Not all physical RAM recognized in Windows Vista

By wheninrome ยท 17 replies
Mar 7, 2007
  1. I recently built a new computer with Windows Vista installed with 1GB of RAM installed in dual channel.

    I have two problems:

    1) When I check the systems specs in Vista, it says that there is only 896MB of RAM installed.
    2) The system isn't recognizing the dual channel configuration.

    I used CPU-Z to see if there were any inconsistencies and found that it does recognize 1GB of RAM, but it doesn't recognize the dual-channel memory. What's going on? Do I have a bad batch of RAM sticks. I've also noticed that over the past few weeks, the performance has been lagging, with spurts of speed. I'm guessing that there is a problem with RAM and timings? Please help.

    System specs:

    Biostar 6100-M9 mobo
    Athlon 64 3200+
    1GB (2x 512MB PC2700 DDR333 Kingston Value RAM)
    Onboard Geforce 6100
    Soundblaster Audigy 4
    Lite-On Multi Burner
    Windows Vista Home Premium
  2. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    You have 1 GB (1,024 MB) of RAM installed. Apparently, your motherboard has onboard video. Most video cards that you can buy have memory built onto the chip. With onboard video, however, it doesn't have its own memory, and so it has to use system RAM. You have 1024 MB installed, but 128 MB of that is allocated for graphics memory; only 896 MB remains for system RAM. You should be able to change it in the BIOS, but if you do any kind of gaming, it is advisable to leave it as it is, or at least don't put it any lower than 64 MB for graphics.
  3. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    Yeah, that's RAM thats shared with the onboard GPU through your bus. That board comes with 128 default, which is *supposedly* the max, but I've cranked it up to 256 before and it didn't stop me. I think I remember there being an option that just lets your gpu take as much (or as little) RAM as it needs, but I don't remember where it is.

    As far as dual channel, how are you DIMMS inserted? The Biostar boards I've worked configure dual channel to operate on slots that are next to each other, rather than the alternating order that a lot of other motherboards use. This throws a few people off. Make sure you RTFM.

    What programs are you using while its lagging in spurts? I don't know if I would be comfortable running that system on Windows Vista.
  4. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

    RTFM means read the full manual I assume, on my board it is 1/3 2/4
  5. foozy

    foozy TS Rookie Posts: 139

    Yeah 1/3 2/4 is usually how it is, what're you using?

    The AM2 version of the 6100-M9 is 1/2 3/4. I'm betting his is the same way and he just wasn't paying enough attention.
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    onboard (integrated video) borrows ram for it's own use.
    Why on earth would you build a system with Vista with onboard video?
    1 person likes this.
  7. wheninrome

    wheninrome TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi everyone, thanks for all the responses (the courteous, non-pretentious ones, at least =/). The system that I'm building is actually for my sister, so I had to meet a certain budget. Since she has no interest in playing games or using accelerated graphics, I opted for onboard video. I actually read the fantastic manual thoroughly, and there was one small snippet about dual channel mode, which was already confusing to understand. I'm aware that many mobo manufacturers use the alternating 1/3, 2/4 dual channel configuration, which was why I was confused when I read the Biostar manual, stating that I have to install the RAM sticks next to each other. So initially, I installed the pair of sticks next to each other, and the dual channel config wasn't recognized. I tried switching the placement of the sticks in the 1/2 config and the RAM was still running in single channel config. Would it help to just buy a PCI-E video card? Also, is the 1GB of RAM suitable with the given system specs to run Vista? Thanks again, everyone.
  8. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    1gb ram is considered the BARE MINIMUM acceptable to run vista smoothly. And because vista is graphics intensive - you will need a decent graphics card. A vista based system is NOT a "basic system". You should have stuck with XP if you were building a basic system for your sister. It would be far better to change the OS (and cheaper) than to upgrade all your hardware to meet VISTA requirements. Not to mention the headaches of drivers and incompatible software with Vista.
    just because Vista is NEW doesn't mean it's better. Windows ME was a perfect example of a terrible OS.
  9. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Actually, RTFM means "Read The ****ing Manual." :D
  10. wheninrome

    wheninrome TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hello everyone, thanks again for all the responses. I think I'll just get my sis to get WinXP for now, and she could install Vista when she's ready to do some hardware upgrading. I have a feeling that getting a dedicated video card would resolve the memory problem and a screen flicker/flashing issue that I haven't mentioned. For some reason, when my sis visits, the entire screen flashes to black and then goes back to normal. That's a whole other thread right there though.
  11. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    a wise choice. XP is tried and true.
  12. plonk420

    plonk420 TS Rookie

    sorry to bump such an post, but i was expeiencing this same issue til an hour ago.

    turns out manual is retardedly wrong (they say it'll only work in (what i worked out to be) slots 1 and 3). also, the clips being closed didn't mean the memory was in correctly. the two things led to a pain in the *** of a time troubleshooting the issue. since this thread was threadjacked by "Mr Vista Sucks" before the solution was posted, i thought i'd right the situation, and maybe help others in the process.

    it also helped my Windows Experience score from 3.7 to 4.5, amazingly (both then and now held back by video graphics), with memory going from 4.2 to 4.9. and i could swear windows feels faster (but i wouldn't discount the placebo effect).

    here's a ghettorific diagram:


    [ dimm slot 2 ]
    [ dimm slot 4 ]

    [ dimm slot 1 ]
    [ dimm slot 3 ]

    [ pata hard drives ] [ power ]
  13. wheninrome

    wheninrome TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm sorry, can you re-phrase all of that? I'm not sure what issue you're trying to address as your post was very confusing and unspecified. :dead:
  14. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Windows experience index doesn't work like that. The index is whatever your lowest score is. So changing RAM wouldn't make your experience index go from 3.7 to 4.5 if it is held back by the video card, as you say it is.

    Most often, the RAM slots work like this:

    First Slot and Third Slot for Dual Channel


    Second Slot and Fourth Slot for Dual Channel


    All four slots filled for Dual Channel.

    When you need information on something, please make a new thread, don't dig up an old one.
  15. plonk420

    plonk420 TS Rookie

    uhm, i fixed my own issue, and was posting my solution so that it might help others with this issue (as i couldn't fix teh single channel issue when i first found this thread) as it never seemed to have been fixed in the thread.

    1a) the Biostar GeForce6100-M9 (socket 939) manual is wrong in its implying that you can only put memory into slots 1 and 3 (which it labels as DIMMA1 and DIMMA2). i reached dual channel mode by installing in DIMMA1 and DIMMB1

    1b) as a result of achieving dual channel bandwidth, my Windows (Vista) Experience Index for Memory increased (from 4.2 to 4.9) as well as my Video (from 3.7 to 4.5). i never said my video performance was being held back memory; i'm not the OP. it's quite well known that almost any graphics card benefits from faster memory/more memory bandwidth except for maybe the lowest end video cards or other odd arrangements/extreme setups.

    2) i had to throw a barbed comment at Tedster who hijacked the thread, turning it into a "Vista Sucks" thread. to be honest you weren't of much help, either, MetalX (well, til just now, 9 months after the OP, and even then your "1/3 or 2/4" doesn't match my 3 other athlon 64 mobos).

    hopefully my point 1a) was of some help, wheninrome, even as long as it was after your original post.

    *edit: ah, the TOTAL SCORE (known as the Windows Experience Index *rolls eyes*) was being held back by graphics performance
  16. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    From here:
    Just for future reference ;)
  17. plonk420

    plonk420 TS Rookie

  18. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    Oops, just noticed this:
    Maybe i should have read the thread fully before posting ;) Well that's taught me a lesson :D
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...