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Old 11-16-2016, 08:52 AM   #1
Kitsep
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Question x86 server but 32 Gb of RAM?


I'm looking at purchasing a home server for a few tasks, and one recently popped up on the market that is not only WELL within my budget, but also meets all the specifications that I need. My problem comes in here, I NEED at least 16 Gb of ram on my server, and this one comes with 32 gigs, awesome! Buuuut it is an x86 only system... confusing.

Now, I've heard that the x86 limit of 4 gigs of ram depended on what OS you ran. I'm familiar with radhat/debian style distros such as Centos and the like, my question is will they take advantage of the extra ram with an x86 install? This server is an AMAZING deal, but I don't want to buy it if I can't use the ram. There MUST be an x86 OS out there that can use the extra ram, why else would it come with 32 gigs? (It is capable of up to 128 gigs)

Can 32-bit linux recognize more than 4 gigs of ram?
 
Old 11-16-2016, 09:09 AM   #2
Emerson
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What makes you think it is 32-bit hardware? No OS can use 32 GB memory in 32-bit mode effectively, it is theoretically impossible. However, 32-bit Linux will "see" 32 GB and make some use of it.
 
Old 11-16-2016, 09:21 AM   #3
Kitsep
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Originally Posted by Emerson View Post
What makes you think it is 32-bit hardware? No OS can use 32 GB memory in 32-bit mode effectively, it is theoretically impossible. However, 32-bit Linux will "see" 32 GB and make some use of it.
All 4 processors are the older x86 Opteron dual core CPUs, 32 bit only. The particular server I'm looking at is a first generation HP DL585, which supports up to 128 gigs of ram, yet is only capable of running 32-bit software.

I've done a little bit of research, and I've found a few x86 distros that support higher than 4 gigs of ram, but the amount they support seems to vary, and how efficiently they use the extra ram/how stable they run also seems to vary. Ubuntu and Centos both use a kernal that supports higher than 4 gigs of ram, so i'm 90% of the way towards the answer
 
Old 11-16-2016, 09:26 AM   #4
Emerson
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Memory handling has nothing to do with distro, it is done by Linux kernel. https://cl4ssic4l.wordpress.com/2011...lds-about-pae/

Edit: Opteron is the first 64-bit processor.

Last edited by Emerson; 11-16-2016 at 09:28 AM.
 
Old 11-16-2016, 09:29 AM   #5
michaelk
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Yes, most distributions include PAE support by default which can access 64GB. Filesystem limitations are per distribution/version. However as Emerson has posted it is a 64 bit system.

Last edited by michaelk; 11-16-2016 at 09:34 AM.
 
Old 11-16-2016, 10:14 AM   #6
smallpond
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32-bit Linux distros support PAE, so your RAM is fine.
 
Old 11-16-2016, 10:25 AM   #7
Emerson
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Originally Posted by smallpond View Post
32-bit Linux distros support PAE, so your RAM is fine.
I wonder what it takes to get rid of this myth? I posted this link earlier, one more time PAE sucks!
 
Old 11-16-2016, 10:26 AM   #8
Timothy Miller
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As Emerson pointed out, there has never been a 32-bit only Opteron ever made. Every Opteron supports 64-bit.
 
Old 11-16-2016, 10:57 AM   #9
Kitsep
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Originally Posted by Emerson View Post
Memory handling has nothing to do with distro, it is done by Linux kernel. https://cl4ssic4l.wordpress.com/2011...lds-about-pae/

Edit: Opteron is the first 64-bit processor.
Thanks for pointing that out, the online manual for the server specifies (and this is a direct quote) "The ProLiant DL585, the best performing x86 4-processor server in the industry, now supports the new AMD Opteron Dual-Core processor further increasing the performance leadership of this system."

When I read that I assumed that it was a x86 system, plus nowhere in the manual (at least the one I'm reading) does it mention 64 bit compatibility. The way they word it makes it seem like it is 32-bit only.
 
Old 11-17-2016, 09:48 PM   #10
chrism01
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They just meant x86 arch compatible, as opposed to eg PowerPC arch. Its a common industry shorthand.
Apart from embedded systems, I don't think anyone, especially Intel/AMD have built a 32bit cpu chip in a while
 
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