Windows Full Potential on Mac

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by CasiLindberg, May 25, 2008.

  1. CasiLindberg macrumors member

    May 20, 2008
    I am going to buy a Macbook Pro (with 4Gb RAM), and I have heard that while running windows via bootcamp, Windows is unable to use 4 Gb of RAM. I have heard that it just can use up to 3 Gb maximum. Is this true?

    Also, I am wondering whether or not to install Vista or XP. I am very familiar with the pros and cons between Vista and XP. Which would you prefer?
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    32-bit Windows only sees 3.3GB. 64-bit can see it all.
  3. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    XP is probably still a better choice than Vista unless you have a real need

    i hate recommending old(er) technology, but i haven't seen the value of Vista

    if XP does what you need, go with it and wait out the next version

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
  4. CasiLindberg thread starter macrumors member

    May 20, 2008
    What about my first question, about windows not using 4 Gb of RAM only 3Gb or so... ?
  5. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
  6. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    Important to note that this isn't a limitation of running Windows on a Mac, it's a limitation of Windows XP on any machine. It'll never see more than 3gb of RAM...
  7. CasiLindberg thread starter macrumors member

    May 20, 2008
  8. The Flashing Fi macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2007
    Get the 64-bit version of Vista. It will see all your memory.
  9. wrongrobot macrumors newbie


    Nov 23, 2007
    San Francisco
  10. BrownPlopz macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2008
    Behind you, I'm your shadow...
    That's pretty much all you need to know in order to answer your question. As for which OS to choose, the choice right now is really obvious, XP. This is only because right now, anything that Vista can do, XP can actually do better, and most of the time, without glitches. Also, there's still a lot of compatibility issues with Vista, so until Vista SP4, I recommend XP all the way.
  11. carlosbutler macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2008
    London City
    SP4?? steady now :p they have only released Sp1 havent they??

    although i wouldnt recommend any windows OS since it will some try and take over the laptop, XP is probably the best way to go about it. to be honest XP isnt all that bad, but it depends what you need to do on it
  12. kellyl macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2008

    Why on Earth would you want to run Windows on your new MacBook at all?
    Unless you absolutely need it... and I doubt that you do, skip it and just immerse yourself in the Mac OS; this would be the best way to learn how to do everything you need to do without Windows.
  13. sash macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2004

    I've installed XP and then Vista SP1 x64 on the same machine. Contrary to all I've heard about Vista, it works as stable as XP, it's actually faster, and I've got only 2 compatibility issues. 1st one with HP scanner (5400c), for which HP is not planning to make any new drivers, and 2nd one with an old fax app, which was so called incompatible even with XP (although it worked under XP pretty well). Scanner works fine under Mac OS, and you don't really need any third-party fax app under Vista.

  14. ayeying macrumors 601


    Dec 5, 2007
    Yay Area, CA
    Some people need it, thats why they install it. A Mac is no different then a regular PC. A user can choose to install Windows on it if he/she desires.

    For me, I don't really have a real reason to run windows but I have it installed anyways. It comes in great importance especially since majority of computer users are windows users.
  15. vistafanboi macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Re: Windows Full Potential on Mac

    You'll be kind of out-of-date if you wait till 2011.
    Windows 7 will be out by then, and you will want to go with it instead of Vista.

    I doubt seriously whether Vista will see a Service Pack 3, much less a Service Pack 4. There is just not enough time before Windows 7 is released.

    Microsoft has pretty-much laid all aside for Windows 7.
    They've got the first Vista Service Pack finished, and in the hands of the public.
    They have the last Service Pack XP will see finished and in the hands of the public.
    They have their latest server OS upgraded to its newest service pack.
    Office 2007 has its first Service Pack.

    Yeah, they've pretty much got a clean plate right now, which is quickly filling up with the ramp-up to the first Beta of Windows 7.
  16. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    Completely untrue. Vista, and especially x64 Vista crushes XP
    at some tasks (e.g., networking).

    Generally speaking, the situation isn't very clear cut, not that
    you'd notice that reading many of comments online. Here are
    some benchmarks:,2845,2302499,00.asp

    And here are some more:

    And what Vista does do much better is security. If you don't
    think that's important, well.. :)
  17. 04texag macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2008
    What about for gaming?

    I have a late 07 24" IMac with 4gb ram, and the ATI 2600.

    I'm currently running XP home, would I see improvements running Vista x64?

  18. vistafanboi macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Actually, this is NOT TRUE. Windows XP does have a start switch which enables one to see and use more than 3GB if he has it.

    Also, Vista RTM will see it IF your memory is configured as DUAL-CHANNEL (it must be matched sticks).

    Vista SP1 will see and use it right off the bat.

    HOWEVER, because of the limitations of 32-bit addressing, Windows cannot use more than 4GB (the limit for 32bit addresses), and must take PART Of the total physical memory to display video, make static buffers, etc. This is why under Vista x64, more than 4GB may be seen and used, since it uses 64-bit addressing. This is a limitation of 32-bit addressing, and will always be there if one uses a 32-bit Operating System, no matter WHO the OS belongs to.

