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I need help understanding Max RAM that can be used


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#1 Ron_T

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 12:49 PM

Hi Everyone,

My very first post here. I tried to search for this, but didn't find anything.

 

I have a Gateway FX6840 desktop system running Windows7 Home Professional. 

The SPECS on this computer say that it supports a max of 8GB of RAM.  However, when I bought it, I had the store upgrade the RAM to 16GB and that's working just fine.

There are 4 RAM slots on the motherboard. 

 

I want to know if I can further upgrade to 32GB by putting an 8GB card into each of the four slots.

 

Gateway customer support is non-existant because the system is out-of-warranty.  Their website directs me to the Acer website, whose help staff can't answer a question about an out-of-warranty Gateway system.

 

All I know of the computer is that it has an "Intel Series 5" chipset and that I'm currently happily running with 16GB of RAM. 

 

Can I buy 4x 8GB of DDR3 1333 RAM and replace the memory I have now? 

 

Thank you! 

 

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#2 Drillingmachine

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 12:56 PM

Usually written memory limits are based on memory sticks that are available. Ie. if no 4GB sticks are available, it's hard to promise support for 4*4 GB memory and so they promised only 4*2 GB.

8GB sticks should work, but there are always slight doubt about that one.

#3 Kilroy

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 03:15 PM

When I have memory questions I ask Crucial.  They verify that 8GB is the max for your system.  If you got 16GB working it it, you're lucky, I doubt 32GB would work.  I'd suggest putting the money towards a new computer rather than attempting to keep a non-supported machine working.  If you do purchase 8GB modules I'd recommend making sure that you can return them if they don't work.



#4 Drillingmachine

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 03:55 PM

Crucial takes their info straight from manufacturer so that doesn't help at all. There are many examples of running 48GB on even older LGA1366 platform (6*8GB sticks). Those are not officially supported but as they work, who cares.

I agree that you should ask if you can return them in case they won't work.

#5 Ron_T

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 01:26 AM

Thanks guys!  I've found a source for Kingston RAM.  I'll just give it a try and like you both said, return it if it doesn't work.  According to the supplier, it should returnable. 

Nothing to lose, I guess! 



#6 Platypus

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 02:33 AM

What CPU is in the system? The memory controller is onboard the CPU, so one of the hard limits will be the spec of the controller.

 

16GB occurs as one limit quoted for FX6840:

 

https://www.cnet.com/au/products/gateway-fx-6840-15e-core-i7-870-2-93ghz/specs/

 

Another hard limit is the number of physical memory address lines implemented in the design of the mainboard, although that is almost never straightforward to discover. If the 32GB doesn't work, that is probably the reason why, if the CPU spec supports >16GB.


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#7 Drillingmachine

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 09:47 AM

What CPU is in the system? The memory controller is onboard the CPU, so one of the hard limits will be the spec of the controller.

 

Hard limits are basically determined by largest memory module available. So if 4 GB module is biggest, then 16GB is max with 4 sticks. If there are 8 GB modules, then 32GB is max etc.

 

https://ark.intel.com/products/48496/Intel-Core-i5-760-Processor-8M-Cache-2_80-GHz

 

Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 16 GB

 

But with 8GB sticks 32GB seem to work https://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php/509530-2x8gb-on-lga1156?s=1e766da571897b34b14e89736cec141b&p=10900533&viewfull=1#post10900533

 

Also LGA1366 CPU's support only 24GB but http://wp.xin.at/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/48gb_cpu-z.png


Edited by Drillingmachine, 01 November 2017 - 09:48 AM.


#8 Ron_T

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 03:15 PM

What CPU is in the system? The memory controller is onboard the CPU, so one of the hard limits will be the spec of the controller.

 

16GB occurs as one limit quoted for FX6840:

 

https://www.cnet.com/au/products/gateway-fx-6840-15e-core-i7-870-2-93ghz/specs/

 

Another hard limit is the number of physical memory address lines implemented in the design of the mainboard, although that is almost never straightforward to discover. If the 32GB doesn't work, that is probably the reason why, if the CPU spec supports >16GB.

It's got an i7/860 CPU.  According to the spec sheet for the processor, it looks like it won't support more than 16GB.   Sad face.    I just got the memory in the mail today but it doesn't appear that it's worth breaking the seal. 

I thought the memory limitation was a function of the operating system. I didn't realize it was based on the CPU chip.   I should probably upgrade the system but I'm running old versions of Lightroom and Photoshop that Adobe doesn't sell anymore. I'm not sure the old installers, which rely on downloaded content from Adobe, will still be able to install these legacy programs.    Oh well, at least the HDD was upgraded to SSD. 



