[SOLVED] 64gb of ram installed only 16gb showing

Mar 30, 2022

I gave a close friend an old alienware aurora r3 years ago and up until a few days ago it was running smooth as silk. Yesterday he calls me with a unique problem - only 16gb is showing. I'm not completely computer inert but I could use some help. We're thousands of miles apart and i'm trying my best to help him resolve the issue.

So, the PC is an old Aurora R3 with 4 sticks totaling 64gb in 4x4 kits, and that is displaying only 16gb in both the bios & windows msinfo32.

If the ram installed were like this; 1 2 3 4.....I told him to shuffle every stick LEFT one slot so the boot order would be 2 3 4 1, and then 3 4 1 2 ect trying to find if a single stick was just bad. during this process the total ram available dropped from 16gb to 8gb. then, a second time dropped from 8gb to 4gb.....So, I had him jumper the CMOS to reset. Now, we're back to 1 2 3 4 as they were originally before we touched anything AND we've been restored to 16gb total, despite having 64 installed again in 4x4 kits.

I think the next step is to check the bios to make sure some settings aren't crazy....I had him make a memtest86 usb and we tested the "16" gb last night and it passed without errors. I looked up the motherboard and found this; https://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_alienware_dsk/alienware-aurora-r3_service manual_en-us.pdf and it's been a pretty massive help.

According to that diagram on memory I should be able to install 2 of the 4 sticks in slots 1 and 3 and should still get 16gb right? I want to ultimately use the ram if possible to test for a possible motherboard failure. I suspect either a surge has happened and damaged/diminished the motherboards or ram's ability to function properly. What series of tests could I conduct to be certain?
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The diagram I see numbers the slots 3, 1, 4, 2 from left to right in the diagram.

As I read it, if you want to install just 2 sticks, they should be in slots 1 and 2.

Which would imply that using just 1 and 3 would be incorrect....which would presumably lead to just slot 1 being read....which would be 1 of your 16 gb sticks, not 2. Not the stick in slot 3.

Which would agree with your "I should be able to install 2 of the 4 sticks in slots 1 and 3 and should still get 16gb right?"

But the diagram or the instructions shown could be wrong.

I'd instead rely on trial and error as you are doing.

4 sticks and 4 slots; each stick in every slot alone; that is 16 possibilities. Get that far then worry about combinations of sticks.

A major pain and time consuming.