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Max amount memory = 512MB

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Anonymous
a b } Memory
February 3, 2002 10:28:04 AM

I upgraded the memory on my prized P4 system to 640MB RAM on Saturday and discovered that I couldn't run a game or do simple things like opening a Command prompt. Each time I tried, a message would appear that there wasn't enough memory to run the program.

To cut a long and frustrating story short, I found this article on the web this morning:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/14967.html After applying the workaround by limiting the amount of Virtual Memory to 512MB, the problem went away, but I'm pissed off because RDRAM modules are still not cheap and if I had bought 2x512MB modules instead of 2x256MB, it would have meant about €1000 going down the drain.

I'm also wondering about the legal implications because Dell states quite clearly on their Website that the system supports up to 2048MB RAM as can be seen here:
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/mem_config.asp?custo...

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Worm_Ai on 02/03/02 07:30 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
a b } Memory
February 3, 2002 1:18:38 PM

I've since discovered that Microsoft is aware of the problem as can be demonstrated here:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q253912 but doesn't appear to be coming up with a fix bearing in mind that this particular article was published in July 2001.
February 3, 2002 1:44:34 PM

Hi, Worm ...

That memory limitation might have surprised the guys at the Register, and it's obviously ticked you off, but here at Tom's, we've been aware of the problem for a while ... and our workarounds are similiar. Maybe even a little better! We've had some recent discussions on the issue.

The best solution is upgrading to Win2K or WinXP. But if that's not an option for you at this time, take a look at these links:

<A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">Too much memory?</A>

<A HREF="http://www.forrestandassociates.co.uk/pcforrest/vcache...." target="_new">How Your Machine's Memory Is Managed By Windows</A>

<A HREF="http://www.3dspotlight.com/tweaks/memory/print.shtml" target="_new">Tweaking your System Memory</A>

I'm not sure that you can hold Dell responsible for Microsoft's mistakes. Your hardware <i>can</i> handle 2GB of RAM ... it's the operating system that's the limiting factor.

I'd rather play with matches than run WinME. You have just experienced one of the many reasons why upgrading away from a "beta" operating system is a good idea.

Toejam31

P.S. I suggest, that if you switch operating systems ... you start over from scratch with a clean, fresh installation on the primary partition. Don't upgrade WinME, or you may run into major problems.

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
Related resources
February 3, 2002 1:54:32 PM

Quote:
Hi, Worm ...

Heh. I bet you've always wanted to say that.

BTW. An <A HREF="http://www.shonky.com/" target="_new">interesting</A> link for ya, if I haven't sent it already.

:cool: <b><font color=blue>The Cisco Kid</font color=blue></b> :cool:
February 3, 2002 2:09:08 PM

Thanks! You know how much I prize an interesting link!

Toey

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
Anonymous
a b } Memory
February 3, 2002 2:27:27 PM

Thanx camieabz, I'll check it out :) 
Anonymous
a b } Memory
February 3, 2002 2:31:01 PM

Going slightly off-track, I see you got a Iiyama Vision Master Pro 510 (22") monitor Toejam31. I was looking at their site yesterday and saw that model there. What's your opinion of it?
February 3, 2002 2:46:17 PM

Hey Toey, how come you don't suggest that they try <A HREF="http://www.outertech.com" target="_new">Cacheman</A> to try and solve the Win9x memory limitation? It worked great for me when I was using Windows 98SE and 512MB of memory... :eek: 

<A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/btvillarin" target="_new">My Website</A>-<b>reorganized</b> & updated everyday
February 3, 2002 3:04:30 PM

In a word: Outstanding. Which is an understatement.

I did a lot of research before buying this monitor, including traveling more than a few miles to view several units on display. It was a major purchase, being nearly $1000.00 at the time, and I wanted to be sure that I got the most for my money.

I have not been disappointed in the decision. In comparison to units from Sony, Viewsonic, and other popular brands ... the Iiyama was easily the best CRT at that price. It has vivid colors, high contrast levels, an easily adjustable user interface, and crisp text, which is unusual in an aperture grill monitor. It also has the best screen coating I've found on a display screen ... it repells dirt, and only requires a quick buffing now and again, despite the fact that I'm a smoker.

Like many AG monitors, it <i>does</i> have the faint, suspended steel wires crossing the display area, but I haven't noticed them in months. They are really only visible on a white screen ... otherwise, your brain tunes them out.

I consider this monitor to be the best purchasing decision I made last year.

