RAM recognition problem - 2.7Gb (not 4Gb)

  splinternet 09:28 24 Feb 08

I have read some threads on this but they all seem to be from last year, so I wondered if there was new advice. Last week, I bought a new Advent laptop from PC World, with Vista Home Premium and 2Gb of RAM. At the point of purchase, I asked for the RAM to be increased to 4Gb - this involved replacing the 2 x 1Gb strips with 2 x 2Gb. Windows reports only 2.7Gb but the BIOS recognises the whole 4Gb. I read a MS KB article suggesting this was a reporting issue which was fixed in Vista SP1, but I'm having difficulty finding out if I've got SP1 installed - I've got automatic updates on and it reports that Windows is up to date, but no mention of SP1. So is Vista actually using all the 4Gb (or at least, 4Gb minus what the BIOS takes for graphics etc...)?

  crosstrainer 10:02 24 Feb 08

Version of Vista (which you almost certainly have) is not capable of recognising more than this amount of memory. Only the 64 bit variety will make use of it all, but that is rife with driver and software compatiblity issues.

The fact that your BIOS see's all the memory means it is present and not faulty.

As far as I know, SP1 will not make the 32 bit o/s extend it's memory usage.

  harps1h 10:16 24 Feb 08

any 32 bit OS such as your vista will only recognise a maximum of 3.25 gb whether or not you have more. it should actually be reporting 3.25, not 2.7. the last 0.75 gb is effectively lost inside the 32bit OS

  splinternet 10:18 24 Feb 08

Crosstrainer, when you say "...more than this amount of memory..." do you mean 4Gb or 2.7Gb? This article (click here) suggests Vista 32-bit version recognises 4Gb

  Totally-braindead 10:58 24 Feb 08

It is true that 32 bit windows will only recognise up to 4 gig and that includes the memory on a graphics card, now since you have a laptop it will almost certainly use part of the system memory so you shoule be seeing something like 3.5 gig not 2.7.

Clearly since the BIOS recognises it you do in fact have 4 gig of memory and you might find a BIOS update would solve this and then correctly recognise the amount of memory.

But (isn't there always a but!) I am unsure as to whether this would make any real difference, clearly from what you say it states it has 2.7 gig but even though it says that would it still be using the gig thats missing? I don't know I must admit. Flashing the BIOS, and I'm not saying this would solve it, is risky. Firstly you have to get the correct BIOS for your PC and if it goes wrong when you do it you can virtually destroy your computer as if done wrong it will no longer boot up.

To be honest with you I would try contacting the maker, saying what is wrong and ask for advice, if the computer is actually using all the memory and just not reporting it correctly then you could leave it.

  harps1h 13:24 24 Feb 08

For Windows Vista to use all 4 GB of memory on a computer that has 4 GB of memory installed, the computer must meet the following requirements: • The chipset must support at least 8 GB of address space. Chipsets that have this capability include the following:• Intel 975X
• Intel P965
• Intel 955X on Socket 775
• Chipsets that support AMD processors that use socket F, socket 940, socket 939, or socket AM2. These chipsets include any AMD socket and CPU combination in which the memory controller resides in the CPU.

• The CPU must support the x64 instruction set. The AMD64 CPU and the Intel EM64T CPU support this instruction set.
• The BIOS must support the memory remapping feature. The memory remapping feature allows for the segment of system memory that was previously overwritten by the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) configuration space to be remapped above the 4 GB address line. This feature must be enabled in the BIOS configuration utility on the computer. View your computer product documentation for instructions that explain how to enable this feature. Many consumer-oriented computers may not support the memory remapping feature. No standard terminology is used in documentation or in BIOS configuration utilities for this feature. Therefore, you may have to read the descriptions of the various BIOS configuration settings that are available to determine whether any of the settings enable the memory remapping feature.
• An x64 (64-bit) version of Windows Vista must be used.
Contact the computer vendor to determine whether your computer meets these requirements.

Note When the physical RAM that is installed on a computer equals the address space that is supported by the chipset, the total system memory that is available to the operating system is always less than the physical RAM that is installed. For example, consider a computer that has an Intel 975X chipset that supports 8 GB of address space. If you install 8 GB of RAM, the system memory that is available to the operating system will be reduced by the PCI configuration requirements. In this scenario, PCI configuration requirements reduce the memory that is available to the operating system by an amount that is between approximately 200 MB and approximately 1 GB. The reduction depends on the configuration.

this taken is directly off the microsoft website

  harps1h 13:34 24 Feb 08

the last point is the most crucial one " an x64 bit version of windows vista must be used" all 32 bit OS only recognise 3.25GB, that is why there is a push to try and direct the market to 64 bit, but it a bit like the betamax/vhs argument and the market is slow to move towards this direction. having used 64 bit XP i can understand the reticinse of the public to move to 64bit as even for XP there was a lack of support from many vendors and it caused me a few headaches. i would love to move to vista 64bit but for the reasons stated above i will hold on for up to a year before doing so. i should add that i am currently using vista ultimate

  splinternet 16:08 06 Apr 08

Further to the above answers, I have some more info about the laptop. The processor is "AMD Turion 64X2 Mobile Technology TL-60, 2000 Mhz, 2 Cores, 2 Logical Processors". BIOS Version/date is "Phoenix Technologies 1.04 21/12/2007". Total physical memory: 2,685Mb. Available physical memory: 1.66Gb. Total virtual memory: 5.44Gb. Available virtual memory: 4.47Gb. Page file space: 2.92Gb.

There are no instructions as to how to access the BIOS Configuration Utility.

  polish 16:23 06 Apr 08

sorry i cant help directly but since installing sp1 my computer now reads 4gb instead of 3.25gb as previously

  splinternet 16:30 06 Apr 08

Polish - did SP1 get installed as part of automatic updates, or did you have to do something specific to get it?

  anskyber 17:20 06 Apr 08

SP1 has now altered the way RAM is reported, note the word reported. So if there is 4 Gigs installed it will say 4 Gigs.

The key point is it does NOT alter the RAM available to the system which is still limited to 4Gigs including any other "mapped" RAM like the RAM used by your video card. Hence the previous lower figure which remains unchanged in SP1 in terms of usability.

So nothing has changed to release more RAM, it's just a presentation point.

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