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512mb Of Ram Installed, Only 384mb Working


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#1 JCNoszek77

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 11:24 PM

My mother has an HP Desktop that was recently wiped and then started again from scratch. She had a "code purple", which is Hp's way of saying "you're screwed". So rather than send her computer off to have the hardware signature updated on the recovery partition (the PC shipped with a faulty motherboard), we reinstalled XP from scratch. She has 512 MB installed on the machine, but it appears that one of the modules is only putting out half of its capacity as in the system properties it states she only has 384 MB installed. I checked with one of my fellow techs at work, and he confirmed my suspicion - that one module is only using half of its capacity.

Now, her PC is still under a hardware warranty, and in order to get service under the warranty, she has to contact the [expletive deleted] Geek Squad. They proceeded to tell her during the course of her conversation, that either all of the memory in a module works or none of it works. And then the guy changes his story and say the reason the system properties state that she only has 75% of her RAm is because her video card has taken over 128MB. Now, she wants me to call the rude tech support people for her and explain what I have seen. So after all of that, my question is: Who is right? Is half of one of her memory modules blown, or has her video card hijacked 128MB of memory? I'm getting two different stories between my co-worker and those idiots from her nearest Best Buy.

Any help/information is appreciated.

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#2 arcman

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 11:43 PM

If the video chipset is onboard, as in you plug the monitor into a port that is with the large group of ports on the back (motherboard-mounted) and not on an external card, then that video will get its memory by taking it away from the main system RAM. So yes, you have a fully functioning 512 stick of RAM, and if you look at the properties of your video card I'll wager you'll see that it's been allocated 128MB of RAM (384 + 128 = 512).

Most of the computers that are not rigged for high performance gaming are set up this way, a few laptops also don't have dedicated video RAM.
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#3 JCNoszek77

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 11:51 PM

If the video chipset is onboard, as in you plug the monitor into a port that is with the large group of ports on the back (motherboard-mounted) and not on an external card, then that video will get its memory by taking it away from the main system RAM. So yes, you have a fully functioning 512 stick of RAM, and if you look at the properties of your video card I'll wager you'll see that it's been allocated 128MB of RAM (384 + 128 = 512).

Most of the computers that are not rigged for high performance gaming are set up this way, a few laptops also don't have dedicated video RAM.



Arcman,

Thank you for the explanation. Most of my expertise is software and OS, not hardware. So, let me make sure I have this straight, if the video is not hooked up the way you described, then my dear mother has a bad module?

#4 Wildabeast

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 12:26 AM

No, what he's saying is if your mother is using on-board video, not a PCI, AGP or PCIexpress video card, then the on-board video will use the RAM for the memory it needs to operate. So if the on-board video is 128 meg, subtract that from her 512 meg of ram and you get 384.
Hope that makes more sense.... :thumbsup:
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#5 arcman

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 12:50 AM

Arcman,

Thank you for the explanation. Most of my expertise is software and OS, not hardware. So, let me make sure I have this straight, if the video is not hooked up the way you described, then my dear mother has a bad module?

Well, to put it another way, if you bought a video card it would come with its own dedicated amount of video RAM. If that were installed in the system then it would take over for the on-board video controller she currently has, then the on-board controller would relinquish its 128MB back to the system RAM, giving her the full 512MB.

I've never come across a faulty stick of RAM that mis-reported its capacity. If you have faulty memory you'll usually get weird errors, BSOD's, or your system will stop booting.

Edited by arcman, 01 September 2007 - 12:51 AM.

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#6 JCNoszek77

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 07:31 AM

Arcman,

Thank you for the explanation. Most of my expertise is software and OS, not hardware. So, let me make sure I have this straight, if the video is not hooked up the way you described, then my dear mother has a bad module?

Well, to put it another way, if you bought a video card it would come with its own dedicated amount of video RAM. If that were installed in the system then it would take over for the on-board video controller she currently has, then the on-board controller would relinquish its 128MB back to the system RAM, giving her the full 512MB.

I've never come across a faulty stick of RAM that mis-reported its capacity. If you have faulty memory you'll usually get weird errors, BSOD's, or your system will stop booting.




Thanks again. To clarify, I understood the part about the onboard video card, I just wanted to make sure that if her video card was one with onboard RAM, would it still be possible that a faulty stick would mis report it's capacity. I know I could have worded my posts better if I had been rested, but she's been calling me like crazy.

The only reason I am looking at different avenues for diagnosis is that she is having some strange error where System Mechanic 7 was killing all the virtual memory. So I had her uninstall it. Now AOL is telling her that there is not enough memory or disk space to run. She does have enough disc space since it's only been a month since I did her clean install, and she has been calling me every time she installs something. So she hasn't yet gone overboard with photos and other crap. She has, like 61 processes running though, and when I finished her clean install, she only had 48 running at any given time. If her issue is due to software, I would venture a guess that a couple of the apps she reinstalled are memory hogs, but it seems like this is a hardware issue to me.

#7 usasma

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 07:54 AM

In general, most HP's are sold with onboard video (which would account for the missing 128 mB) - but let us know the exact make and model of the PC and we'll be able to confirm this.

I have never seen a RAM module report less than it's capacity. I have seen a lot of people worried about their missing RAM - and it has always turned out to be the video using that RAM (FYI - the distinctions for this are clearer in the new WDDM driver architecture, but are still confusing).

I believe that what the Geek Squad told her is true, that:
1) The RAM module will report all or nothing to the OS
2) The System applet in Control Panel will report your memory after subtracting what the onboard video has reserved for itself.

For example, if you use "dxdiag", it will tell you how much memory is being used for the video card in it's display tab (the system tab should show total memory).

If you use "msinfo32" it'll display total memory there also. But, not having an onboard video card, I can't be sure of how it'll be reported.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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#8 JCNoszek77

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 08:37 AM

In general, most HP's are sold with onboard video (which would account for the missing 128 mB) - but let us know the exact make and model of the PC and we'll be able to confirm this.

I have never seen a RAM module report less than it's capacity. I have seen a lot of people worried about their missing RAM - and it has always turned out to be the video using that RAM (FYI - the distinctions for this are clearer in the new WDDM driver architecture, but are still confusing).

I believe that what the Geek Squad told her is true, that:
1) The RAM module will report all or nothing to the OS
2) The System applet in Control Panel will report your memory after subtracting what the onboard video has reserved for itself.

For example, if you use "dxdiag", it will tell you how much memory is being used for the video card in it's display tab (the system tab should show total memory).

If you use "msinfo32" it'll display total memory there also. But, not having an onboard video card, I can't be sure of how it'll be reported.



Duly noted. I don't know the exact model of her machine, but I've already passed along this information. Whether those Geek Squad guys were right or not, they were still plenty rude to my mother, so I feel a bit discouraged about communicating with them if they are going to be like that. As far as the error she is having, I think I have it figured out. Like I said in an earlier post, Hardware is not my strong suit, I'm better with software and operating system stuff.

Her problem looks like AOL is eating up the temp file space, so AOL will not run. Pretty easy to fix.

#9 usasma

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 08:43 AM

There is no excuse for rudeness - complain to a supervisor/manager.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#10 JCNoszek77

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 08:53 AM

There is no excuse for rudeness - complain to a supervisor/manager.



Believe me, my mother will. :thumbsup:




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