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Bios and windows does not see all my ram

Posted on 2006-06-07
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My bios and windows xp will only see 2.68 gigs of the 3 gigs I have installed.

And yet SiSoftware Sandra can see it.

I have the 2 1gig sticks in the same coloured dimm slots and the 512's in the other 2 dimm slots.

The 2.68 seems a strange figure to show up as my video card has it's own 512 mem on the card and so it is not taking any on board memory from that.

I have an ecs pf5 extreme motherboard and can not find anything about the memory in the bios apart from setting the mhz setting.

I have upgraded the bios but this has made no difference

The 2 1 gigs are the same make and the 2 512's are a different make will this make a difference.

I have tried tech at ECS but they never respond to any emails or tech form on the website.

Any info would be a great help.
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Question by:alanaldis
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by:Callandor
ID: 16856347
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by:garycase
ID: 16856580
"... video card has it's own 512 mem on the card and so it is not taking any on board memory from that. " 

==> sure it is;  it's occupying that much of the ADDRESS SPACE, which cannot then be used to address "real" memory.  

The reason is simple:  A 32-bit address can only address 2^32 bytes (4GB).   In systems with nominal amounts of memory, you never realize this restriction, because XP allocates all of the system addresses (AGP apertures, BIOS shadowing, PCI I/O addresses, etc.) to the highest part of the address space (just under the 4GB barrier).   But all of those system addresses cannot be used for memory -- the good old physical law that two things can't occupy the same place at the same time :-)

So every system running a 32-bit OS will have this issue.  Exactly how much memory you can actually use depends on how much address space the particular system requires ==> if you have an SLI system with two video cards, it's easily possible that your system addresses could exceed 1GB of address space.   I'm a bit surprised that you're only seeing 2.68gb => I'd have thought with only one video card you' probably not encounter this issue with only 3GB (instead of 4) installed.   But your card DOES have 512mb; and obviously the overall system requirements for upper address space drop you down below the 3GB barrier.

Just be glad you didn't buy 4GB => you'd see the SAME amount of memory; and for technical reasons the memory MAY (depending on your system) have had to run slower.
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by:callrs
ID: 16857092
Try putting the 512Meg sticks where the 1Gig sticks are, & vice versa
In the older computers, that made a difference (the higher-end sticks MUST start at the first slot, before the lower-end ones).

Also, are the 512Meg sticks of lower memory speed than the 1Gig sticks? If so, that might make a difference..
I looked up the specs & it says: Memory 4x 240 Pin DDR2, Dual Channel DDR2 533/666, up to 4 GB
So apparently it can take 2 different speeds of Memory. Read the Motherboard manual to see if they say anything about memory type/speed etc. (Can get motherboard manual from company website or search on Google).
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by:garycase
ID: 16857183
This is not a memory recognition issue -- switching the sticks will have no bearing.   The system is "seeing" all of the memory => there is simply not enough address space available to use it all :-)
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by:Nerdx
ID: 16857282
Right click on My Computer and click Properties. Tell me how much RAM is counted there. If it is the same amount, it shouldnt be a problem and is normal as my computer has 512MB installed but displays it as 504MB - 8MB used for Windows XP etc. Seeing as you use around 4 dimm slots, there will obviously be a bit reduced.

>> The 2 1 gigs are the same make and the 2 512's are a different make will this make a difference.
No, it shouldn't make a difference unless one is DDR and the other is DDR2 - where one wouldn't be read at all.

I don't know too much about Hardware, but I know that your computer is fine and that you have installed it correctly.

Hope this helps - GL

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by:garycase
ID: 16857348
Nerdx -- different issues.

Your computer doesn't have the same issue at all.   If you have 512mb installed, but only see 504mb when you right-click, Properties, then you're using on-board video, which is taking up 8mb of your RAM.

In fact, any PC with up to 2GB should "see" all of the installed memory UNLESS it's using on-board video, which will take some of the RAM (typically 8mb to 128mb).   Once you install 3GB you MAY see the address-space limitation issue; and you WILL see it if you install 4GB.   But those are DIFFERENT issues than what you're seeing.

