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Existing Build, Not Using All RAM

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June 18, 2012 9:45:18 PM

Howdy all. I built this system a few years back and have been upgrading piece by piece as prices drop. Last upgrade I made was a graphics card and processor upgrade back in January and haven't had issues.

I noticed last week, however, that I am only reporting using 6GB of my 8GB of RAM. It is a recent problem, and as I said before, I haven't made any changes in 6 months.

I am using an MSI K9A2 Platinum MoBo, AMD Phenom II x4 980 3.7 processor. Using DDR2 PC-6400 Gmaxx 2GBx4 sticks for a total of 8GB installed, which my computer shows as installed...but is only using 6GB of it.

I am running Windows 7 64 bit. I have updated, and rolled back my BIOS drivers, mobo drivers, graphics drivers, windows updates, pulled my processor to make sure I didn't have any bent pins (I read in a few places that has been an issue apparently, so I checked it, even though I haven't messed with the processor in 6 months and the RAM issue is recent to the past week)

Anyone have any ideas?

More about : existing build ram

a b B Homebuilt system
June 18, 2012 11:20:32 PM

Wow, you're really using 6 GB of ram? Your system will only use as much ram as it needs, not all that is available. Even if you were to put in 32GB, you would see that your system will still be using 6GB - it doesn't need more (for what you are currently doing). Problems can occur when you don't have enough ram but having some extra in reserve isn't really considered a problem.
Background programs, desktop animations, and drivers can use up ram resources, likely one of your recent driver updates relieved a little of your ram usage is all.
June 18, 2012 11:34:49 PM

The thing is...it's never said "Usable 6GB" before. Not that I'm only "Using" 6GB of my 8GB, it's telling me that 2GB of it is unavailable. Sorry I wasn't clear in the first post.

8GB Installed, (6GB Usable)

It's the "Usable", not "Using", that bothers me.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 18, 2012 11:34:54 PM

I have 16GB of RAM myself, I've never managed to use more than 6GB of it either.
June 18, 2012 11:41:03 PM

Again...I'm not "Using" 6GB of RAM..it's that my computer is telling me only 6GB of my 8GB is even usable, though it still recognizes that 8 of it is installed.

Memory tests show that each stick is still functioning properly, but it still shows me in task manager, and system info that only 6GB is available for use.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 18, 2012 11:49:33 PM

nickg131 said:
The thing is...it's never said "Usable 6GB" before. Not that I'm only "Using" 6GB of my 8GB, it's telling me that 2GB of it is unavailable. Sorry I wasn't clear in the first post.

8GB Installed, (6GB Usable)

It's the "Usable", not "Using", that bothers me.


Okay, I get it now - that's kinda different than what I ranted about originally.
When you upgraded your processor and GPU, did you install additional software such as (but not limited to) Catalyst Control Center or other GPU integrator-type software? Is it possible it has reserved memory for GPU usage? (guessing now really)
June 19, 2012 12:32:04 AM

I've checked in>
AMD Overdrive
Nvidia Control Panel
msconfig>boot>advanced options

And none say anything about reserving the RAM. Max memory in the msconfig I have set to 8096, AMD overdrive I rolled back to stock from my OC profile. Nvidia control panel I rolled back to stock from my OC profile. Rebooted between each setting change and nothing.

I don't get it. Computer recognizes the full 8, says it's installed, memory diagnostics show no issues...and just randomly it stops working? Could it be a mobo/RAM issue, even though diag comes back clean? The mobo and RAM are about 4 years old now. LIke I said, I've run several hardware diagnostics and they all come back clean but..gah.

It's not like I even notice a performance difference obviously, I usually only have one or two windows open, and no programs that can even utilize all 6GB, much less 8GB...it's just annoying damnit! =p
a b B Homebuilt system
June 19, 2012 1:20:30 AM

I'm going to assume you're running XP Pro SP3 - I could find nothing about that OS (having never used it) but this is what microsoft support has to say about it in Windows 7. It may be applicable in your case also.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/978610
Maybe?
June 19, 2012 1:43:18 AM

First post says I'm running Windows 7 64 bit =p but thanks for the link, I'll check it out and try.
June 23, 2012 6:27:06 PM

Tried everything in the link, nothing worked. What irks me is that this is totally out of the blue, no changes have been made, and it's been recognizing my full 8GB as usable since I built the machine, and for the last 6 months since my last system modification. Thanks for the help but...I'm thinking maybe the hardware diagnostic is lying and it's as simple as one of my sticks is going bad...it's bad enough that windows can't use it...but good enough for it to at least know it's there.

*le sigh*
a b B Homebuilt system
June 23, 2012 6:34:37 PM

You can attempt to isolate the ram that is causing an issue (BTW - I agree that one of the ram modules is probably the issue).
By booting with single sticks and running memtest on each stick - might find an issue that way - it does seem strange though that it is "somewhat" recognized.

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June 24, 2012 1:16:31 AM
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try testing each module individually in dimm#1 (slot closest to processor) make sure dual channel mode is off before attempting.

but most likely it is because your mobo cannot support 8gb when all 4 dimms are populated with 2GB modules due to chipset limitations. it should recognize 7+GB but not 8GB so the fact it only recognizes 6GB is somewhat confusing. which leads me to think it may be a bad module.

June 24, 2012 6:20:27 PM

Thanks for the response...but I've had the same motherboard for 4 years, and had 8GB of RAM the whole time, and it's never had an issue showing all 8GB as usable. I ran memory diagnostics and one of the sticks fails about 30% of the time I run it so it appears to just be an issue of the one stick starting to go bad. It's ok...I have enough warning then to know in advance to save and buy a new mobo and some new RAM...DDR3...and maybe even 2133 ;-) hehe.

Thanks for all the help guys.
June 24, 2012 10:32:30 PM

nickg131 said:
Thanks for the response...but I've had the same motherboard for 4 years, and had 8GB of RAM the whole time, and it's never had an issue showing all 8GB as usable. I ran memory diagnostics and one of the sticks fails about 30% of the time I run it so it appears to just be an issue of the one stick starting to go bad. It's ok...I have enough warning then to know in advance to save and buy a new mobo and some new RAM...DDR3...and maybe even 2133 ;-) hehe.

Thanks for all the help guys.


the mobo manual says that is is impossible but its great that it worked for you.
July 2, 2012 5:12:05 AM

Best answer selected by nickg131.
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