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RAM Allocation Connundrum


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#1
pyrocajun2707

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I know the limitations of 32-Bit OS kernels and why they are as such, but my question is if that only applies to main system RAM.

The following question is not hypothetical, it regards multiple pending sales my home business is making with the New Iberia Recreational Department (or, as we call it, NIRD, lol). Let's just say I want to take full advantage of a computer's hardware using Windows XP Pro. The system design in question is basically an exact clone of my "Main System" listed on my profile. The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3, as shown here: http://www.giga-byte...?ProductID=2434

Let's say I leave out the ATI video card and use the on-board nVidia GeForce 6100. If I can find a way to allocate 512Mb system RAM to that onboard GPU, it SHOULD allocate from the RAM that Windows is not able to access, thus still leaving the expected 3.5Gb RAM for general use, correct? On the other hand, if integrating system RAM with the onboard GPU results in a uniform sampling of ALL the memory registers, not just the unused ones, is it possible that 32-bit Windows would subtract that 512MB from the 3.5GB it's supposedly able to access, leaving only 3GB RAM?

Yes, I shall step down from my high-horse of hardware expertise and ask my fellow geeks for help on this one; I'd try to be a "real" man and figure it out myself, but I have too much time, money, and notoriety riding on this deal, and I only have two more days to make these last-minute decisions about price cuts and the looming possibility of having to expose these poor saps to Vista Ultimate x64, which, in my opinion, has the potential of being the technological and psychological equivalent of a bad acid trip. Not good for a special government contract, if you catch my drift.

Edited by pyrocajun2707, 06 March 2008 - 03:43 PM.

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#2
Neil Jones

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It is not possible to use onboard graphics and the memory of a separate card together, in fact most boards turn off the onboard graphics when they can see that a separate card is installed.

If you want a graphics card with 512Mb of video memory (which is not the same thing as system memory) then buy a card with 512Mb of video memory on it. You can't add it on later or take it from somewhere else in the system. The 4Gb limit is typically a limit imposed by the chipset of the board - otherwise there won't be enough room to talk to everything on the board and your separate PCI cards. At some point this won't be an issue once 32-bit operating systems stop being sold, however this won't be for many years yet bearing in mind XP is supported by Microsoft until 2014 and 32-bit Vista until at least 2017. It was only with the advent of Windows Vista that backwards compatibility for 16-bit software was dropped altogether, a full 16 years after Windows 3.0 came out.
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#3
pyrocajun2707

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It is not possible to use onboard graphics and the memory of a separate card together, in fact most boards turn off the onboard graphics when they can see that a separate card is installed.

If you want a graphics card with 512Mb of video memory (which is not the same thing as system memory) then buy a card with 512Mb of video memory on it. You can't add it on later or take it from somewhere else in the system. The 4Gb limit is typically a limit imposed by the chipset of the board - otherwise there won't be enough room to talk to everything on the board and your separate PCI cards. At some point this won't be an issue once 32-bit operating systems stop being sold, however this won't be for many years yet bearing in mind XP is supported by Microsoft until 2014 and 32-bit Vista until at least 2017. It was only with the advent of Windows Vista that backwards compatibility for 16-bit software was dropped altogether, a full 16 years after Windows 3.0 came out.


I don't think you understand what I'm trying to ask. I understand that I can get a 512mb graphics card; I have one, along with an onboard GPU. 4Gb is also not the limit of this board; it goes up to 16Gb. My question is, if I'm going to be installing XP on this thing and I want to take full advantage of the main system RAM, can I remove the 512Mb graphics card (which is fairly unnecessary for this user) and allocate the 512Mb of system RAM that XP is not able to access (3.5Gb limit) to the onboard GPU? My main objective is to leave none of this expensive low-latency RAM wasted. I can just sell the extra ATI graphics card.
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#4
Neil Jones

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My question is, if I'm going to be installing XP on this thing and I want to take full advantage of the main system RAM, can I remove the 512Mb graphics card (which is fairly unnecessary for this user) and allocate the 512Mb of system RAM that XP is not able to access (3.5Gb limit) to the onboard GPU?


