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Bypassing the RAM limit

By wh0rehey21 ยท 15 replies
Jan 5, 2015
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  1. Let's start off will a short little story about my life. At the beginning of December last year my laptop, HP pavilion Touchsmart 15" sleekbook, decided to go to ****. First indications pointed to the hard drive and when I called HP they said I needed to buy their $130 replacement to rectify my problems. Being fairly tech savvy and having a curiosity of how things work I decided to figure out a different solution. I found out that it was a problem with the boot files in windows. I used a rescue .iso from linux and saved some important stuff but I made a few mistakes and lost most everything else. I got a clean version of windows 8.1 enterprise and restored my PC. Everything was going fine I was slowly building back to the previous functionality I had gotten to over a year. Then on Christmas my hard drive crashed and the computer couldn't even boot. The drive was unrecognizable. I bought a replacement (upgrade) and I decided I wanted to get the most out of my rebuild so I ordered some more RAM...I was running on 6GB from the manufacturer there was a 4GB and 2GB in my motherboard. I didn't think there would be a limit to how much RAM I could use with windows 8 x64 bit, so I bought an 8GB module thinking I could double my RAM and run SolidEdge more smoothly and who knows what else. Unfortunately, I have recently learned that I am limited to 8GB of RAM with this specific chipset processor is AMD A6-4455m APU

    Screenshot (3).

    My knowledge is fairly limited compared to those that do this stuff professionally or are avid hobbyists. I would like to think that there is a way to get my system to use all of the memory I have provided it. I have been reading into it and I am still unsure as to why the chipset is limited to only having access to a certain amount of RAM. If it's x64 or x86 architecture there is no reason it shouldn't be able to access the upper limit of 64GB of RAM. If a x32 bit architecture utilizing PAE can technically use 64GB what limits a literal x64 bit build to such a low cap? My computer can "knows" how much is there. Windows only shows me 7.47GB is available when both sticks are mounted. both.
    When I have just either the 4GB or 8GB inserted it only shows 3.74GB although I remember seeing exactly 4GB at one point I can't get it to duplicate.
    just one.

    When I have the stock (what came installed this PC was refurbished before I took ownership) RAM installed it shows 6GB but I didn't take a screenshot of that.

    In any case you can see on the first image that the computer sees all of the 12GB but for some stupid reason it only has access to 7.47GB and I am not going to give up without a fight. YOU WILL USE WHAT I GIVE YOU AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like there is a powerful computer somewhere on my lap, but it is just hiding within this thin black plastic case. IDK maybe I'm completely wrong. Someone please help.
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,173   +3,263

    If your motherboard is limited to 4GB per memory slot there is not much you can do.

    What does the system report with only the 8GB stick in the machine? Does it read 4GB, the full 8GB, or does it not boot at all?
  3. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 539   +164

    Your thinking this is a Windows problem, when its actually a hardware problem, the only workaround is to replace the hardware. Those programs that are telling you that there is 12gb of memory installed are just telling you the memory sticks that are installed, counting the banks and what not. Whats happening is the memory controller on the CPU itself can see that there is a 8gb and a 4gb chip installed but it can only access 8gb worth of the memory banks and that's what it allocates to the OS to use. The reason for the 7.xgb being the amount available is the remaining amount of the 8.0gb mark is used by your gpu that's on the CPU.
  4. wh0rehey21

    wh0rehey21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    @cliffordcooley I posted an image showing that when I have just one stick either the 4gb or 8gb installed it only reads 3.47gb. And @GeforcerFX *You're. No, I am not that dim. I realize it's a hardware issue. I'm concerned with the hardware being built such that it can access 64gb and yet it is not able to utilize that amount. I know why the full amount of the maximum limit is not shown. I want to know what causes these limitations within the hardware. I just can't fathom a logical reason why it would only have access to a certain amount below the 64gb that it is technically capable of using. There was a work around developed for x32 bit wide hardware (physical address extension or PAE) that allowed it to use 64gb. I'm wondering if there isn't a similar solution for x64 bit architecture. Upon reading through the linked wiki page it suggests that x86-64 bit architecture is capable of accessing 4petabytes of physical memory. So it really can't be a hardware limitation...it's a manufacturer limitation. We are all getting screwed if I am understanding everything correctly.
  5. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 539   +164

