Windows & Visual Studio Memory Limits

Tomorrow I will be receiving a new computer.  It has an Intel i7 920 processor and 6 gigs of a ram.  I plan on using Beta of Windows 7 64 bit, so I can take advantage of the full 6 gigs of memory.  A 32 bit operating system can only access 4 gigs.

This new computer will be an improvement that is far better then my current laptop.  My laptop has a Pentium 4 that runs at 3 GHz.  Running Visual Studio and other app on the laptop brings it to its knees.

So, tonight I was wondering how much memory I should have installed on my new computer to run Visual Studio.  Of course it’s a little late for this question, since I have already purchased the PC and it’s arriving tomorrow. But the new computer does have 3 ram slots available and the motherboard maxes out at 12 gigs. So I should have no problems upgrading

But back to the question of how much memory should I have installed for Visual Studio.  If you are like me, while programming I usually have many applications running in the background.  These application could be resource hogs live SQL Server, Photoshop, or may IE windows or tabs open.  So I Googled “Memory needed for Visual Studio .net”. 

The first link was “Hacking Visual Studio to Use More Than 2Gigabytes of Memory”.  http://stevenharman.net/blog/archive/2008/04/29/hacking-visual-studio-to-use-more-than-2gigabytes-of-memory.aspx This triggered a memory from the last company I worked at.  At this company our solution files contained many projects and those projects could be quite large.  Many times while compiling I would get the error “Not enough storage is available to complete this operation.” After reading the previous article, I learned that Visual Studio has a 2 GB limit, which was probably the reason for the storage error.   The article also mentioned that the Visual Studio is defaulted to 2 GB of maximum memory, but it can be increased.  Of course, on a 32 bit OS the maximum memory limit is somewhere less then 4 GB.  I’m not going into the details of why its less then 4 GB, but you can read this great article to learn more about it.

“Dude, Where’s My 4 Gigabytes of RAM?
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000811.html

I never came up with the amount of memory I need, but these articles listed above provided a lot of information and background on the hows and whys of getting the best performance out of my computer.

As usual, I blogged about this so that I have a reference to the information later, but I hope this give you some insight into 32 bit OS’s and Visual Studio.