If you take a quick search around the Web, you'll quickly see that I'm far from being the first person who is impressed with this monitor. And take a look at this <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/ce/modules.php?name=Foru..." target="_new">thread</A>, where a user recently purchased the Pro 512 model. He seems very happy with his new monitor ... and who can blame him? :smile:

You can pick it up the Pro 510 at <A HREF="http://www.pagecomputer.com/cgi-bin/prodinfo?cd=04&pn=I..." target="_new">Page Computer</A> for $795.00, which is a pretty decent price, from a reputable online webstore. Or the upgrade in the series from <A HREF="http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.asp?edc=317902" target="_new">CDW</A> for a few dollars more.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
Anonymous
a b } Memory
February 3, 2002 3:24:19 PM

Thanx Toejam31. Looks like a good recommmendation. Unfortunately, I live in the Netherlands, but over here, that model costs €1002 (about $863) which isn't bad considering it includes 19% sales tax.

One last thing though If I may pick your brains concerning the memory problem again :)  As mentioned already, I bought a Gainward GF3 Ti500 graphics card recently, but which hasn't been delivered yet. The current AGP aperture in the BIOS is set to 128MB and I've got an OEM GF2 GTS at the moment. There's an option to increase it to 256MB. Should I ignore that and keep the current setting, or even decrease it still further to say 64MB?
February 3, 2002 3:50:26 PM

I kinda did ... it's in the middle of the thread in the first link. And it's good that you mentioned it again, just in case it got overlooked. It's a good, quick fix.

But ... the reason I don't always bring it up is because it really isn't necessary if you make the manual adjustments to the system.

I usually prefer to make the least amount of changes to a system in order to correct a problem, and although Cacheman is easy to use (and fun to play with) ... it doesn't really educate the user and add a better understanding of the operating system and hardware. This is why I tend to post links when replying in a thread. I think it's better to help someone learn, and improve their troubleshooting skills, than to just offer a clickable solution.

I've always thought of computers as being like an advanced set of Tinker Toys, and I feel that I'm in the business of helping other folks figure out how to put the round peg in the round hole ... instead of just doing it for them.

For example, I was fussed at on another Forum for posting a link to an informative website on how to write a batch file. The user wanted me to write the file for him. But the file was needed for a RAM drive, and he didn't understand how to install it, or how to use it. Therefore ... I couldn't really write the file, and I felt it would do him more good to figure it out for himself. And I didn't want to take the responsibility for rendering his machine unbootable if he screwed up the process!

Basically, as he told it, he felt I should have explained <i>everything</i>. He mentioned having received many instructions that he had followed to the letter (and successfully) in the past, and he didn't think it was necessary to <i>understand</i> the how-and-why of what he was doing on the computer. He just wanted the instructions, period. Although I could have posted information on the subject for two days straight without taking a deep breath, and then he wouldn't have grasped a word I said. Or appreciated the work involved in teaching him.

With that attitude, I could very well understand why he needed frequent tech support, and why nearly every minor problem he encountered was a mystifying and frustrating experience. I searched around the Forum, and he was a frequently confused and angry user. And blameless, by the way. Everything bad that happened to him was the computer's fault.

People may disagree with me, but I think technical support is just as much about education as it is offering workable solutions. Even if it requires a little more effort on everyone's part.

That's my reasoning, bt. Sorry if it turned into a short rant, my friend ... but you know me; I'm long-winded and over-opinionated! LOL!

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
February 3, 2002 4:01:59 PM

I wouldn't <i>decrease</i> the aperture setting unless you have stability problems.

I'd try the higher setting, which allows for greater amounts of memory to be used for texturing. But if the system has stability issues ... put it back at 128.

Generally, the rule-of-thumb for an AGP aperture is half the size of the physically-installed RAM.

The aperture on both of my systems is 256, and both cards function perfectly in 3D applications, and that includes DVD with the main rig. I had the same settings when running Win9x, previously.

If you decrease the MaxFileCache setting in the BIOS to at least 262144, you shouldn't experience any difficulties with an aperture of 256. But each system reacts differently, due to the hardware configuration ... so try both of the higher settings in the BIOS, and see for yourself which seems to work best.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
February 3, 2002 6:26:43 PM

I know exactly how you feel, Toey. I know it's better to educate than just give a quick instruction in the long run. For the record, I have yet to disagree with you on anything you've said about computing.

<i>"If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he will feed himself for a lifetime."</i> (Or, something like that)

<A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/btvillarin" target="_new">My Website</A>-<b>reorganized</b> & updated everyday
February 4, 2002 5:42:41 AM

Well said Toe.

The problem stems from the fact that most people don't want to learn; they just want things to work and work RIGHT NOW. (At least when it comes to computers) I'm a technician by trade and I've come across all sorts. One woman balked at the suggestion that she had to download a new driver for her scanner to get it to run properly on her brand new Compaq. (We ended up taking the scanner back at a loss). She simply could not comprehend that things do not work 100% of the time right out of the box. The fact that the solution to her problem was so simple seemed to escape her. Needless to say, I hope she never walks into my shop again... which she probably won't, but that's not my fault nor my problem.