#9 Drillingmachine

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 03:45 PM

It's got an i7/860 CPU.  According to the spec sheet for the processor, it looks like it won't support more than 16GB.   Sad face.    I just got the memory in the mail today but it doesn't appear that it's worth breaking the seal. 
I thought the memory limitation was a function of the operating system. I didn't realize it was based on the CPU chip.   I should probably upgrade the system but I'm running old versions of Lightroom and Photoshop that Adobe doesn't sell anymore. I'm not sure the old installers, which rely on downloaded content from Adobe, will still be able to install these legacy programs.    Oh well, at least the HDD was upgraded to SSD.


Check my post above. Two examples of CPU's that "support only 16/32GB" but 32/48GB works. i7-860 "supports" 16Gb just because when CPU was released, there were no 8GB sticks, only 4GB ones. And 4*4GB = 16GB. When 8GB sticks were available (4*8GB=32GB), Intel didn't bother to update CPU page.

Somewhat same issue as early AM3+ boards had. Some promised support for 32GB and some for only 16GB. Just because 32GB was impossible with 4GB sticks. And suddenly when 8GB sticks were available, some "max 16GB" boards got support for 32GB but some still supported 16GB :grinner:

So, there is good chance that 32GB works.


Edited by Drillingmachine, 01 November 2017 - 03:47 PM.


#10 Platypus

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 01:37 AM

I agree that if the memory is returnable if it doesn't work, then it's worth trying just to be sure. It's the only way to be certain.

 

As CataclysmZA notes in Drillingmachine's first link, the BIOS does have to know how to correctly allocate the memory density being used. So even if the 32GB doesn't work at first attempt, it could still be an issue that a BIOS update could solve, if there is an update available.


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#11 Drillingmachine

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 01:47 AM

Yep, there may be problems with BIOS or motherboard but there is very rarely exact absolute limit for max memory on CPU/motherboard like "if over 16GB memory is detected, CPU/motherboard refuses to work".

 

There are absolute limits for maximum memory on Windows operating systems but that's different story.


Edited by Drillingmachine, 02 November 2017 - 02:33 AM.


#12 Platypus

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 02:15 AM

Drillingmachine, you and I seem to be using the hard limit description in somewhat different ways. By hard limit, I mean an insurmountable limit that is set by the design of hardware, such as the 64GB limit from i-series CPU's memory controller, because it has a 36 bit address bus. I don't think of things like a memory density as a hard limit if the higher density will work in the same platform when it comes along, but just for now non-availability creates a limit.


Edited by Platypus, 02 November 2017 - 02:15 AM.

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#13 Drillingmachine

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 02:33 AM

That's exactly what I'm trying to mean but I cannot figure what's correct term in this case. Limit that cannot be exceeded because there is limitation that prevents it even if it's not necessarily hardware based. Perhaps just limit is better term but just saying limit leaves slight doubt if it's absolute limit or not. That sounds better, fixed.



#14 Ron_T

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 06:25 PM

 

It's got an i7/860 CPU.  According to the spec sheet for the processor, it looks like it won't support more than 16GB.   Sad face.    I just got the memory in the mail today but it doesn't appear that it's worth breaking the seal. 
I thought the memory limitation was a function of the operating system. I didn't realize it was based on the CPU chip.   I should probably upgrade the system but I'm running old versions of Lightroom and Photoshop that Adobe doesn't sell anymore. I'm not sure the old installers, which rely on downloaded content from Adobe, will still be able to install these legacy programs.    Oh well, at least the HDD was upgraded to SSD.


Check my post above. Two examples of CPU's that "support only 16/32GB" but 32/48GB works. i7-860 "supports" 16Gb just because when CPU was released, there were no 8GB sticks, only 4GB ones. And 4*4GB = 16GB. When 8GB sticks were available (4*8GB=32GB), Intel didn't bother to update CPU page.

Somewhat same issue as early AM3+ boards had. Some promised support for 32GB and some for only 16GB. Just because 32GB was impossible with 4GB sticks. And suddenly when 8GB sticks were available, some "max 16GB" boards got support for 32GB but some still supported 16GB :grinner:

So, there is good chance that 32GB works.

 

The manufacturer wrote me back and said that if I DON'T open the package, it's returnable but if I break the seal, they can't take it back.    Ugh.  It's a $260 gamble....     I hope that you're right and Intel just didn't update their i7/860 spec.  

I have to finish editing some wedding photos before I shut the machine down and open it up.  I may wait a week before I attempt this.    Thanks again for the help everyone! 



#15 MadmanRB

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 10:01 PM

Nah i wouldn't muck with it, return the ram.


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