    So, it ISN'T a limit of Windows, per se. It is a limit of 32-bit arithmetic.

    In ANY CASE, Windows is going to take part of physical ram to display the screen, etc. This is the case no matter WHICH OS one uses (including OSX).

    The whole "problem" is a case of MISTAKEN thinking, not limitations of Windows. Windows uses 64bit addressing quite well, as long as the CPU is a 64bit CPU. It CAN'T use such addressing if the CPU is a 32bit CPU.

    IF you have more than 4GB of RAM, you MUST use a 64bit CPU and OS if you want to use it all. This is true no matter WHO makes an OS.

    Donald L McDaniel:)

    Sir, to even RUN on your Apple laptop, Windows MUST Have exclusive control over the machine, so why you say Windows "will sometimes try to take over the laptop" is a real puzzler. Windows doesn't do it SOMETIMES, it does it EVERYTIME, or it simply won't run.

    OSes WON'T share the machines they are installed on with other OSes. PERIOD. OS X will not share the machine with Windows, nor will Windows share the machine with OS X.

    ONLY ONE OS can have control of the machine at any one time.

    Please, try to educate yourself a little?:rolleyes:

    Donald L McDaniel

    My opinion is that you would see SOME improvement, IF you have 64-bit drivers for all your devices, and use 64-bit software exclusively. a 64bit OS is only as strong as its programs. IF you have no 64bit programs, it is being totally wasted. Not many folks are releasing 64bit programs right now, and the ones which are being released are extremely expensive (high-end media apps, mainly).

    Otherwise, you won't see much improvement, other than in stability, since Vista is more stable than XP.

    In any case, you will see improvement over XP, no matter which version of Vista (x32 vs. x64) you use. I would also make sure to use Vista Ultimate, rather than Home Premium or lesser.

    It may be purchased for about $189US (System Builder Kit, which ANYONE may use). The RETAIL (boxed) version is NOT NECESSARY, unless you want to be able to move your license to a different machine if necessary.

    Donald L McDaniel;)
  19. Baffles macrumors regular

    May 27, 2008
    Upstate New York
    Uh.... if you're talking about Vista 64, it doesn't matter what it is configured as. It may or may not make a difference on 32 bit.

    You are wrong there. There is a thing called physical address extension which allows larger addressing sizes to be used (at the expense of speed). 32-bit Linux can address much much more than 4GB. The ironic part is that Windows already uses PAE for NX-bit, already taking the speed hit, and still doesn't support addressing of more ram.

    You need some education too. You can share OSes through various setups of virtualization and hypervisor type systems. But the point of those systems is that one OS can't really take over from another.

    32-bit software works fine on 64-bit, and 64-bit gives you minor improvements (like native addressing of more 4GB of memory). If you have the choice now, you might as well go with 64-bit, cause then it will be ready to go when you need it (instead of needing a reinstall), given that the performance hit is minuscule.
  20. Siron macrumors 6502


    Feb 4, 2008
    North Carolina
    I agree with several of the responders that Vista Business 64 is the way to go. Why would you run a 32 bit OS on a 64 bit machine. I have both XP Pro 32 and Vista Business 64 on my MP and I prefer Vista. It's hands down faster and uses all 8 cores and all of my RAM. Get the OEM version for around $120.
  21. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007

    Mac OS X 32bit does not have the limitation of 3.x gb of ram.
    Case in point, few year old PowerMac G5 (32 bit) can use 16gb of RAM without paying more for a less functional os (windows 64 bit xp costs extra, and lack drivers).

    Yes, it's limitation of windows.
  22. NJuul macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    While you are right that Mac OS does not have a memory limit (that I know of, I'm sure there is one, but it is high), the G5 was (is) a 64 bit cpu.
  23. jerryrock macrumors 6502


    Sep 11, 2007
    Amsterdam, NY
    Vista Ultimate 64bit SP1

    While Vista Ultimate 64bit SP1 will successfully install and work well on MacPro and MacBook Pro (early 2008), it will not install on older machines.

    I recently bought a 15" 2.5GHz MacBook Pro with 4 gigs of ram and installed Vista 64bit SP1 on it. It works beautifully and is very fast.

    I tried to install the same software on my MacPro 2.66 (late 2007) and it would not boot the DVD. My opinion is that it needs the EFI firmware updated to comply with the EFI boot of the Vista 64 SP1 DVD.
  24. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    I hope there is an update soon. I would like to replace XP on my Alu iMacs with Vista 64 this summer. I have to admit that Vista 32 SP1 is a much nicer experience on my MacBook than before SP1.
  25. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    You're correct if you mean the DVD EFI option does not work correctly.

    However, the DVD also has a BIOS option. After you've put the DVD in
    and pressed the power button be sure to hold down the Option key, not
    the C key. People who have tried the latter have had issues.

    And yes, Apple should update their EFI firmware to support Vista SP1 EFI.
    Apple have somewhat crippled their EFI firmware, and it's becoming an

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