    No your not getting screwed you bought a low-end CPU, therefore you have a low-end Memory controller that can only access 8GB of RAM. Even the highest end consumer chip on the market today the 5960x can only access 64gb of RAM. AMD only does up to 32GB and its only on there high end CPUs.
  6. wh0rehey21

    wh0rehey21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did a little more reading and found out some things for myself. Also polled a family member who is pretty into this stuff. There seems to be a direct correlation between the number of bus lanes and the amount of memory that is accessible... I will be making a new post with a few new concerns and a little bit better understanding of the inner workings of a computer.
  7. wh0rehey21

    wh0rehey21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay. So here's the scoop. We all know that technology has made leaps and bounds in recent years (decades). It's no surprise that our computers are getting faster and faster. Too often though, our software developers are a little bit ahead of their time. Or should I say that we consumers are power hungry and devour too much process for our hardware to handle. Well I'd like to discuss and query the nitty gritty details about some of the hardware limitations we face with certain builds.

    If you were cool enough to read my last (and first) post you already know a bit about the situation I am in. I will go over it briefly and give a little more detail here. My hard drive crashed and I did some digging and got it running again on a clean version of windows 8.1 enterprise. I was slowly getting it set up the way I had it before the crash (minus some non essential data) and then it bit the dust for good. I decided to go with an upgrade whilst I had everything torn apart. I doubled my storage, doubled my cache, doubled the write speed, and increased the RPM by a third. I thought why not slap some more RAM in this mobo too. I could use more room to move while I am drafting. I'm in school right now, but soon I'd like to see myself drafting for industry, where I will likely be using the internet for email, parts/files, research, and I'll probably have other office like programs open at the same time. But being a noob I didn't check the max RAM limit. Although, I did make sure it was the right KIND of RAM. Consequently, my noob fail brought me to do some more research on the matter. I am as much a tinkerer as I am noob, so I have committed myself to learning about my mistake and finding a solution that resolves my inefficient RAM access.

    I've soaked up a lot of info in the last 48 or so hours, so bear with me. What follows are excerpts from a convo I have been carrying with a techy family member.

    ME--Sweet. I'm modding my laptop a bit since the hard drive completely bit the dust on Christmas. I put a new (upgraded) hard drive in and I got some more RAM thinking I could double the 6gb I already had with no problem since I'm running on x64 architecture. Unfortunately, I found out that it can only access 8gb max. Idk if you would have a better explanation for that than I have found in tech forums or not but to me it just doesn't make sense why a x64 wide processor is limited so much when technically a x32 processor running on PAE can access 64gb.
    HIM--The 8gb limit is common and stupid. In reality it boils down to manufacturing costs. The choke point is at the data buses. It is costly to add bus lines because they have to upgrade every peice of hardware between the CPU and ram. Even if you dig hard and get a high end mother board that supports ram, you may find that a ram drive might be cheaper and it can access terabytes of ram. When I get some cash in a few months, I will be building a freak machine. The plan is to put money onto a few gigabytes of high speed ram and get a board with a best sata I can find and hook slow but cheap ram via ram drive.
    ME--So there wouldn't be a way to switch out the processor and chipset to gain access to more RAM if the buses don't already exist on the motherboard? I'm trying to find a schematic to my PoS proprietary hp board which looks like it was manufactured by palwonn. Haven't had any luck. I have an AMD a6-4455m apu with an a70m chipset. It looks like there isn't much choice for an upgrade in the chipset department. But even if I could find compatible upgrades there is no way to tell if there will be a gain in accessible RAM unless I knew if the board supported it, right?
    I'm super wikied out, but I think I may have stumbled on to something. Newer tech has begun to do away with the southbridge and replaced it with the Platform controller hub (PCH) which is now linked to the northbridge with a unified media interface or UMI (AMD). So with my a70m fusion controller hub (the PCH or southbridge) I have a x4 gen 1 UMI which is based on PCIe 1.1 x 4 lanes at 1gb/s bandwidth. Is that a limiting factor? In other words would a better processor with a beefier northbridge still be limited to 8gb of ram by that specific chipset?
    On another note, would a compatible upgrade for the a70m with an updated UMI allow access to more RAM or would there be restrictions within the mobo itself that would nullify a newer chipset?

