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System Memory Cacheability
Chipset characteristics control the maximum amount of memory the system can cache. This is a very different question than the amount of memory the system can hold. Many chipsets (unfortunately) can hold more memory than they can support with the level 2 cache. The amount of cacheable memory depends on the chipset control circuitry and the amount of tag RAM on the board. It does not depend on how much memory you currently have in the system.
Note: Some chipsets, like
the Intel 82430HX "Triton II", can cache either up to 64 MB of RAM, or 512 MB.
The larger amount is available if an "optional" tag RAM chip is added to the motherboard. In most
cases, the motherboard manufacturer builds this chip into the board, since being able to
cache 512 MB is one of the HX chipset's advantages over its other Triton
Using more memory than the system can cache will lead to very significant performance degradation.
Next: Chipset Memory Support