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by:Nerdx
ID: 16857361
Oh right, thank you for explaining that to me garycase. Hardware isn't really my TA :(

Sorry for the confusion...

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by:Callandor
ID: 16857497
By way of illustrating what Gary is talking about, I have an Asus A8R-MVP motherboard with 3GB of RAM running WinXP Home and I see all of it, and I don't even use the /3GB or /PAE switches in my boot.ini file.  It really depends on the motherboard.
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by:garycase
ID: 16858117
alanaldis - do you understand what's happening here?

... there MAY be some settings in the BIOS you can "tweak" that will change this (AGP aperture size, etc.);  but be careful doing so => and WRITE DOWN what they WERE before you change anything.

... but there's fundamentally nothing you can do about it ==> as I noted above, just be glad you only bought 3GB and not 4GB;   folks get really upset when they buy 4 and see 3 or less.   You're at least "seeing" almost all of yours :-)

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by:alanaldis
ID: 16859332
Thanks for all of the advice guys.

All the memory is the same speed and so on

It seems from what Garycase said that, that seems to be the issue.

What is more of a puzzle is that the bios does not see all of it.

I can understand that windows not being able to, as is the norm.

There are no other setting for the memory in the bios apart from the mhz setting.

Shame though that it can not be used, oh well I can always pop 1 gig over to another pc I guess.
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Author Comment

by:alanaldis
ID: 16859446
Just to add this is what Sandra reports.

SiSoftware Sandra

System
Host Name : MEDIACENTER
User : Alan Aldsis
Domain : WORKGROUP

Processor
Model : Intel(R) Pentium(R) D CPU 3.00GHz
Speed : 3.06GHz
Performance Rating : PR6734 (estimated)
Cores per Processor : 2 Unit(s)
Threads per Core : 1 Unit(s)
Type : Dual-Core
Internal Data Cache : 2x 16kB Synchronous, Write-Thru, 8-way set, 64 byte line size
L2 On-board Cache : 2x 2MB ECC Synchronous, ATC, 8-way set, 64 byte line size, 2 lines per sector

Mainboard
Bus(es) : ISA PCI PCIe IMB USB FireWire/1394 i2c/SMBus
MP Support : 1 Processor(s)
MP APIC : Yes
System BIOS : American Megatrends Inc. 8.12
System : ECS PF5
Mainboard : ECS PF5
Total Memory : 2.6GB DDR2-SDRAM

Chipset 1
Model : Elitegroup Computer Sys 82945P Memory Controller Hub (MCH)
Front Side Bus Speed : 4x 204MHz (816MHz data rate)
Total Memory : 3GB DDR2-SDRAM
Memory Bus Speed : 4x 136MHz (544MHz data rate)

Video System
Desktop Monitors/Panels : 2
Monitor/Panel : Default Monitor
Monitor/Panel : Default Monitor
Monitor/Panel : Default Monitor
Monitor/Panel : Plug and Play Monitor
Adapter : NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS 512 megs

Physical Storage Devices
Removable Drive : Floppy disk drive
Hard Disk : HDT722516DLA380 (153GB)
Hard Disk : HDT722516DLA380 (153GB)
Hard Disk : Maxtor 6L300S0 (279GB)
Hard Disk : WDC WD800JD-22LSA0 (75GB)
Hard Disk : ZNS Disk Disk Device SCSI Disk Device (186GB)
Hard Disk : WDC WD32 00JB-00KFA0 USB Device
Hard Disk : WDC WD32 00JB-00KFA0 USB Device
CD-ROM/DVD : LITE-ON DVDRW SHW-1635S USB Device

