The newest Xeon processors use tri-channel memory, which means you’ll configure memory in increments of 3*2^n, rather than 2^n. That is, for the newest servers, you might get a machine with 12, 24, 48, or 96 gigs. You could make one with 36 gigs, if you wanted to, by using six 4 gig parts and six 2 gig parts. Anything else gives away performance by running unbalanced channels.
This means the Windows Server Standard memory limit of 32 gigs makes even less sense than it did before. Do I configure my server with 24 gigs of memory and waste some software capability? Or do I configure my machine with 36 or 48 gigs of memory, and waste the hardware capacity? Jumping to an OS that costs more than three times the price ($800 street for Windows Server Standard compared to about $2800 street for Windows Server Enterprise) is hard to justify compared to “wasting” $200 worth of DIMMs, I guess.
But with the changing hardware platform, will Microsoft relax the memory limitations on Windows Server boxes and allow up to 48 gigs of memory, a more natural boundary for the new processors, and an attainable limit for the older processors?