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Nvidia 200 series seizes system memory?

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  • Nvidia
  • Memory
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 17, 2010 6:14:02 AM

This has probably been written about but I can find no information. I have an Nvidia 240 GT (1 GB DDR3) that seems to be grabbing available system RAM at boot time. The mobo built-in video is disabled. This is supposed to replace a burned out 9800GT (1 GB DDR2). I did not see this happening with the 9800GT that this was meant to replace.

My question is, can I prevent it from seizing system memory during start-up? It seems that 1 Gb for what I do is more than sufficient to do what I want (I'm not a gamer). I REALLY hate to see a video card that should have more than enough VRAM grab more system RAM.

It's probably been written about (or maybe not). Googling has not turned up any answers on this subject and Nvidia's site is not real helpful in explaining what I am seeing.

Specifics:
Processor: Intel 2140
Mobo: ECS P4M900T-M with 4 GB installed for system RAM

Thanks!

More about : nvidia 200 series seizes system memory

a b Î Nvidia
a b } Memory
July 17, 2010 7:13:58 AM

It might be a hyper memory card which grabs system ram, but its probably just the well documented issue with 32bit windows. 32bit windows can only address 4GBs of memory space. Windows needs to set some of that space aside so it can send things to the video card. I have 2x2GBs of ram in my system along with a 1GB 5750. Windows reports 3.25GBs of available ram. This is normal, not much you can do about it except upgrade to 64bit windows.

You can check the Nvidia drivers to see if its a hyper memory card and see if there is a way to disable it. But as I said its probably this windows issue.
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July 17, 2010 7:57:40 AM

Forgot to add that I am running W7-64. So I don't think that I am dealing with a 32-bit windows limitation here.

When using the 9800GT, I could clearly see all 4096 of installed RAM at cold boot time (thus ruling out a Windows problem). I can't remember what the box claims is available (at cold boot time with this newer video card) but know it is most assuredly LESS THAN the 4096 of installed RAM. Something else is going on here. I remember trying out an nVidia 210 many months back and seeing the same thing back then. Got so disappointed, I bought an "obsolete" 9800 GT card and never looked back. Unfortunately, the 9800GT is a BFGTech and got RMA'ed for fan failure. To make it worse, I missed out on the lifetime warranty by forgetting to register it within 30 days of purchase (bone-headed miss on my part). Based on some other threads I have read elsewhere, it seems that this card has problems with fans. My fault that I did not get it registered in time since that would've allowed for a "lifetime" warranty instead of one year. May just stick a nicer fan on the RMA'ed board when I get it back and ditch the factory one (it's a cheesy plastic one anyways).

What troubles me is that the newer nVidias shouldn't need any additional system memory. Again, for what I do, 1 gB DDR2 is clearly sufficient since I don't game. W7 experience rated the box at 5.9 which is fairly decent enough (although the use of the W7 Experience rating is debateable).

So I am left with the same issue. Can anyone tell me why such an apparently nice video board like this NEEDS MORE installed system RAM? More importantly, is there some other BIOS setting that needs to be tinkered with to prevent this (if it exists at all)? The way this is looking, I may want to find another 9800 just to have as a stand-by.

Thanks!
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a b Î Nvidia
a b } Memory
July 17, 2010 9:28:44 AM

Again, its probably in the Nvidia control panel. Some cards have "hyper" memory, which use the ram on the card, and system ram to get it even more memory. Not sure where this might be, never owned one.
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July 17, 2010 2:39:39 PM

You changed your vidcard because the fan died?
You would have actually RMA'd it (because the fan died?)
Fans are like brakes on cars - they are a wear-item and should not be covered by warranty.
Just grab a beautiful Zalman cooler for ~$30 bucks or whatever...
1GB DDR2 is ridiculous anyway - you achieve much more powerful performance with faster DDR3 or GDDR5, even if there is only 512MB.
That's a 'packing-box spec', so they can brag '1GB memory!' on the package...
Re: your missing system RAM
I dunno, not much should change between swapping out the 9800, so that's strange.
It's likely that there are answers to be found in your BIOS setup, as I have seen BIOSes react with 'automatic' changes in response to new hardware.
Unwanted automatic changes in some cases, heheh...
Regards
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July 18, 2010 4:43:17 AM

@ 4745454b ......... Hhhhmmmmmm. Given what I am seeing, that could be a possible explanation. This is an invite for me to learn what exactly "hyper" memory is. However, I would think that my basic expectation of truth in advertising would demand that such functionality be clearly communicated. So far, I haven't seen it and it appears that no one has noticed this being an issue (else Google would've returned something and I have tried MANY variations on the search parameters).

@The_OGS ......... Are you a BFGTech employee? If so, you should note that I haven't had anything particularly BAD to say about them ..... yet. For right now, the BFGTech product meets my expectations VERY nicely (if not for the gimpy fan). Ordinarily, I would agree that fans are a "consumption" part of the video card. HOWEVER, I AM (first and foremost) a CONSUMER ..... This means that IF a manufacurer is going to stand by their product, THEN ANY component of that product SHOULD be covered, OR EXPRESSLY declared as NOT covered, by their warranty. That being the case (perhaps you consider me terribly uninformed but I disagree), this is a warranty issue (for pity's sake .... it's ONLY 5 months old). NOW, if this were outside of the warranty period (which this is not), then by all means ..... yes, a Zalman fan would be the best solution (AND are beautiful to behold) since the video card has not suffered any thermal failure (but like I said, I just may spring for one just out of principle when I do get it back from BFGTech). On another note, this site did not give the ASUS ENGT240 a good nod in comparison to most 9800 GTs available at that time. There are other considerations that make more sense to have just got the Zalman and be done with it BUT I am sticking to my principles in regards to being a consumer and product warranties. OK .... enough ranting about me being a cheap consumer.

