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How much RAM can I put in a modern Intel based PC? I know Jeff has 12 GB, but is it possible to go higher?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

6x 2GB RAM is what most LGA 1366-Boards allow easily.

With Core i7 (Nehalem) CPUs it is still relatively cheap to reach 36 GB RAM using 9x 4GB Modules.

With more expensive 8GB Modules, and the more expensive server boards, you can go up to 192 GB RAM while paying less than for a compact car. If you need more RAM than that, its probably going into the $100.000 range.

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Jeff has a 64-bit capable machine running a 64-bit OS. It is possible to go higher with the same circumstances, but today on 64-bit systems your memory limitation is usually the amount supported by the motherboard or limited by your OS (Jeff is running Windows, you can see limits here). Theoretically 64-bit architecture can utilize 16 exabytes of RAM. I haven't found a suitable motherboard for that much, yet :)

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Also bear in mind Windows simply won't let you use 16 exabytes of RAM. Yet. Or so I've heard, I've never tried. – Phoshi Dec 29 '09 at 17:47
Definitely not, hence the "your memory limitation is usually the amount supported by the motherboard or limited by your OS" part. You can find memory limits for Windows releases here: – John T Dec 29 '09 at 17:49
Ah, sorry. Just got back from a long journey, and am cold and tired! +1 for correct information, then :) – Phoshi Dec 29 '09 at 18:01
Trecking on everest or what :P – John T Dec 29 '09 at 18:02
would be interesting to hear your 'theory' on how to put 16 exabytes of RAM into a PC. the best 'Intel based computer', the Albert 3 (which is doing rather mediocre in the league of supercomputers) is using 8448 GB RAM and with 4224 processor cores it isn't really a PC :) – Molly7244 Dec 29 '09 at 18:48

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