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How to reduce System RAM available to gfx card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 21, 2011 3:55:32 PM

Hi all

I am not sure whether it is possible but can anyone tell me how to reduce the system RAM available to my graphics card. It has 1GB built into it and I don't think it needs (and I don't want it to use) the extra 1GB of my 4GB RAM that the computer has been setup to allow it to use, especially as I am running win 7 32bit (but may well go 64bit eventually).

Any help is greatly appreciated

Thanks
Aventura54

Palit 4870 1GB, Gigabyte P31-ES3G

More about : reduce system ram gfx card

July 21, 2011 4:11:50 PM

I think your motherboard can't use more than 3GB of RAM; as I am sure that you 4870 is not using any extra RAM.

Try running GPU-Z to check you GPU configuration.
July 21, 2011 4:18:07 PM

Your a little off the mark there friend. Its not a case of the card having 1GB of system memory dedicated to it its the operating system that is the issue.
Without going into all the technicality of it and to keep it simple, basically the operating system can address 4GB of Memory. 1GB of that is what is on the graphics card some is reserved for the OS itself and you get whats left for applications.
Going to a 64bit operating system is what you need to do to get all your memory available to use. This wont give you a huge boost in performance however so its worth bearing in mind when deciding if the upgrade is worth while.

I run all the peripherals i used to run back when using XP with my 64 bit W7 PC, i mention it because the lack of compatibility was used as a reason not to go 64 bit by some but there really is no reason not to these days, just about every thing i have installed or downloaded has worked fine or has had a 64 bit version.

Mactronix :) 
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July 21, 2011 6:43:37 PM

Firstly, thank you both for your replies! I will apologise now if I come across in a poor light with how I say this but:
mactronix said:
Your a little off the mark there friend. Its not a case of the card having 1GB of system memory dedicated to it its the operating system that is the issue.
Without going into all the technicality of it and to keep it simple, basically the operating system can address 4GB of Memory. 1GB of that is what is on the graphics card some is reserved for the OS itself and you get whats left for applications.
Going to a 64bit operating system is what you need to do to get all your memory available to use. This wont give you a huge boost in performance however so its worth bearing in mind when deciding if the upgrade is worth while.

I run all the peripherals i used to run back when using XP with my 64 bit W7 PC, i mention it because the lack of compatibility was used as a reason not to go 64 bit by some but there really is no reason not to these days, just about every thing i have installed or downloaded has worked fine or has had a 64 bit version.

Mactronix :) 


I'm afraid you might be a little off the mark too but probably from my poor explanation. I understand 32bit and 64bit etc. and am quite comfortable to make the switch, graphics cards aren't my strong suit. However fslateef is definitely incorrect as the maximum my mobo will support is 4GB and I know that under 32bit it can only address roughly 3.25GB.
Back to my point, the graphics card has 1GB of GDDR5 memory on it (i.e. dedicated and TOTALLY separate from the system RAM). However the store that built the PC for me have set it up so that 1GB of my system RAM can also be addressed by the graphics card if needs be and all i want to do is remove this. I know that the RAM isn't used unless necessary but I'd rather if it wasn't available to my graphics card full stop!

I am attaching screen shots to prove my point about dedicated RAM (the GDDR5) and available RAM (the DDR2 attached to my mobo).
Here the catalyst control centre is showing the GDDR5 on the graphics card itself
Here dxdiag is showing the amount of RAM the graphics card can use if necessary which includes the 1GB GDDR5 on the graphics card.

So, can either of you two or anyone please assist me?

Thanks
Aventura54
P.S. I am going to run GPU-Z now :) 

July 21, 2011 7:55:25 PM

Ah right thats the total video memory your talking about there.
Its listed under the graphics cards properties somewhere, im not sure where i thinks its Personalize/Display?change settings/Advanced settings, sounds about right but i can check if you want.
Anyway its the total video memory that is available. Its not spot on its approximate but the main thing to know is that its not actually being used. Its not reserved per-say. If its needed elsewhere it will be.
No one set anything up to do this its standard.

Mactronix :) 
July 21, 2011 9:10:33 PM

The dxdiag also counts shared memory which can be used by both the os for apps and the video card. So apps can take up all of the shared memory or the video card can take all the memory or any amount in between. The os will automatically manage the shared memory and with your video card having 1gb vram probably will never make the video card use the shared memory.

No one can set the amount, windows does it automatically to ~25% no matter the video card. The only time where the ram cannot be used is if an integrated gpu uses it as its dedicated vram which can be changed via the bios.

In dxdiag, if you hit the save all info button you get a txt file with more in depth info on your system.
July 21, 2011 10:21:16 PM

Thank you all for your replies, should have made that clearer before - sorry! After looking in the properties apparently 1403MB is set as the shared which would be ~25% of the addressable memory. It also appears like k1114 says that it isn't changeable which is a shame because although it is not used but is in a state where it can be used if necessary I think it may be causing issues with some programs not being able to use it (the shared part [1403MB]. It is also definitely not adjustable via the mobo as 1 its a dedicated gfx card and two there is no option.

Thanks for being patient with me, like I said 32bit and 64bit and many other computer related things I am OK at, but graphics cards were never my strong suit.

Thank you all once again

Aventura54

P.S. on the 32bit to 64bit transfer you suggested mactronix I will not be doing that with this mobo as I can't see the point in gaining less that 768MB when most of that will be used for 64bit as I understand it - a topic for another discussion, another day!
July 22, 2011 8:44:01 AM

Sorry I understood your question incorrectly and the maximum memory supported by your board is 4GB (link for specs: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=... (so I was assuming that like some other board it can use only 3GB of memory and 1GB is being eaten by motherboard probably for some memory-mapped-io or so).

Now for the shared memory stuff I pretty sure that your card is never going to use that unless it used all its on-board available 1GB memory. And I think you can't disable it from Windows (you can try fiddling with graphics-driver properties from device manager but most-likely this won't help).
July 22, 2011 12:17:57 PM

Also I believe this is adjustable under msconfig but i have not tried it myself. There is a tick box for use maximum memory. Its under. Boot/Advanced options. If you untick this box it reduces the amount "reserved"
Personally i feel that its all fine as it is and dont see the need to change it but if you wanted to try it the option is there.

Mactronix :) 
July 22, 2011 10:04:02 PM

Thanks everyone for your help! I'll just reiterate that I get that the shared memory won't be used unless necessary but I thought as it wasn't going to be used it was unnecessary to be that high. I am going to leave it as it can't be changed though - thanks for responding anyway.


Thanks for your last tip mactronix although it was already unticked and doesn't seem to be graphics or shared related.

Again, thank you all for your help!

Aventura54
!