Friday, June 01, 2007

4 GB memory limitation for 32 bit machines

What is the maximum heap size that U can allocate to a JVM or a .NET runtime?
The answer is dependant on the operating system and hardware. On a 32-bit machine, the CPU can use only 32 bits to refer to a memory pointer. Hence 2^32 = 4 gb.

Out of this, 2gb is reserved for the kernel and 2 gb for the applications. Hence we can allocate only 2gb memory to an application. More info on this can be found here.

For a JVM, if we need to allocate more than 2 gb of heap, then we need to install the 64 bit version of the JDK. Also on a solaris box, start the java process with the -d64 option.