I completely understand how frustrating it can be to take the time to teach someone something they simply don't want to learn. No matter how much you help them, they never seem to want to help themselves. Grrrr.. damn that woman.. LOL. Even now (more than 2 years later) that incident with her frustrates me to no end. The other thing is that it's never their fault or the manufacturers fault; it's always the fault of the person that sold it to them.

We can't be expected to test every single piece of equipment that comes through the door. I understand the frustration that people have when something doesn't work; however yelling and belittling the person you're talking to does NOT solve your problem. I do not feel compelled to help you if my help is not appreciated in any way. (Especially if the problem is your fault to begin with). Everyone says 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease'... but that only gets you so far in my books.

Sorry for ranting; I just had to get that off my chest. Thanks again Toe for all your efforts. I just hope more people obtain a willingness to learn; rather than have everything done for them.

<font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
Anonymous
a b } Memory
February 4, 2002 7:33:16 AM

Thanx once again Toejam31. One thing though. In your post dated 12/31/01 10:13 PM, you suggest that the Min/MaxFileCache size should be 4096 respectively 131072 for 512MB RAM. So since the amount of memory that I actually have in the machine is only 640MB, isn't the higher setting that you suggest at 262144 a little too much?
Anonymous
a b } Memory
February 4, 2002 8:46:59 AM

I thought I'd just make a quick comment to the posts by Zoron and btvillarin. First and foremost I think you have to accept that people come from all walks of life. Some are technically savvy while others are not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not intentionally being patronizing, but the fact remains that some people are incapable of grasping things that IT-minded individuals find a piece of cake. It's just that some of them don't know how to express themselves very well and therefore the wrong impression comes across. Trying to teach such people how to write a batch file as one of you mentioned is a waste of time IMHO because not only can they not understand the concept, they're also probably petrified of damaging their precious machines. I worked on a tech support phone line myself for three years and I know how irritating it can be trying to educate callers with what to us seem simple problems.

In addition, the kind of tech support that people get these days when they buy an off-the-shelf PC from any of the major companies like Dell, Gateway, Compag and the like sucks BIG time. Companies like these spend fortunes on advertising their products, but their support lines are handled by Outsourcers like Sykes for example: http://www.sykes.com/english/index.asp The priorities for these latter companies is maintaining the service level at 95% because anything over and above that earns them a lot more money. The client company provides a forecast of the number of calls expected per week and divided by the number of agents employed to meet that target, it means that they have maximum time limit of around eight minutes in which to complete the call. That results most of the time in callers with complex problems being fobbed off with excuses and being told to recover the system because the agents don't have the time to spend with them. It's also in the agents' own interest to get rid of the caller as soon as possible because they earn a bonus for taking more calls. It might surprise you to learn that most of these so called "tech support agents" are dropouts who know hardly anything about computers themselves. Their primary task is to pick up the phone and to make sure they hold the caller online for at least 20 seconds because that earns the company the same amount that they would for a one minute call. So the shorter the call, the more calls that can be handled and the bigger the profits. When agents come across problems they can't handle, they have to refer to a Mentor. So that's why you get frequent comments on the line that "they're going to discuss the matter with their colleagues" or words to that effect and subsequent long delays because the Mentor line is clogged up. The Mentors in turn have to handle a constant barrage of questions eight hours a day, five days a week which they themselves can't handle. Needless to say, the amount of time you have to spend on the line just to get through to tech support in the first place is little short of atrocious. With very few exceptions, it's staffed by teenagers whose only interest in the job is their paycheck at the end of the month and how quickly they can get rid of the customer. So it's not surprising that people end up in forums like these because the whole tech support scene stinks quite frankly and that's a one of the main reasons that we're seeing a substantial downturn in PC sales right now.
February 4, 2002 12:35:09 PM

No, sir ... I don't think so. But I wouldn't exceed that amount, personally.

The MaxFileCache setting is for allocating the upper limit of memory addresses needed for the disk-caching virtual device driver. The combination of this, with the memory addresses allocated for the AGP port, if not more than 512MB, should present no problems for your system.

But you'll noticed I said "at least" 262144, when my preference (for performance) would be half of that. I wasn't thinking of a <i>larger</i> number with the statement ... but in the other direction! Most of the workarounds suggest a maximum cache of 512MB, but that's too large in my book. The idea is to keep the Vcache lower than the amount of the physical RAM in the system ... but to also keep a memory address conflict from occurring between the disk-caching driver and the APG port.

