OS/2 Warp FAQ List (20 Feb 95) Section 0206

(2.6) More Than 16 MB RAM

Can I use more than 16 MB of RAM?

OS/2 Warp will address all the RAM in your system. If the BIOS recognizes the memory, OS/2 Warp will find it and use it.

However, on certain systems the RAM beyond the 16 MB boundary may be used as a fast swap area. OS/2 Warp relies on its swap file, SWAPPER.DAT, to hold code and data which cannot fit into real memory (i.e. to provide virtual memory). If the swap file (and applications) can only be accessed via a hard disk adapter which uses 24-bit DMA for disk access (e.g. the Adaptec 154x series), then the system must move code and data below the 16 MB boundary before it can write it to disk. This "double move" is costly (in terms of performance), and often OS/2 Warp will merely use all the RAM above the 16 MB boundary as a fast swap area (before writing to disk) to avoid the problem. It is up to the hard disk adapter driver, however, to decide how to handle this situation.

Only AT bus adapters are limited to 24-bit DMA. Microchannel, EISA, VESA LocalBus, and other 32-bit adapters are not so limited. Moreover, only a select few AT bus hard disk adapters utilize DMA. Nearly all MFM, RLL, ESDI, and IDE adapters, and most SCSI adapters, do not use DMA for disk access.

Suffice it to say that, regardless of your present hardware, OS/2 Warp will take advantage of it as best it can. However, if you are planning new hardware purchases, you may wish to take this particular hardware design limitation into account. Specifically, if you plan to install more than 16 MB of RAM in your system, either choose a 32-bit hard disk adapter (Microchannel or PCI, for example) or choose an AT bus adapter which does not utilize DMA for disk access (a standard IDE adapter, an Adaptec 152x series SCSI adapter, or a Future Domain SCSI adapter, for example). The performance trade-off is highly system dependent, however. You may find that even DMA adapters such as the Adaptec 154x series outperform the alternatives in certain cases.

Related information:

(2.5) Specific Hardware Recommendations

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