I'm currently running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit with 6 GB of RAM.
I use a PAE patch to enable use of more than 3.5 GB of RAM in 32-bit Windows. A similar discussion took place here: How can I enable PAE on Windows 7 (32-bit) to support more than 3.5 GB of RAM?
The link to the patch for Win7 SP1 is here: https://wj32.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/pae-patch-updated-for-windows-7-sp1/
Anyway, long story short, I have the patch installed, but if any of you have played Skyrim may be aware of, the latest version of Skyrim (1.3.10) has the Large Address Aware flag enabled by default to allow it to use up to 3 GB of memory in 32-bit Windows and 4 GB of memory in 64-bit Windows. Of course, to take advantage of this, you also have to set a user environment variable in your BCD entry (userva=3072) to allow the application to use the full 3 GB in 32-bit Windows.
Here's the question: From my understanding from a friend of mine, the 32-bit Windows kernel can only address up to 2 GB of memory for itself. With the PAE patch enabled and using a LAA-enabled application such as Skyrim, would the 32-bit Windows kernel have any problems properly taking advantage of the extra memory available (for example, would it still only be able to address 1 GB because of the original 4 GB limit) or would Windows be able to properly allocate enough memory for itself so that the kernel can use up to the 2GB necessary? Remember, I have 6 GB in my original configuration.
From what I can tell, even if applications aren't designed to work with PAE, one application can still use up to 2 GB before it hits its "limit", so in theory, I can have up to 3 applications using up 2 GB each (pretending Windows isn't taking up any memory, but just a theoretical scenario) and I'd still be fine since Windows is handling where in the memory space these applications are in.
Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong - I'm not a programmer but I'm kind of curious as to what sort of possible ceilings or walls I'll run into using this configuration.