262144 is all someone should ever need, but sometimes, less is more. You could try a smaller cache setting, and do some testing to see how the system responds.

Sorry about the confusion.

See ya ...

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
February 4, 2002 1:36:08 PM

I only wish that more people were actually afraid of damaging their machines ... tech support would be a much easier thing to do! More than half the calls I field are from people who decided to take matters in their own hands and "fix" a problem, without any kind of troubleshooting model, or an idea of what is involved. And are unable to write something down on a piece of paper, like an error message.

These are the kind of users I commonly refer to as people who know just enough to be dangerous. Like the friend/relative/next-door neighbor who solemnly issues advice, and contradicts everything a tech might say. It's a constant source of amazement to me at how arrogant those people can be, and at how diligently they resist learning anything new.

Many people assume that computer is like a refrigerator ... an appliance, and it should function perfectly once plugged into a socket. But a 'fridge does one thing, and one thing only ... cooling food items, while a computer can do thousands of things, and many of them at one time. As such, it's a little more complicated, and requires more than a quick glance at a badly-written, color-coded manual.

I agree that most technical support flatly sucks. And because of that, I am pleased to see many people come to THGC for advice, and to learn more about their systems. The more folks that get educated, the better it will be for all of us.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
February 4, 2002 2:41:41 PM

That goes back to my rant... the apparent unwillingness to learn... hehe

For people to learn something about their computer it requires a desire to learn. As I've said, there's not a lot of desire out there in a lot of cases. I realize it can be frustrating and time-consuming; but with computers becoming an integral part of our lives, the time investment to learn everything you can about them is more valuable than you think.

Again I agree completely with you Toe. I live in a small mining community in northern Canada, and we have a number of 'next-door techs'. They constantly insist that they are right; despite the fact that I'm the tech with 7 years experience. I'm sometimes talked to as if I don't know anything. Now granted, I make a mistake from time to time, but that's human nature. We have to learn from our mistakes and keep going.

I appreciate people who take the time to do research and come in knowing exactly what they want. They are the ones most likely to try every avenue available to them before calling for tech support... and when they do it is much easier to help them because they have the desire to learn.

Most tech support does suck; I can speak from first-hand experience on that one. Sometimes, even I must call for help... and it sometimes seems like I know more than the person I'm talking to.

I am more than happy to help anyone in any way I can... but they have to be willing to help themselves as well.

Sheesh... I'm never this long-winded face to face... LOL

<font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
February 4, 2002 7:59:27 PM

I wouldn't know what else to add. After all, I've only had experience with computers for 5 years, and I'm always learning new things. Besides, I don't know if I want to add another lengthy post (although the ones so far have been well-thought).

<A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/btvillarin" target="_new">My Website</A>-<b>reorganized</b> & updated everyday
February 5, 2002 6:08:34 PM

You have summed up my Dad. He won't touch a thing if he can help it. To the point that he will rather have a corrupt file warning pop up every time he shuts down (the file is a printer file which was wrongly installed or something). He is happy to have this problem rather than do a back-up, re-format and start again.

On another point. A lot of consumers believe they pay money for something which should work perfectly, all the time!!!

Would you try to sell anything with a "may need periodic upgrades flashes and patches" warning. Of course not. The attitude is "I pay you provide."

:cool: <b><font color=blue>The Cisco Kid</font color=blue></b> :cool:
February 5, 2002 6:59:52 PM

You make a very good point. Unfortunately, such is the nature of the computer business. Almost all software is sold under the 'get it to shelf now, patch it later' philosophy. You can hardly blame your salesman for selling what is supposed to be a good product, only to find out that it sucks. The other unfortunate situation is that you cannont legally (in Canada anyway) take back open software and resell it.

Computers are not going to work perfectly 100% of the time. It's not always the user's fault, but again, that is the nature of the beast. The problem with the 'I pay you provide' statement is that in a lot of cases all you are paying for is the hardware. Margins keep shrinking, and unless someone purchases a service agreement, they're not entitled to anything beyond hardware service under the warranty. Now the big OEMs do allow you to call for software support, but quite often you are only entitled to 90 days of free support. If you were to include such services in the price of the computer, you would have to sell machines at almost 100% markup to recoup the costs of labor.

I really don't mind helping someone fix a software glitch. The problem comes in when I don't get paid to fix software issues, so I have to charge the customer... in most cases that is ok with them, but sometimes they balk and say "I paid such-and-such an amount for this computer, shouldn't that be provided?" So we end up eating the cost of labor (2 or 3 hours worth at times) to keep the customer happy. That's fine in some cases, but you're in business to make money, not give it away. If you're not making money, you're not going to be in business very long.

<font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
!