I just noticed in the specs of the new Intel Core i-series processors that there is a "Max Memory Size" that is usually pretty small -- anywhere from 8GB to 24GB. See here: http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=41316

Core 2-based motherboards were just starting to roll out support for 32GB and greater memory sizes.

Anyone have any idea what the Max Memory Size indicates? Is this the total limitation of the on-chip memory controller? Limitation per channel? Limitation per stick (e.g. density??)?

Thinking of building a decent machine that needs lots of RAM, so I'm looking at the i7 860.


The i7 supports 8GB per memory controller. There are 3 controllers, 24GB max. Check out i7 datasheet. This is a chip design decision - a function of the interface to the chip.

  • Wow, you're right. Page 7 -- I can't believe it. This is a huge drawback for people wanting cost-effective Virtualization solutions.
    – Joshua
    Jan 10 '10 at 20:50

The max memory size is the maximum total RAM that the processor will address. If you look at lower model processors like Atom D525's they are limited to lower amounts such as 4GB. As the spec sheet says it can only deal with two channels, so that could either be 4x4GB or 2x8GB depending on the Motherboard configuration and implementation. It is likely to only support 4GB modules as most motherboards for such processors have 4 slots and manufacturers wouldn't spend the time testing against 8GB modules if they have 4 slots.

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