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Ram Problems


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#1 Venek

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 06:33 PM

Just added two 1-gb sticks of RAM to my computer to the existing 2 GB of RAM. I purchased exactly the same model as the existing ones. The problem? My computer should be reading 4 GB of RAM but reads 2.5? I also noticed that when I booted up my computer, it didn't go through a RAM check, how do I reboot it AND do the RAM check? I'm thinking that should solve the issue.

If, by chance, one of my RAM sticks is dead, why would it read 2.5 instead of 3.0? Can a half of a stick be dead? Finally, is there a way to determine which stick is bad besides taking one out and booting it up and see what it reads?

Thanks
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#2 hamluis

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 07:29 PM

Lots of info on this, take your pick: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=X...5+GB+of+4GB+RAM
and http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platf...PAE/PAEmem.mspx

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#3 Venek

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 08:32 PM

OK, thanks, I have a better idea of what's going on now. I went into my BIOS settings and all of my RAM is present and fine (assuming 4193280 of total memory = 4 GB RAM).

I guess the issue is that since I am running XP 32-bit OS, it will only recognize up to 2.5 GB of RAM? Is there a way to have the OS recognize all 4 GBs or is that not recommended?

I suppose it doesn't matter as I will eventually upgrade to Vista Home Premium 64-bit, but am wary about all the problems I've been hearing and wonder if it's a wise purchase.
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#4 DaChew

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 09:04 PM

As a general rule I am wary pf populating all 4 slots with ram sticks that are max size, if your motherboard supports
4 x 2 gigs then you should be fine

I would expect windows to see a little over 3 gigs, but if you have a lot of video memory then it can't see as much, that's
why it has to save part of the 4 gigs of addressable space

It's almost always a better choice to stop at 2 gigs with xp 32 bit and make your machine faster by optimizing it.

Interestingly enough manufacturers are shipping some higher end machines with 3 gigs, 2x1024 and 2x512
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#5 Venek

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 09:31 PM

Oh I know my mobo supports it just fine, up to 8 GB of RAM (it's the eVGA 680i SLi motherboard).

Wish I had known about the 32-bit XP RAM limitation. Well, it DOES address 2.5 GB for some reason. Looks like I'll upgrade to Vista 64-bit when I buy 2 8800 GTs! :D

Now maybe I can see what DirectX 10 is all about. Also read NVIDIA will release software updates adding PhysX to existing GeForce 8-series cards (something about CUDA programming allows it).

Now I know what to spend my upcoming $600 tax rebate on! LOL!
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#6 usasma

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 09:17 AM

There are some known issues with the nVidia chipset and RAM - so I'd be careful with that. My Intel chipset recognized 3.26 gB out of 4 gB in Windows Vista 32 bit.
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.

#7 DaChew

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 09:22 AM

John,
wouldn't having 600 megs of video ram enter into the equation with XP?
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#8 Venek

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 09:43 AM

I've been reading up on this phenomenon for a bit now and am starting to get a clearer picture of what's going on. Because I have XP Home, which is only 32-bit, it apparently only reads up to 2 GB of RAM. However, somewhere in the XP updates, Microsoft included something called Physical Address Extension (or PAE) which is needed for DEP-supported hardware. The PAE is SUPPOSED to allow any 32-bit OS (I'm guessing at this) to read over 4 GB of RAM and use it. I read somewhere that since I have PAE but am still only reading 2.5 GB, it means my BIOS (or motherboard?) isn't capable of mapping out the RAM. As a result, I'm flashing my BIOS with the most recent update. I checked NVIDIA's website to see if I have the most recent nForce chipset driver, and it seems that I do as they haven't updated that since 2006.

Will post again to let you all know if the BIOS update worked or not.

P.S. Apparently XP not reading 4 GB of RAM and the whole PAE/DEP issue is a very worn path treaded by many people, it's all over the internet.

*EDIT: Regarding the video RAM, I've read in multiple places that XP will often substitute the video RAM (especially if there's a lot of it) and pretty much disregard the remaining RAM. PAE was supposed to have solved that problem, I think.

Edited by Venek, 23 February 2008 - 09:44 AM.

