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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    can CentOS 32-bit RAM read memory > 3 GB?

    I have read from several threads here that centos 32-bit can only read RAM up to 3 GB. I know that is true for Windows Vista 32-bit, but I am not so sure with CentOS.

    I checked this with my server provider and they told me that CentOS 32bit can handle up to 16GB of RAM. So which is true?

    Just to add, according to my provider, 32 bit operating systems can handle up to 64GB of memory by compiling a PAE kernel. Is that true? How do I know if my 32-bit server can really read and use all my RAM. I have RAM of 8 GB in my server.
    Last edited by emsjs1; 08-31-2009 at 11:12 PM. Reason: addition about PAE

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Linux 32bit is able to use more than 4Gb of ram, the limitation is that there's only 4Gb of ram per process available to be used.

    I would suggest 64bit nevertheless for the performance increases gained.
    Pulsed Media: Seedbox hosting and Dedicated Servers for content distribution

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    British Columbia, Canada
    Using a PAE (Physical Address Extensions) kernel you can access over 4GB. CentOS does come with one, look for the kernel-PAE package.

    And Skal Tura is correct in saying that the PAE kernel will only offer 4GB to a process. 64bit removes that limitation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    when you say it only offers 4 GB to a process, do you mean it to be per process basis? meaning say if i have 8 GB RAM, 2 processes can use each of the 4 GB max?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    32 bit operating systems can handle up to 64GB of memory by compiling a PAE kernel.

    It is true. I have experience. I had a server I bought last year from FDCservers and was having 32bit os and 8gb ram.

    And you can install the PAE kernel by

    yum install kernel-PAE

    Physical Address Extension (PAE) refers to a feature of x86 and x86-64 processors that allows more than 4G bytes of physical memory to be used in 32-bit systems

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