[R] R memory limitations under Windows vs UNIX

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Aug 22 08:08:40 CEST 2008

On Fri, 22 Aug 2008, Fiona Giannini wrote:

> Hi all,
> Our section at work is looking at buying a high-powered computer (32 Gb 
> RAM, 64-bit) to be able run models on large datasets and have more 
> processing power for the software we commonly use. We mostly use R to 
> fit GLMs and GAMs. Our department uses Windows as the standard OS (we 
> are upgrading to Vista in the next few months) and so most people would 
> be in favour of having the same OS on this computer. I have concerns 
> with Windows as I'm not convinced it will make full use of the increased 
> RAM.
> I have done some searching on the web and as far as I can see, the most

Well, that *is* in the rw-FAQ -- so do we take it that as an R for Windows 
users you have yet to read it?

> amount of RAM under Windows I can expect to make use of is 4 Gb using
> Vista 64-bit whereas UNIX will make use of closer to the full amount of 
> RAM.
> Is this correct? Is there a way to make the windows version of R use 
> more of the available RAM? Or is going for a UNIX OS the better 
> solution?

See the rw-FAQ for info on 64-bit builds of R under Windows.

> Any advice would be very much appreciated!
> Fiona
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Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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