Desktop Memory not reading correctly

Hi,

 I have 2 sticks of 2GB memory each on my motherboard. In the proporties for My Computer it shows 4GB. But in the task manager it reads the total as 2557 (2037 cached and 41 free) Kernal reads 204 total, and 135 paged. When I use programs, italmost fills as i approach 2GB of used memory and the page filing starts. The PC slows down and sometimes crashes if I run graphic intensive programs such as online games. I am sure the memory is the problem, I have updated all the drivers to the motherboard from their site. I have a XFX nForce 680i LT SLI Motherboard, running Vista 32bit. I have the
 I think there is a way I can change settings somewhere, it must be set to 2.5GB, i should be able to increase it, this motherboard supports I think 6 or 8 GB of memory.

Would greatly appreciate any help.

Thanks
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MikeMCSDAsked:
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
In a 32-bit operating system, 4 GB is the absolute limit.  Even if the motherboard supports more memory, it only supports it for 64-bit CPUs running a 64-bit operating system.

Several Intel chipsets have a barrier even lower than 4 GB.  To eliminate conflicts with AGP and PCI video devices, many chipsets cut off memory at 3.25 GB.

If Windows reports that the system has 4 GB available, then the chipset addresses all 4 GB of memory, Windows sees it, and there is no memory setting in BIOS that will make it see more.
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dbruntonCommented:
What graphics cards are you running?  I'm suspecting that those are chewing up the missing 1.5 Gb of memory.

Give us brand and amount of memory they have.
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jamietonerCommented:
If you want to use all 4Gb of ram you'll need a 64-bit OS or a server os that supports PAE.
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CallandorCommented:
As dbrunton said, if you have a video card with large amounts of RAM on it, it will have to be mapped in memory and this is subtracted from your available 4GB.  In any event, Windows 32-bit programs are limited to 2GB memory.
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MikeMCSDAuthor Commented:
I have the GeForce 8600 GT witn 512MB Video Memory.  I always thought it would add to the memory, not reduce it! Maybe its time for a new PC!
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CallandorCommented:
I think you are confusing memory address space with memory storage.  In order to access any kind of memory, the cpu uses an "address book" which tells it where the item resides.  In a 32-bit system, there are only 4GB of addresses available, regardless of how much physical RAM is installed.  When you install devices like video cards with lots of video RAM, that video RAM can only be accessed if it is within the 4GB address space.  If you have 4GB of physical RAM, it means that address space for the video card can't be used for RAM.

As others have said, a 64-bit OS would resolve this.
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dbruntonCommented:
What is possible is that the 8600 card is using shared memory as well.  In this case it is using main memory as well as memory on the card.

You would have to check your card's documentation and settings to see if it is doing this.  Look for references for Turbocache as well.
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MikeMCSDAuthor Commented:
thanks all
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