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Onboard graphics reserve 1 Gig of RAM, even though I'm using a discrete video card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 27, 2013 6:24:03 AM

Greetings! My system is a Presario SR1610NX. I've replaced the Sempron processor with a AthlonXP 4000+ 2.4Ghz and installed 4 sticks of RAM for a total of 4 Gig of system RAM. The Nvidia 9800GT PCIe video card that I had in the PCIe slot started to give me some problems, so I replaced it with a ATI HD4870 x2 PCIe video card...and that's when things got interesting. Prior to uninstalling the Nvidia card, my machine showed 3.32 Gig of available RAM, but after installing the ATI HD4870, it showed 2.68 Gig of available RAM and I had a devil of a time getting the ATI card to work until I finally saw a mention that this card did not like the /3G switch activated...in fact, it refused to allow DirectX to load until I removed this switch. Once I got the DirectX to work, I still was unable to get the onboard ATI Xpress 200 to release the RAM it keeps reserving...in the system info, with the BIOS set to primary video PCIe, it states 1 Gig of RAM is being used by this disabled onboard graphics adapter (I disabled it in the Device Manager), then goes on to show the dual core HD4870.
Overall the card appears to be working properly now, but that missing RAM is pestering me. If I remove the HD4870, then the system shows the full 3.32 Gig available again...re-install and it drops back to 2.68 available. I have done this several times, completely cleaning all Nvidia and ATI drivers in "safe mode", then re-installing the legacy ATI drivers:
Driver Packaging Version 8.97.100-130424a-156444E-ATI
Catalystâ„¢ Version 13.4
Provider AMD.
2D Driver Version 6.14.10.7267
2D Driver File Path System/CurrentControlSet/Control/Video/{F2E7CE71-D776-4198-9B2F-0333C49EEE44}/0000
Direct3D Version 6.14.10.0911
OpenGL Version 6.14.10.11672
Catalystâ„¢ Control Center Version 2013.0424.1155.19491
System info: Display-

Name ATI RADEON XPRESS 200 Series
PNP Device ID PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_5954&SUBSYS_2A24103C&REV_00\4&1C9EB71F&0&2808
Adapter Type AMD Radeon Graphics Processor (0x9441), ATI Technologies Inc. compatible
Adapter Description ATI RADEON XPRESS 200 Series
Adapter RAM 1.00 GB (1,073,741,824 bytes)
Installed Drivers ati2dvag.dll
Driver Version 6.14.10.7267
INF File oem57.inf (ati2mtag_RS480 section)
Color Planes 1
Color Table Entries 4294967296
Resolution 1920 x 1080 x 60 hertz
Bits/Pixel 32
Memory Address 0xD8000000-0xDFFFFFFF
I/O Port 0x0000EC00-0x0000ECFF
Memory Address 0xFDAF0000-0xFDAFFFFF
IRQ Channel IRQ 17
Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\ati2mtag.sys (6.14.10.7267, 7.51 MB (7,874,560 bytes), 5/21/2013 11:22 AM)

Name ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
PNP Device ID PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_9441&SUBSYS_25421028&REV_00\6&182AE3FE&0&00200010
Adapter Type AMD Radeon Graphics Processor CrossFire Secondary (0x9441), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. compatible
Adapter Description ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
Adapter RAM 1.00 GB (1,073,741,824 bytes)
Installed Drivers ati2dvag.dll
Driver Version 6.14.10.7267
INF File oem56.inf (ati2mtag_R7X section)
Color Planes Not Available
Color Table Entries Not Available
Resolution Not Available
Bits/Pixel Not Available
Memory Address 0xC0000000-0xCFFFFFFF
Memory Address 0xFDEE0000-0xFDEEFFFF
I/O Port 0x0000DF00-0x0000DFFF
IRQ Channel IRQ 18
I/O Port 0x000003B0-0x000003BB
I/O Port 0x000003C0-0x000003DF
Memory Address 0xA0000-0xBFFFF
Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\ati2mtag.sys (6.14.10.7267, 7.51 MB (7,874,560 bytes), 5/21/2013 11:22 AM)

Name ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
PNP Device ID PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_9441&SUBSYS_20421028&REV_00\6&CE05A90&0&00400010
Adapter Type AMD Radeon Graphics Processor (0x9441), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. compatible
Adapter Description ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
Adapter RAM 1.00 GB (1,073,741,824 bytes)
Installed Drivers ati2dvag.dll
Driver Version 6.14.10.7267
INF File oem56.inf (ati2mtag_R7X section)
Color Planes Not Available
Color Table Entries Not Available
Resolution Not Available
Bits/Pixel Not Available
Memory Address 0xB0000000-0xFEBFFFFF
Memory Address 0xFDDF0000-0xFDDFFFFF
I/O Port 0x0000CC00-0x0000CCFF
IRQ Channel IRQ 18
Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\ati2mtag.sys (6.14.10.7267, 7.51 MB (7,874,560 bytes), 5/21/2013 11:22 AM)



Any ideas how I can get my RAM back...short of taking a pair of pliers to the onboard chip?


a c 160 U Graphics card
May 27, 2013 6:32:43 AM

Reserved memory is reserved, even with a discrete graphics card that memory remains reserved unfortunately.
In many case that reserved memory actually helps graphics performance, ESPECIALLY in a dual-GPU setup like yours.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
May 27, 2013 6:36:14 AM

Does the bios have a section to disable onboard devices? Most times you can just disable the onboard video. Failing that see if they have an option to reduce the memory the onboard gets.