    Along with any answers to the questions already posed in the conversation, I'd like to get some opinions or insight on a few more topics if it's not too much trouble for anyone. Firstly, as I already stated I'm having trouble finding any mapping schematics for my MoBo. All CPUid tells me is that it is an HP 193b. I looked up what I could find on HP's website but the only real useful item I have come across so far is the part number - 709174-501. Here is a picture of the bottom of it with the components labeled as best as I can tell.
    If anyone has any info on changing out the CPU and/or PCH on this board or OEM boards in general and would like to share that would be much appreciated. If all you can do to help is find me a wiring diagram/schematic/mapping layout anything at all, that would be a start at least.

    Another question is whether the APU with an integrated GPU is better than a CPU with a discrete GPU that has dedicated memory instead of having to allocate physical memory to different set of processes at the same time as all other data processes. It seems like having a separate and discrete graphics card that has it's own memory would be the better option, but the real question is if it is actually faster. Does having the graphics integrated into the CPU give an advantage (as far as processing performance goes) over having to run signal through a bus to/from a separate graphics card? I know that the discrete option would offer better graphics, but I'm not that big on games so graphics aren't that big of a deal for me. And like I said, I am a Manufacturing Drafter. I use CAD programs that eat up a good bit of graphic power while rendering. So, would I be better off with an APU with integrated graphics or an APU/GPU combo running off the GPU with the integrated graphics turned off? I tend to run other programs on top of and underneath my CAD application so I need more computing power. The reason I feel a need for improved RAM is that during the period between crashes I experienced some major lag while drafting. I shutdown all of the other programs like Firefox, word, windows explorer, winRAR, etc and still had ridiculous lag problems. This is getting to be a lot longer than I had expected.

    Anyway, moving on, I am wondering about my cousin's suggestion of a RAM drive. Upon reading up on (what I could find about) these infernal logical drives made out of physical memory, it doesn't seem like it would help my case any. My computer is still only able to access 8gb of RAM and I wouldn't be saving any time when it comes to securing files or booting or having multiple programs open at once. I might be wrong on that last thing, but I assume you can only operate within the limit of your physical memory so every program that you have running on your RAM eats up more of your limited operating space because the program is loaded into the RAM plus all of it's processes are being computed within it. As for a SATA with a TB of storage there is basically a limitless amount of programs you can run as long as you have enough physical memory to accommodate the processes that occur within each program. I would be better off solving the issue I have been working on which is breaking into the rest of the memory I have available, right?

    Sooo.....to clarify:
    Would a RAM drive be worth investigating further in lieu of my pursuit for greater RAM?
    What piece/s would need to be upgraded for me to enable my computer access to more RAM; I.e. which piece of the puzzle is the main culprit in the limiting factor (please don't say motherboard)?
    Does anybody have access to schematics for my motherboard or any experience with replacing OEM PCB parts like CPU, GPU, Southbridge Chipset?
    Suggestions for parts that are compatible with my motherboard? I really like the A10-5757m, but I can't seem to find it anywhere except AMD and forum/info sites. According to Wiki, my choices are limited for FCH's that are made for laptops if I stick with AMD. Does anybody know of something that would work with an AMD APU that serves the same function but would be an upgrade to my A70m?
    While I'm upgrading everything else, would it be advisable to move to a discrete GPU with dedicated memory and turn of the graphics function of the APU? If so, what are your suggestions?
    I think that sums it all up...
    If you are really interested in helping me with my situation, not focused on telling me to go in a completely opposite direction by getting a new laptop, and you have the time to put together a list of components (AMD or other as long as they fit my application) that would work together and solve my problem, giving me more RAM I will consider giving you monies. Or maybe something else since I'm a little cash strapped at the moment having funds (that shouldn't be) tied up in this mess.