No because it doesn't work like that. It is a 32-bit Windows limitation that will not see more than 3.5Gb of memory. Just because the board can see 16Gb doesn't mean Windows will. If you want to use more than 4Gb of memory, you will need a 64-bit operating system. There is no magic wand you can run for a 32-bit operating system to make it talk to more memory.
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#5
Ztruker

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I don't think you can do what you want. This is a very good article on >3GB ram, and using the /3GB switch in boot.ini, what it does and what it doesn't do. It also has links to the /userva switch and what it's uses are.

http://blogs.technet...ifying-3gb.aspx
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#6
pyrocajun2707

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My question is, if I'm going to be installing XP on this thing and I want to take full advantage of the main system RAM, can I remove the 512Mb graphics card (which is fairly unnecessary for this user) and allocate the 512Mb of system RAM that XP is not able to access (3.5Gb limit) to the onboard GPU?


No because it doesn't work like that. It is a 32-bit Windows limitation that will not see more than 3.5Gb of memory. Just because the board can see 16Gb doesn't mean Windows will. If you want to use more than 4Gb of memory, you will need a 64-bit operating system. There is no magic wand you can run for a 32-bit operating system to make it talk to more memory.


I don't think you can do what you want. This is a very good article on >3GB ram, and using the /3GB switch in boot.ini, what it does and what it doesn't do. It also has links to the /userva switch and what it's uses are.

http://blogs.technet...ifying-3gb.aspx


How much RAM I can put in the system is not what I'm asking about, and I know the limitations of 32-bit operating systems; it was at the very beginning of my original post. Please read my message more carefully. I'm asking about allocating RAM to the onboard GPU with BIOS to make full use of the 4GB the system DOES have. I'm asking if when I do that will windows pick up 3GB or 3.5GB.
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#7
pyrocajun2707

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My question is, if I'm going to be installing XP on this thing and I want to take full advantage of the main system RAM, can I remove the 512Mb graphics card (which is fairly unnecessary for this user) and allocate the 512Mb of system RAM that XP is not able to access (3.5Gb limit) to the onboard GPU?


No because it doesn't work like that. It is a 32-bit Windows limitation that will not see more than 3.5Gb of memory. Just because the board can see 16Gb doesn't mean Windows will. If you want to use more than 4Gb of memory, you will need a 64-bit operating system. There is no magic wand you can run for a 32-bit operating system to make it talk to more memory.


I don't think you can do what you want. This is a very good article on >3GB ram, and using the /3GB switch in boot.ini, what it does and what it doesn't do. It also has links to the /userva switch and what it's uses are.

http://blogs.technet...ifying-3gb.aspx


How much RAM I can put in the system is not what I'm asking about, and I know the limitations of 32-bit operating systems; it was at the very beginning of my original post. Please read my message more carefully. I'm asking about allocating RAM to the onboard GPU with BIOS to make full use of the 4GB the system DOES have. I'm asking if when I do that will windows pick up 3GB or 3.5GB.
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#8
sandman01086

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basically the way i understand this is:

You know you can only use 3.5GB

You have 4GB

You want to use the 0.5GB your system can't see as onboard graphics memory?
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#9
Ztruker

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How much RAM I can put in the system is not what I'm asking about, and I know the limitations of 32-bit operating systems; it was at the very beginning of my original post. Please read my message more carefully. I'm asking about allocating RAM to the onboard GPU with BIOS to make full use of the 4GB the system DOES have. I'm asking if when I do that will windows pick up 3GB or 3.5GB.


Believe it or not, I did read your original post, several times. What I and others are trying to tell you is no, you can't do this and then trying to back that up with links to factual documentation that may help you understand this. I had hoped that some of the reading at the link I posted would help to clarify why you can't do this but apparently it didn't, sorry.

Edited by Ztruker, 07 March 2008 - 07:14 PM.

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#10
cmpm

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In the old days, there were graphic cards that would vary on use of ram according to the ram installed. I don't think this is the case anymore though.

I've never seen any settings for that directly.

These were graphics cards that would range from 1mb to 8mb of ram depending on the ram in the machine.

I don't know how they worked but I have about a dozen in a box here.

edit-lol...i had gb instead of mb for those cards - sorry :)

Edited by cmpm, 07 March 2008 - 09:42 PM.

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#11
cmpm

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And he is talking about adjusting onboard graphics and not a graphics card, so what I know doesn't apply directly, but it shows that onboard ram for graphics can change on some graphics cards.

So these I have are built into the card and not the motherboard or bios.
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#12
cmpm

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I meant mb not gb for those graphic cards...lol....
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