Logical Storage Devices
1.44MB 3.5" (A:) : N/A
Main (C:) : 59GB (47GB, 79% Free Space) (NTFS)
HD 1 (D:) : 180GB (3GB, 2% Free Space) (NTFS)
HD 2 (E:) : 100GB (49GB, 49% Free Space) (NTFS)
HD 3 (F:) : 153GB (50GB, 32% Free Space) (NTFS)
HD 4 (G:) : 198GB (82GB, 41% Free Space) (NTFS)
HD 5 (H:) : 279GB (19GB, 7% Free Space) (NTFS)
HD 6 (I:) : 118GB (118GB, 100% Free Space) (NTFS)
HD 7 (J:) : 153GB (86GB, 56% Free Space) (NTFS)
Backup (K:) : 15GB (15GB, 98% Free Space) (NTFS)
CD-ROM/DVD (L:) : N/A
Network drive 1 (N:) : 184GB (76GB, 41% Free Space) (DATAPLOW_ZFS)

Peripherals
Serial/Parallel Port(s) : 2 COM / 0 LPT
USB Controller/Hub : NEC PCI to USB Open Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : NEC PCI to USB Open Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : Standard Enhanced PCI to USB Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : VIA Rev 5 or later USB Universal Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : VIA Rev 5 or later USB Universal Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : VIA USB Enhanced Host Controller
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801GB USB Universal Host Controller - 27C8
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801GB USB Universal Host Controller - 27C9
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801GB USB Universal Host Controller - 27CA
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801GB USB Universal Host Controller - 27CB
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801GB USB2 Enhanced Host Controller - 27CC
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : Generic USB Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Composite Device
USB Controller/Hub : eHome Infrared Receiver
USB Controller/Hub : USB Composite Device
USB Controller/Hub : USB Mass Storage Device
USB Controller/Hub : USB Mass Storage Device
USB Controller/Hub : USB Composite Device
USB Controller/Hub : USB Mass Storage Device
FireWire/1394 Controller/Hub : VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
Keyboard : HID Keyboard Device
Keyboard : Microsoft eHome Remote Control Keyboard keys
Keyboard : Microsoft eHome MCIR Keyboard
Keyboard : Microsoft eHome MCIR 109 Keyboard
Keyboard : HID Keyboard Device
Mouse : HID-compliant mouse
Mouse : HID-compliant mouse
Mouse : HID-compliant mouse
Human Interface : HID-compliant consumer control device
Human Interface : HID-compliant consumer control device
Human Interface : HID-compliant device
Human Interface : HID-compliant device
Human Interface : HID-compliant consumer control device
Human Interface : HID-compliant device
Human Interface : HID-compliant device
Human Interface : HID-compliant device
Human Interface : Microsoft eHome Infrared Transceiver
Human Interface : USB Human Interface Device
Human Interface : USB Human Interface Device
Human Interface : USB Human Interface Device
Human Interface : USB Human Interface Device
Human Interface : USB Human Interface Device

Printers and Faxes
Model : Microsoft Office Document Image Writer

Power Management
AC Line Status : On-Line

Operating System(s)
Windows System : Microsoft Windows XP/2002 Professional (Win32 x86) 5.01.2600 (Service Pack 2)(Media Center

Network Services
Adapter : TE100-PCBUSR 32-Bit Cardbus PC Card
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by:callrs
callrs earned 800 total points
ID: 16860469
OK, I pondered over statement from http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/mainboard/ecs-pf5-extreme-i945p.html -->"...the total memory capacity in both channels must be the same...".

Then read manual from http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWeb/Products/ProductsDetail.aspx?MenuID=93&LanID=0&DetailID=526&DetailName=FAQ -->
Dual-channel DDR2 DIMM sockets These four 240-pin DIMM sockets support up to 4GB system memory using unbuffered DDR2 400/ 533/667 DDR DIMMs. Note: Users please note that when using DDR2 400, the motherboard supports FSB800/533 MHz only

Table A: Recommended dual-channel DDR2 configurations
DIMM1 DIMM2 DIMM3 DIMM4 Dual-Channel
  *                    *                      *
            *                    *            *
   *       *         *         *            *
Notes: When using dual channel mode, install only same (same density, DRAM technology and DRAM bus width) module for each dual channel.
Memory module install into one or any four sockets will function in single channel mode.
<--

Then read about dual-channel: http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/CS-011965.htm  Desktop Boards - Single / Dual Channel Memory Modes -->
The following conditions do not need to be met:
Same brand
Same timing specifications
Same DDR speed
<--

But none of the above applied to your situation as you have the proper memory in its proper place...

