Total RAM < Installed RAM

Only just noticed my xps m1730 laptop says it's only rocking 3gb ram, tho actually has 4gb. I am aware of win xp 32 bit limitation to 3.5gb, this is not the case i'm running vista and its 3.0gb so less then the 3.5gb limitation anyways. I'm fairly confident that it used to use all the ram, not a total fool and i probably would've have noticed this before. I read somewhere that if your using onboard graphics that can eat into ram, my xps has sli graphics cards but the drivers often crash and they have issues, not sure if the mobo has another onboard output that could be stealing ram when this happens.

So the question is, what (besides OS limitations) causes RAM to show up less then is installed?
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  1. Is your Vista 32 or 64bit? Most likely 32bit and... in a nutshell... 32bit OS can only address a TOTAL of 4GB memory.

    Therefore, your SLI GC's may be 512mb each and so the OS is reserving 1GB of space. If the GC's are 256mb each then other stuff also reserves some memory space.

    In short... your "problem" is an OS limitation and the only way around it is to use a 64bit os.
  2. I'm using a 64bit OS, that's why i said I'm pretty certain this isn't an OS limitation, (tho running vista whatsoever is probably a limitation) I would dearly love to put win7 back on my laptop but dell doesn't have any support for win7 on this machine and the lack of drivers made it a pain last time i tried that.

    I'm thinking tho this is more a hardware issue or GFX card related.
  3. The Dell or any laptop uses RAM for the GPU since most laptop GPU's don't have dedicated RAM it pulls it as Hardware Reserved. I assume you have 2x2GB of RAM so if one were bad then you'd only have <2GB.

    To see the values allocated to your GPU boot in to the BIOS, my assumption it's going to b 750~1000 MB.
  4. Ah ok I'll give that a look, it's not an important machine to me so i haven't paid attention to it in awhile and was a little confused when i came back to it and noticed that
  5. Q - What is the RAM allocated to the GPU?
    Q - Do you have 2x2GB or something else?

    Most importantly, are you okay with everything now?

    If you're okay then good luck! :)
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