MB in 2009. For example the Adobe Suite I have is CS4, Final Cut is version 7, etc. I've been running these programs relatively well off 2GB of RAM with occasional hiccups and freezes, depending on what I'm doing. So, perhaps the 4GB will have it running almost flawlessly?

    Yeah, unfortunately my MB model can only support Windows 7's 32-bit version. I am also aware of XP's lack of security updates now however, would I get more use out of the 4GB of RAM if I stuck to XP? As opposed to Win7 only utilizing 3.25 GB. If not, I wouldn't mind going back to Win7 if it really will run better with more RAM, especially when gaming. Is there a way to install a second partition with BootCamp? That way I can retest Win7 and if by chance it's still not adequate, I can fall back to XP without having to reinstall. When I go to BootCamp Assistant, it gives me the option of removing or adding a partition but I have to delete my current XP partition before it actually gives me the option to make a new one.
  4. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    The 3.25 GB RAM limitation applies to any 32-bit operating system.

    Also, Boot Camp only permits one version of Windows to be installed. This is a limitation of the hybrid EFI/Master Boot Record system Apple uses when installing Windows through Boot Camp.
  5. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    There are ways around that- namely rEFIt or rEFInd (the newer version).
  6. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    And using those come with inherent problems of their own (GPU issues, lack of audio).
  7. PockieLoli :3 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Agreed, if I can't create multiple bootable partitions natively using BootCamp Assistant, then I would rather not in case of issues. I've reinstalled Windows partitions so many times now, it's not really a bother to me anymore anyways.

    I do however have some updates on my newly installed RAM and issues I'm hoping to get some say on.

    In a quick rundown: first time I installed the new set of RAM I noticed some "jerkiness" to boot up, program launches, and some games. I started monitoring the CPU and RAM usage. RAM looked pretty normal but CPU was unusually and constantly high, even after closing down said programs/games.

    I swapped back to the original pair of 1GB sticks. A bit smoother like I've been accustomed to. CPU usage fluctuated better in response to how little or how much of a load was actually being carried out, rather than constantly being near a peak like previously stated.

    I again swapped back to the new pair of 2GB sticks. Now the CPU was responding more like it should, like the paragraph prior. I chalked it up to the RAM needing its seating to be redone.

    What I'm mainly curious of is this: both times I swapped in the pair of 2GB sticks, OSX recognized the full 4GB of RAM. While XP only recognized 2.72GB. According to other sources I've referenced, XP 32-bit should at least recognize 3.25GB. With 2GB, it recognizes 1.72GB. To me, the difference is not proportional, 1.72:2, 2.72:4. If anything, the 3.25GB would be more appropriate.

    Is there any explanation as to why this is happening?

    It was also mentioned earlier that Win7 would run much better with the RAM upgrade; of course, since a 32-bit Win7 partition would also have to be installed on my old MacBook, it should also only recognize up to 3.25GB. That's what I was expecting on XP, so now I'm worried Win7 will also come up short to around 2.72GB.

    Any thoughts before I go ahead and remove my current XP partition and install 7?
  8. gw0gvq Contributor


    Jan 30, 2012
    Barry, South Wales, UK
    I use 1 windows program and found instead of running windows or any VM I use a little program that's a wine type program called WINOSX available in the AppStore it allows windows program's to be run on OSX


    Ps sorry that's WINONX I think or the other name I'm not by my Mac do not sure out of those two names which it is
  9. PockieLoli :3 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Thanks but in the past I've already dabbled with Codeweaver's wine software that does as such and it's not what I'm looking for or debating here. I've had experience with wine and virtual machines but my preference lies with bootable partitions. Works best for my type of usage. :)
  10. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    The "recognition" of the full 4 GB in Windows 7 is a little trick by Microsoft. Even though it shows 4 GB, the OS is only utilizing the maximum of 3.25 GB. This was likely done to placate casual users who bought computers to keep them from going back to Best Buy saying, "The box says I got 4 GB of RAM but Windows says I only have 3.25!"

    When you're seeing 2.72 GB in XP, it is taking into account shared video memory. Windows 7 reports that differently.

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