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Re: st: Reply for "stata9 vs stata8 memory issues"

From   [email protected] (Alan Riley)
To   [email protected]
Subject   Re: st: Reply for "stata9 vs stata8 memory issues"
Date   Thu, 14 Jul 2005 10:21:27 -0500

Richard Williams ([email protected]) commented on
a 'hotfix' from Microsoft which allows applications using MFC
to allocate more than 1GB of memory under Windows XP SP2:
> OK, now you've got me worried, and since I'm getting a new computer with 
> 4GB ram this issue suddenly has relevance to me.  If I have a monster file, 
> am I better off analyzing it with 8.2 if I don't need 9.0's features for 
> it?  I'm reluctant to install a patch if, overall, it is going to make 
> things worse and/or isn't really necessary.  It also seems a bit peculiar 
> that MS withdrew it because it is going to be part of SP3 - I am sure there 
> is all sorts of stuff that will be part of SP3 that is available as 
> individual patches in the meantime.  Maybe they are hiding it precisely 
> because it is sub-optimal in its current form.

Richard is ordering a new computer with 4 GB of RAM.  Assuming this is
a 32-bit Windows computer, that 4 GB of RAM won't all be accessible by
Stata or any other application on his computer.  The most memory an
application can hope to get from 32-bit Windows is something around
2 GB.  In practice, Windows typically will give out a maximum of 1.5 or
1.6 GB.  The 4 GB of memory on Richard's new computer will help when
running multiple applications, but it won't help any single application.

We only recommend installing the hotfix if someone needs to allocate
more than 1 GB of memory to Stata under Windows XP and has to keep
service pack 2.  Although we have not encountered any performance
problems with it in our tests here, since it has not yet been made
official by Microsoft, people should only install it if they really
need it.  Uninstalling service pack 2 may be a better alternative if
you do not have to have it.

Anyone needing to analyze datasets approaching (or over) 2 GB in size
should really consider a 64-bit computer for their next machine.  Versions
of Stata exist for several 64-bit platforms, including 64-bit Windows and
Linux on both x86-64 architecture chips (AMD Opteron, AMD Athlon-64, and
Intel EM64T) and Itanium chips.  These operating systems allow applications
like Stata to allocate memory past the 32-bit 2 GB limit.  Also, 64-bit
Windows does not suffer from the problem of only being able to allocate
1 GB of memory to MFC applications.

--Alan Riley
([email protected])
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