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#9 usasma

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 09:48 AM

It could apply to it - but it all depends on how the VRAM was allocated. It's been my understanding (without doing a bunch of research) that there is a problem with the nVidia chipsets and lot's of RAM (particularly with full slots) - so I'm guessing that it's a BIOS issue that nVidia is likely working on.

In some systems there are issues that affect DMA transfers when too much RAM is installed (but I don't think that that's the case with the 680i chipset).

I've seen systems online that need the /PAE switch set in order to recognize the RAM - although none of my systems have needed it (so I don't have experience with it)

I've read in an article from Microsoft that only 3 gB will be seen, but having seen several systems around 3.25 gB I wonder about the validity of that article. IME there's no easy way to tell if the RAM is even being used (or causing problems) without some sophisticated tools and a lot of time. It's much easier to run memtest and to look for subjective symptoms.

To make a long story short.... I dunno. :thumbsup:
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 Venek

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 10:08 AM

Thanks, but already ran CPU-Z and memtest and the RAM is fine. I just flashed the BIOS update and apparently that didn't do squat either (at least I updated it).

It's so confusing, everything I've been reading says XP Home should now be able to read and use all 4 GB of RAM, but in other places it says it won't because it's only a 32-bit OS and yet another saying my OS will use the video RAM too.

I probably should just forget about it and consider my machine future-proofed for Vista 64-bit.

Speaking of which, is there really a big difference between Basic and Home Premium besides bells and whistles?

Thanks.
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#11 usasma

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 10:22 AM

All 32 bit Operating Systems can utilize 4 gB of addressable memory space - and this is a bit different from 4 gB of RAM that's installed. So you'll never actually see the entire 4 gB in a 32 bit version of any OS (XP or Vista). I have seen it range from 2.5 to 3.6 gB in my travels across the web.

There are also issues about "overpopulating" systems with RAM. In some instances (mostly older motherboards) it will actually hurt the operation of the system (not your case because you've got a fairly new chipset). I suspect (but have not confirmed anywhere) that the system merely ignores the extra RAM - although in a "best case scenario" the system would still be using the RAM without reporting it.

Next is the issue with the nVidia chipsets and the issue of the populating all the slots. Once again, this is all conjecture based on what I've seen on the web and at work. If there is an issue with the nVidia chipset, is it tied to populating all 4 slots? If so, DaChew's suggestion of 2-2gB sticks may help.

When you flashed the BIOS, did you read the release notes? Did it mention a fix for misreading memory in Windows? If not, then the flash won't likely fix that issue.

Finally, there is some indication that this may not be just an nVidia issue - but I have no solid evidence to verify this (just a post or two that I've read while cruising the web for similar issues). Could it be an issue with certain BIOS's - or with certain chips on some motherboards? I dunno.

RAM and it's utilization is a complicated issue. First you've gotta consider how it's handled outside of Windows, then you've gotta consider how it's handled inside of Windows (or any other OS). There's a lot of stuff to learn, and I'm just beginning to grasp some of the concepts.
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.

#12 Venek

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 10:37 AM

Thanks usasma, I think what the whole thing boils down to is simply the fact that I have a 32-bit OS and it won't read all 4 GB of RAM. That's about the only consistent statement I've seen in my research. You're right that since I have a newer chipset, the extra RAM won't hurt my computer. I went to eVGA's website and was able to find a FAQ for exactly my problem (although the issue was with Vista 32-bit, not XP Home) and I'm guessing that my very expensive motherboard simply just doesn't support memory mapping and I'm forced to upgrade to a 64-bit OS if I want all 4 GB of my RAM recognized, which I plan to do eventually anyway. I'm just leery of all the problems I've been hearing about Vista, though and am afraid my rig will implode.

As for updating my BIOS, I did read the release notes and didn't see anything regarding memory mapping, but figured it couldn't hurt to update anyway since the release was just last month.

I understand some of the language regarding memory and bits, just enough to draw a theoretical and logical conclusion that satisfies my furrowed brow. I'm no programmer or anything, I'm just a gamer who wants a high-end rig to play Oblivion, COD4, Crysis, etc. with most, if not all, the eye candy! :thumbsup:

I consider this matter closed, thanks for all the input and help guys.
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