    Any help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    George :D
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,173   +3,263

    Changing chipsets would require the new boards to be engineered to support the new chipset. It is equivalent to the reasons why DDR3 requires a new memory slot design from that of DDR or DDR2. And also why DDR4 will require it's own slot design. Every chipset is pinned (aka: wired) differently and each board is specifically designed to support that chipset.

    If you need more memory, your only option is to replace the whole board for one that supports more memory. That usually means buying a new machine, when portables are the topic.
    GeforcerFX likes this.
  9. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 539   +164

    Technically DDR2 and DDR3 use the same pin layout, or at least that's what I read years ago, just need the correct chipset and have the power set correctly. I remember those boards where you could pick which kind of memory to use either all DDR2 or all DDR3.

    Anyways back on topic as clifford said there's really nothing you could easily and cheaply do to that motherboard to expand your memory capacity or your CPU since its a ball grid array and is attached to the board. Just start saving your pennies and you can grab a good i7 quad core for around $600-$700 with 16gb of ram and a 1tb HDD.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. wh0rehey21

    wh0rehey21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Or that ^^^ will happen....either way works I guess. It's not the really the same topic. It contains a similar topic but there are many more topics that have been addressed. Whatever tho
  11. wh0rehey21

    wh0rehey21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Even if I know how to solder and understand basic wiring schematics you're saying that the motherboard is still a limiting factor? Say I could find an upgraded FCH that has a compatible socket along with an upgraded compatible APU and I made the effort to switch both parts out and did everything right so that when I plug everything back up my computer boots up....I would still be frelled by the motherboard's design (aka the data buses)????
  12. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 539   +164

    The parts on the board aren't really a hand solder job, BGA processors require equipment to remove and reapply them accurately enough to make sure the Processor works. The only people out there successfully changing BGA CPUs and chipsets are master solders. Realistically the easiest route is a new laptop unless you had to keep this particular for some reason, even picking up a old used dell latitude off lease with a i5, i7 could do 16gb (or more) of memory and that system would run laps around your A6.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  13. HyperPete

    HyperPete TS Rookie Posts: 23   +7

    Or even better, a workstation built for your drafting and other business use. You'll pay more and get less when buying a laptop. It's a compromise for portability at best.
  14. wh0rehey21

    wh0rehey21 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    If I had the money and/or space for a dedicated workstation I would most definitely tackle a DIY desktop build. At this point I am still in school and need the portability of a laptop. I don't have the need for a super station but I would like to get better performance than a whole bunch of lag...
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,532   +2,317

    This being true only for desktop modules. Laptop models have a different pin counts. 200 for DDR-2, 204 for DDR-3.

    Laptop memory search results at Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Laptop-Memory/SubCategory/ID-381

    While the DDR-2 / DDR-3 memory modules have the same configuration, (240 pins) DDR-2 requires 1.8 volts, DDR-3 only 1.5 (1.35 for special high efficiency "green" modules).

    For boards that allowed the use of either DDR-2 or 3, I expect the BIOS would have to be set accordingly. (Sorry if that is a statement of the obvious. It's just I don't think "mix & match" would be available for a board that accepted both types).
  16. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 539   +164

    yeah I was thinking DIMMs not SO-DIMM. Looking back I only found one board where you could run either in all the slots included, it had terrible reviews, something by ECS. The more common solution was a 4 DIMM board with 2 being DDR3 capable and 2 being DDR2 capable and only one standard could be utilized at the same time.

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