---------Then I decided enough is enough: as a hardware wiz, I gotta find the answer! So here it is! : )
Basically, the system, or  "hardware design specification", reserves some addresses for PCI devices (the more used, the more memory that's reserved), AGP, BIOS, etc.. Full answers below to three related questions:

Quote: http://club.aopen.com.tw/forum/viewmessage.asp?forumID=17&MessageID=85107
Q: I have an i915Ga-e motherboad with what I believe is the latest bios, an Intel P4 3.4ghz precessor and have installed 4gb of DDR-400 ram. My problem is that only 3gb seem to be recognized. All of the memory tests ok. Any help?
A: It seems your problem similar to this: http://club.aopen.com.tw/faq/FAQ_ShowAnswer.aspx?Language=English&RecNo=7219
Hope this will address to your problem.
Regards...

Quote: http://club.aopen.com.tw/faq/FAQ_ShowAnswer.aspx?Language=English&RecNo=7219
Q7219: Why is 3.7GByte memory size shown on the post screen when I have 4GByte memory in the system?
Intel 915/945 chipset has defined to support the max memory size to 4GByte, but the H/W design still reserves some addresses for PCI, AGP, BIOS, and etc. Thus, the BIOS reserves those locations near the address at 4GByte and shows 3.7Gbyte. If the more PCI devices have been used on the board, the less physical memory size is workable.
Please also refer to our FAQ#5562. The same thing happened to Intel 865/875.

Quote: http://club.aopen.com.tw/faq/FAQ_ShowAnswer.aspx?RecNo=5562
Q5562: Why the memory size can't be detected to 4GByte when I plug in 4 x 1GByte memory module? The first post screen display the memory string is only 3.7GByte memory size I have.
The INTEL 865/875 chipset has defined to support the max memory size to 4GByte, but the H/W design specification should reserve some address for PCI, AGP, BIOS, etc device and BIOS set the first priority reserve location is near the address of 4GByte.
Basically, the normal memory size will be detected on 3.7GByte by basical configuration of PC devices.
If the more PCI devices have been used on the board, the less physical memory size is workable.

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by:callrs
callrs earned 800 total points
ID: 16860799
64Bit boards: They would overcome the limitation, no? Since they deal with terabytes rather than gigabytes.

---
Strange that the ecs p5f extreme manual fails to state exactly how much RAM will be recognized. Shame on Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) for not giving the needed specs...And even when you search on their website FAQ for an answer, you do get one: for the p4f not for the p5f. But judging by your problem, the following appears to apply to the p5f as well:


Quote: http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWeb/Support/FAQ_Answer.aspx?&FAQID=50622022&MenuID=46&LanID=0
PF4 v1.0 with 4G memory issue
 
Question
Why we put 4x1GB memory with only PCI-E 16x vga card without any other PCI cards, Dos still detect 288358MB at boot up and Windows detects
2.75GB.
 
Answer
The other PCI devices and PCI-E Aperture size will occupy 2.75G-3.5G address. Please refer Intel(R) Chipset 4 GB System Memory Support, Revision 1.0. page 8. about the memory issue you mentioned (from Intel).

On the basis of traditional PC (Personal Computer) system structure, because the system will keep some address for PCI and some devices. So, the system can not fully use the 4G memory. The capacity of CPU address can be up to 2 basically ^ 32 =4G (0ffffffffh) address, but the PCI device need to use some address. In order to prevent the resource conflict, the system will consider that the real memory space decrease the PCI resource occupied memory space. Because of the special-purpose address, this is why the maximum memory is seen less than the real memory. And then the Maximum Main Memory Address Range is 3.5G. If you insert PCI-E card / PCI card the memory will reduce again. So show 2.xG is OK.
 

http://www.ecs.com.tw/dlfile/faq_file/ECS/50622022/4GB_Rev1.zip
Intel® Chipset 4 GB System Memory Support
White Paper, February 2005, Revision 1.0
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Author Comment

by:alanaldis
ID: 16861107
Thanks for all you info and it look's like that is the problem. Shame that this is not made any clearer in the manual and so on.