You know that cpu will hold back the graphics card quite a bit right(even a single 4870 would be held back)?

If all else fails, I do not think you have much other options as the onboard video card is a part of the chipset so no pliers trick will ever work.
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May 27, 2013 7:05:43 AM

Unfortunately, Compaq limits what I can do in the BIOS to merely selecting a primary video (PCI, PCIe, or onboard). As I said, the really odd thing is the Nvidia card didn't cause this to happen (it showed all 3.32G available).

Yes, I'm aware that the CPU is really bottlenecking this card's performance...the overall intent here is to use what I have while I purchase the components for a much better build...one peice at a time. It just bothered me endlessly as to why it is happening with just this card.

If the overall consensus is that what I have is "working as intended", which it appears to be...CrossfireX works and is a huge improvement over the 9800GT...then I'll just stop worrying about it.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
May 27, 2013 7:27:34 AM

The 9800GT is a single GPU solution, it would not necessarily reserved the memory as much as a dual-GPU Card would.
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a c 107 U Graphics card
May 27, 2013 7:29:23 AM

If i remember right, many boards needed bios updates to work with the dual gpu cards. Maybe it is a simple comparability issue.

Technically the board will actually see a PCI-e(I think it was made by PLX) bridge not a video card. this may cause it to NOT turn off the onboard video(thinking you do not have a video card installed?).

If you can get a cheap 5770/6770 it may be a good option as well(overkill, but at least it is a single card without a bridge chip that may cause issues).

You always take a chance mixing older and newer.
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a b U Graphics card
May 27, 2013 8:57:02 AM

Its not the onboard chip, its the 4870x2, and this is a common problem on a system with a 32 bit OS and 4 gig of memory. I think this may be your case. The OS can only address 4 gig of memory, including what is on the graphic card (to over simplify things). So if you add a video card that has more memory on it, the amount of addressable system memory you have left to use goes down respectively.
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a c 160 U Graphics card
May 27, 2013 8:59:25 AM

jitpublisher said:
Its not the onboard chip, its the 4870x2, and this is a common problem on a system with a 32 bit OS and 4 gig of memory. I think this may be your case. The OS can only address 4 gig of memory, including what is on the graphic card (to over simplify things). So if you add a video card that has more memory on it, the amount of addressable system memory you have left to use goes down respectively.


Wish I could of explained it like this, lol. Precisely...
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a c 76 U Graphics card
May 27, 2013 3:12:29 PM

Just to reinforce, I had a highly overclocked 4000+ 8 YEARS ago. I was great. THEN.

I was just wondering why the computer at work SUCKED. AMD 4000. Maxing out CPU load opening IE. You need a PC that is not 8 years old
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May 28, 2013 4:43:28 AM

jitpublisher said:
Its not the onboard chip, its the 4870x2, and this is a common problem on a system with a 32 bit OS and 4 gig of memory. I think this may be your case. The OS can only address 4 gig of memory, including what is on the graphic card (to over simplify things). So if you add a video card that has more memory on it, the amount of addressable system memory you have left to use goes down respectively.


Now that sounds reasonable, except I don't believe the math adds up...as I'm far from a computer guru, but I can do simple math...the System info says 1G is assigned to the onboard graphics with the HD4870x2 installed...remove the HD4870x2 and 64mb is returned...the difference between 2.68G available with the HD4870x2 installed and the 3.32G available without the HD4870x2 installed. If it was really reserving 1G with the HD4870x2 installed, wouldn't it be 2.32G available instead of 2.68? That difference is what's been really bothering me...but as I said...it all works, so if the general consensus (as it appears to be) is everything is "working as intended", I'll just chalk it up to the mysteries of Computers and forget about it.
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Best solution

a b U Graphics card
May 28, 2013 6:52:36 AM

bonza32 said:
jitpublisher said:
Its not the onboard chip, its the 4870x2, and this is a common problem on a system with a 32 bit OS and 4 gig of memory. I think this may be your case. The OS can only address 4 gig of memory, including what is on the graphic card (to over simplify things). So if you add a video card that has more memory on it, the amount of addressable system memory you have left to use goes down respectively.


Now that sounds reasonable, except I don't believe the math adds up...as I'm far from a computer guru, but I can do simple math...the System info says 1G is assigned to the onboard graphics with the HD4870x2 installed...remove the HD4870x2 and 64mb is returned...the difference between 2.68G available with the HD4870x2 installed and the 3.32G available without the HD4870x2 installed. If it was really reserving 1G with the HD4870x2 installed, wouldn't it be 2.32G available instead of 2.68? That difference is what's been really bothering me...but as I said...it all works, so if the general consensus (as it appears to be) is everything is "working as intended", I'll just chalk it up to the mysteries of Computers and forget about it.


If you want the exact reasons and the way the math works, truth be told the card does not have exactly 1 gig or 2 gig of memory, neither is your 4 gig of main memory exactly 4 gig, it will vary somewhat as just like usable space vs advertised space with hard drives. The way they market the memory to sell, and the actual amount there is available is different, and it also has to do with the way Windows assigns usable address space. I don't know all the exact details myself right off the top of my head. I have read about it doing my own research when I had this issue about 8 years ago running crossfire. This is a gamers main reason for moving to a 64 bit OS. Then this "problem" goes away. But my basic explanation is sound, for what its worth. If you want to dive deeper into it, google is your friend.
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