BTW (speaking of being CHEAP), I just replaced the ENGT240 (returned) with a ZOTAC 9500 GT 1 GB (I'm also driven by better prices on allegedly good value products ... this one was only 40% out of my pocket versus the ENGT240) and guess what?!??! It seized a FULL 1GB of system RAM. WOW. This is becoming a Greek tragedy (a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure). Sssssoooooo .......

I don't think the question has been answered yet which is ..... "Why is a series 200 nVidia board seizing system RAM during POST?" PERHAPS this should be EXPANDED to cover the more recently available nVidia cards that are available as "value" alternatives (that use older GPUs)?

This cannot be a Windows issue for the following reasons:
1. The POST should normally report back all the installed RAM (instead of the less than the 4096 that I have installed). It follows that the RAM is being seized before the OS ever gets loaded up AND during the POST (but why?).
2. I'm running W7-64 (HPE) so the issue is not with the 32-bit environment.

Could it be that there is some kind of new thing going around where a board claims to have more memory than it REALLY has and therefore goes out and seizes more system RAM? That's just speculation on my part but the evidence strongly suggests it (or is this the "hyper" memory behavior 4745454b was speaking of?). Hence the reason why I have posted this thread ..... I need to understand what is going on here. It could also be that I should just shut-up and plan on retiring this old dual-core and mobo (but it's hard to put to pasture a reliably performing box .... outside of tempermental video cards ..... we're still in a recession).

For kicks .... I stuffed this board into another box (using a venerable DG965WH, a Core 2 6700 and W7-64 HPE) and observed the SAME loss of system RAM. So it is likely not just a problem with the ECS mobo.

I agree with The_OGS that there should not be any change in available system memory just because I stuffed a newer video card in my box. Also agree that perhaps I only need 512 mB. However, the 512 mB offerings are the same cost as the 1 gB offerings I am seeing at my local toy store. So perhaps more is not better? Could be. I'm posting this to learn. BTW, my much earlier attempt with an nVidia 210 had 512 mB and also seized system RAM at POST.

Thoughts?
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July 18, 2010 6:06:35 AM

UPDATE

HyperMemory is the ATI feature that allows a graphics card to access and utilize system memory thereby reducing the amount of available system RAM. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperMemory. TurboCache is nVidia's name for the same feature. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TurboCache.

However, I just don't understand WHY this feature is not as highlighted as I think it ought to be. Looking at the ZOTAC board I am trying to use right now, I can see no reference to this feature. Above all, WHY should the ZOTAC card help itself to so much system RAM (c'mon .... ONE GB?)? The other nVidia 200's I've tried have seized more than 512 mB (but less than 678 mB).

So maybe I have answered my own question with some prompting from 4745454b. BUT I still think that such features should be highlighted somewhere and this is turning into a buyer beware issue if you value your system memory. It just seems WRONG.

I guess the BIGGER question is WHAT video cards DO NOT use this means of performance enhancement (which I think is completely debateable)?
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a b Î Nvidia
a b } Memory
July 18, 2010 6:37:47 AM

Sorry, I forgot who calls that feature what. From what I know if the card has that, it should say so on the box. If it doesn't say, or as you pointed out the bios reports the wrong amount, then its something else.

I saw the 965 board, what is the ECS board again? Perhaps its a difference between PCI versions? Boards being PCIe 1 and the cards being PCIe 2? I'm not sure what video options you have in the bios but perhaps there is something you can limit there.
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July 20, 2010 3:26:33 AM

@ 4745454b : Well, both of the mobos I have tried are PCIe 1.0. HOWEVER, the BFGTech card that was in this ECS box is (or was ....... for now) PCIe 2.0 (or so the packaging claims). I would think that the differences would be much like plugging a USB 2.0 device into a USB 1.1 port. The only difference would be the transfer speed. There certainly is no difference in how the board seats into the mobo connection so THAT isn't the issue (I don't think). I can live with reduced speed knowing that the mobo is only PCIe 1.0. I did think a little about it when I originally got the BFGTech boards but talked about it with a few gearheads I work with.

The ECS mobo is P4M900T-M (v 1.0). It's been a rock steady mobo despite not being a particularly blazing performer (in comparison with my other rig). BUT it is the Wife's ...... and "if she ain't happy ..... ain't nobody happy." Of course, she was pertty unhappy with the BFGTech card crapping out like this since it is relatively new.

Ssssoooo, I have been happily running both my 965 box and the ECS box on the 9800 GT (BFGTech) until recently. Both boxes reporting the full physcially installed RAM at POST and doing just dandy. Now, I'd dearly like to see an nVidia 200 series video card that DOESN'T hijack system RAM. Or for THAT matter any of the newer graphics card offerings. Unfortunately, I don't watch product developments liek I used to. I just do the nominal amount of research for what I want and know how it SHOULD behave (although I admit I am probably out of step with current offerings).

Is this just the way it's going to be from now on or haven't folks noticed this? It could be that I'm just running on old stuff but, again, I'm gonna make my investments stretch a little for now. They had been working rock solid (well, ONE of them still is ..... knock on REAL wood).
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