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2 GB RAM from physical 512 MB!!!


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6 replies to this topic

#1 Karzahni

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 06:04 AM

I have this old computer that always had 2 GB of RAM. I am 100% sure it did. It had 1 GB when new, and we got it upped by the computer shop to 2 GB. Because it is no longer in use, I have done some messing around on it. It has XP, so I tried creating an MS-DOS startup disc. Ever since I ran that it showed 512 MB. I just assumed DOS messed something up. May be a coincidence.

 

Today I decided to pull everything out that wasn't necessary, and do some troubleshooting with the RAM. I was going to pull both sticks out and put them back in to start. I read the stickers out of curiosity as to the clock speed of them and the brand. And they both read 256 MB.

 

I am 100% certain that this PC ran on 2 GB of RAM for the years we used it (since upping it). Every time it came on, the first thing the BIOS said was "2GB RAM".

 

This is one of the strangest things I've ever seen. Can anyone explain how a 512 MB PC could think it had 2 GB?

 

Asus P4B-M mobo

Intel Pentium 4 1.5 GHz

Windows XP Home Edition

One RAM module is "Legend 256MB PC133"

and the other "M PC133 256MB 133MHz"


"A lizard in the desert wouldn't eat that." ~Gordon Ramsay


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#2 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 11:35 AM

This is very curious and I will follow this thread. Maybe, (maybe) somehow it was using part of the hard drive as RAM. Of course that sounds unlikely, but I will be curious to see what others say.


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#3 Platypus

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 11:57 AM

Someone has whipped out the 2GB when you weren't around and substituted their feeble 512MB... :)

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#4 jonuk76

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 02:06 PM

This is very curious and I will follow this thread. Maybe, (maybe) somehow it was using part of the hard drive as RAM. Of course that sounds unlikely, but I will be curious to see what others say.

 

Well the disk is used as virtual memory, and that's been standard since the 386 and Windows 3,  but it wouldn't ever be counted as system RAM.  Some old applications gave confusing "memory free" figures including virtual memory though, IIRC.

 

Someone has whipped out the 2GB when you weren't around and substituted their feeble 512MB... :)

 

I was surprised to find Amazon still selling 1Gb PC133 DIMMs, for $228!  Might be worth someone's while at those prices.


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#5 Karzahni

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 05:50 PM

 

This is very curious and I will follow this thread. Maybe, (maybe) somehow it was using part of the hard drive as RAM. Of course that sounds unlikely, but I will be curious to see what others say.

 

Well the disk is used as virtual memory, and that's been standard since the 386 and Windows 3,  but it wouldn't ever be counted as system RAM.  Some old applications gave confusing "memory free" figures including virtual memory though, IIRC.

 

Someone has whipped out the 2GB when you weren't around and substituted their feeble 512MB... :)

 

I was surprised to find Amazon still selling 1Gb PC133 DIMMs, for $228!  Might be worth someone's while at those prices.

 

 

I knew someone would say it was swapped, but no one in the house would know how to do that.

 

One day I want to buy some RAM and max out the mobo at 3 GB as well as some other upgrades to see how far I can push the P4B.


"A lizard in the desert wouldn't eat that." ~Gordon Ramsay


#6 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 12 September 2015 - 05:59 PM

An interesting tale but googling the RAM part numbers you quote confirms that they are both 256MB modules.

 

XP would run on 256Mb of RAM and rather better on 512, I've got an old laptop here in exactly that state. It did a mountain of work for both my wife and me before it was retired from front line service but in comparison to either her present laptop or my desktop - neither of which have startling specs - it crawls.

 

If you are certain that nobody did a quiet switch on you while you weren't looking, then I fear you memory is playing you up.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#7 Karzahni

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 06:30 AM

An interesting tale but googling the RAM part numbers you quote confirms that they are both 256MB modules.

 

XP would run on 256Mb of RAM and rather better on 512, I've got an old laptop here in exactly that state. It did a mountain of work for both my wife and me before it was retired from front line service but in comparison to either her present laptop or my desktop - neither of which have startling specs - it crawls.

 

If you are certain that nobody did a quiet switch on you while you weren't looking, then I fear you memory is playing you up.

 

Chris Cosgrove

There is zero chance of anyone swapping it out. The only other two people in the house are my parents and they certainly wouldn't have done that.

 

It's weird that the RAM fixed itself now. That system has always been beautifully error free. 14 years old and not one BSOD, the inside is spotless too. It's been looked after.


"A lizard in the desert wouldn't eat that." ~Gordon Ramsay





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