Don't get me wrong the PC's run's very quick would have just like to have seen the 3gig's there.

I have to say ECS support is not as good as some.

I will be changing the board soon anyway so I will do my research a bit more harder that time.

Thanks agian.
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by:callrs
ID: 16861268
3Gig or 4Gig installed: the BIOS will only see 2.84 Gig, according to that White Paper, unless you have "Intel® enterprise chipsets" that "have remapping capability" and an OS that can address more than 4Gig of memory.

Also, on page 11, Intel advises that the  BIOS should say exactly how much RAM is in the system, how much is used by motherboard resources, and how much is available to the Operating System.

To do:
1) alanaldis, a question for curiosity's sake: Does your computer tell you all this info as Intel recommends?

2) I can't find that White Paper at the Intel site, but it's available at the ecs & other motherboard sites! If someone can find it at www.intel.com, please post the link here. I searched at Intel &through Google, frustratingly fruitlessly. Why so hard to find an Intel doc at Intel? Hmm.

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garycase earned 200 total points
ID: 16861580
callrs - as I noted in my 1st post, this is a well-known issue; and is simply a matter of the restriction caused by a 32-bit address space and the need for the system to reserve space for PCI mapping, interrupts, AGP apertures, BIOS shadowing, PCI I/O addresses, etc.   I wrote a fairly long, much more detailed answer to this a few months ago, but couldn't find it in a quick review of my answers -- I'll look again and MAY post it  (otherwise feel free to scan through my answers and look for it).   The Intel white paper you already found discusses about as much detail as you really need to know -- the key is to recognize that this IS going to happen, and there's nothing you can do about it :-)    On some systems using the /PAE switch will remap and recover some of the memory with the additional 4 address bits; but not all systems work correctly with /PAE, and the extra memory access overhead is not, IMHO, worth the small gain in useable memory in most cases.

alanaldis - Do you have any further questions about this?   It is a shame the motherboard manaufacturers don't make it a bit clearer in their manuals that you won't "see" all of the memory in the upper address space.

By the way, SiSoft is reporting the correct amount:

Note in the "Mainboard" section:
Total Memory : 2.6GB DDR2-SDRAM

In the "Chipset 1" section it shows the 3GB you actually have installed, but this is just reporting the SPD information from the memory modules.
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by:callrs
ID: 16861932
Re: and there's nothing you can do about it :-)
Correction: and there's nothing you can do about it :-(
LOL
Actually, just move to a better board, like 64 bit etc., since 4Gig limits in my opinion are close to obsolete (though I'm still using P1s & P2s lol). Like CD writers gave way to DVD writers.
You had it right Gary. Thanks.  But the extra info, links, and references do us good. :)
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by:garycase
ID: 16862123
"... just move to a better board ..." ==> ALL boards will have this issue (as long as we're running 32-bit OS's).   Some do support more memory than others; and the amount lost is also influenced by the graphics card (or cards -- SLI setups use a LOT of your address space).

If you never want to encounter the issue, just don't install more than 2GB of RAM.   ... and I would certainly never install more than 3GB on a current motherboard.

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by:callrs
ID: 17028324
Recommend even split between garycase & callrs, based on direct answers/references in these posts:
G:  "... video card....." ==> sure it is;  it's occupying that much of the ADDRESS SPACE
C:  OK, I pondered over statement ...
C: 64Bit boards: They would overcome the limitation,...
C: 3Gig or 4Gig installed: the BIOS will only see 2.84 Gig...
G: callrs - as I noted in my 1st post, this is a well-known issue..
G: "... just move to a better board ..." ==> ALL boards will have this issue
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