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  #1  
Old July 3rd, 2006, 04:15 PM
Paul Caldwell Paul Caldwell is offline
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Default Win XP 4GB of total ram question

Over the past weekend I have been bringing up a new system. This machine is a AMD dual core, with 4GB of total ram installed. The board is a Asus A8N-SLI.

After XP was installed and all hotfixes, and SP2, when you go to device Manger and look on the main screen, there is only 3GB of total ram. You can go to system resouces and see that actually 4GB is installed and when the box boots, all 4GB is shown. I know that you will never see all 4GB here, but on older machines I have built up most times you can see 3.2, 3.4 available.

I called Asus, (one note, you can actually call them and talk to someone), and asked them about why this was happening. We went though several checks on the bios, but after about 20 minutes, they asked what video card I had installed. This card is a PCI express 512 mb card. The person I was talking to said, that was the problem. The 512 or at least 256 mb of it was being addressed out in XP thus taking away more available ram.

What are others thoughts here? For my work, I would easily let go of the card for the extra ram for CS2. I also don't think that video ram can be addressed by CS directly and it is really only helping me on resolution and screen paints both of which I can do fine with a 128mb card.

Good news is this board ran the 3GB switch with no modification other then adding /3GB to the boot.ini.

Thanks
PFC
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  #2  
Old July 3rd, 2006, 05:24 PM
Josh Liechty Josh Liechty is offline
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I just use XP x64 and have access to all 4GB of my RAM on an ASUS A8N-E. Beware of drivers - for example, Gretag Macbeth colorimeters are supported with the latest software, but others may not be.
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  #3  
Old July 3rd, 2006, 05:38 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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The extra memory you cannot address is being used as virtual address space by device drivers. Hence, while the memory is there, one cannot access it. You will need to upgrade to XP 64 to use all of it.
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Old July 4th, 2006, 06:20 AM
Nill Toulme Nill Toulme is offline
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There is a BIOS setting on that mobo that must be set for the system to see the 4GB. I forget what it's called and am traveling so can't check it right now. It's the "memory sink" or "memory hole" or something like that. It's buried way down deep in the BIOS setup. Poke around and see what you find. If on startup the RAM test shows something like "4GB installed, 3012 good" then that's your problem. You might have to disable "silent boot" or something like that in setup in order to see that, and even then it will go past very fast. This buffaloed me for a long time, thinking maybe I had a bad RAM module, and it was only the third tech support guy I talked to who knew anything about it.

Nill
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  #5  
Old July 4th, 2006, 08:42 AM
Paul Caldwell Paul Caldwell is offline
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Thanks Nill, I think I have tweaked the bios as much as I can. When I look at system resources, I can see that there is a full 4GB on for XP, but like the others point out, it's being taken up by other devices.

On the XP x64? Can you upgrade from XP professional, to the x64 version? And how about drivers, Epson 7800, 7600 and CS2? I have seen that Epson has 7800 64 bit drivers, but not read much about people using them yet.

Thanks to all.

PFC
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  #6  
Old July 4th, 2006, 11:58 AM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nill Toulme
There is a BIOS setting on that mobo that must be set for the system to see the 4GB. I forget what it's called and am traveling so can't check it right now. It's the "memory sink" or "memory hole" or something like that. It's buried way down deep in the BIOS setup. Poke around and see what you find. If on startup the RAM test shows something like "4GB installed, 3012 good" then that's your problem. You might have to disable "silent boot" or something like that in setup in order to see that, and even then it will go past very fast. This buffaloed me for a long time, thinking maybe I had a bad RAM module, and it was only the third tech support guy I talked to who knew anything about it.
The memory hole relates to the address space from 15-16 MB and was used by video cards years ago just as memory space is used to map devices (PCI network card, PCI sound card, ...) to memory addresses. The memory hole is unrelated to the usage of the upper end of 4 GB of RAM addressable via 32 bits. Aside: 16 MB is the limit of RAM addressable via 24 bits so there is a relationship, but not in terms of the problem at hand.

Also, be aware that changing the bios can render a computer to become totally useless if you make the wrong change (bad video or memory setting can cause a system to fail to POST).
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  #7  
Old July 4th, 2006, 12:10 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul2660
Thanks Nill, I think I have tweaked the bios as much as I can. When I look at system resources, I can see that there is a full 4GB on for XP, but like the others point out, it's being taken up by other devices.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul2660

I do know my relatively new motherboard has BIOS switch to map all RAM above 3 GB to a "physical" memory location above 4 GB. To use this type of option you will need to explore using the PAE switch in boot.ini. Sadly though, XP is limited to a 4 GB address space so I do not see the value of this.
On the XP x64? Can you upgrade from XP professional, to the x64 version? And how about drivers, Epson 7800, 7600 and CS2? I have seen that Epson has 7800 64 bit drivers, but not read much about people using them yet.
Yes, you can upgrade. Microsoft was offering a free upgrade when it was initially released. Nonetheless, buying a new hard drive and installing to that (or a least doing a fresh install to another directory) would be wise.

As to printer drivers: Have you thouht about taking an older slower computer and simply making it a print server?
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  #8  
Old July 4th, 2006, 06:29 PM
Paul Caldwell Paul Caldwell is offline
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thanks,

Yes, it makes better sense to do that, i.e relegate one of my older 32 bit boxes to the print server role.

PFC
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  #9  
Old July 4th, 2006, 06:35 PM
Nill Toulme Nill Toulme is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean DeMerchant
The memory hole relates to the address space from 15-16 MB and was used by video cards years ago just as memory space is used to map devices (PCI network card, PCI sound card, ...) to memory addresses. The memory hole is unrelated to the usage of the upper end of 4 GB of RAM addressable via 32 bits. Aside: 16 MB is the limit of RAM addressable via 24 bits so there is a relationship, but not in terms of the problem at hand.
Be that as it may, when my new box with that mobo booted up the self test showed 4GB installed, 3GB good. Thought it was a bad RAM module but testing indicated it wasn't. Tech support finally figured out it was that BIOS setting, changing which allowed the entire 4GB to be recognized (not by Windows of course).

Nill
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  #10  
Old July 4th, 2006, 06:37 PM
Nill Toulme Nill Toulme is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean DeMerchant
Yes, you can upgrade. Microsoft was offering a free upgrade when it was initially released. Nonetheless, buying a new hard drive and installing to that (or a least doing a fresh install to another directory) would be wise.
You can't literally upgrade an existing XP install though can you? Don't you have to do a fresh install and reinstall everything from scratch?

Nill
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  #11  
Old July 4th, 2006, 07:56 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nill Toulme
You can't literally upgrade an existing XP install though can you? Don't you have to do a fresh install and reinstall everything from scratch?
I have no idea and the answer whether you can or cannot is not particularly relevant as I would always recommend a fresh install regardless as I have rarely had an XP install last more than a year before developing issues.

enjoy your day,

Sean
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  #12  
Old July 4th, 2006, 08:00 PM
Nill Toulme Nill Toulme is offline
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Just clarifying... I thought that might have been what Paul meant when he asked, "Can you upgrade from XP professional, to the x64 version?" I'm pretty sure the answer is no, you cannot.

Nill
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