windows 7 showing only 6.94 gig of usable RAM out of 8gig installed

soulranger

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Hello. I just did my first build in 12 years and have a questions about the RAM. I am using windows 7 home premium and have 8 gigs of ram (2 x4 gig). When I go into control panel and click on system, its reports "Installed Memory (RAM): 8.00 GB (6.94 GB usable)".

Can anyone explain why all 8 GB is not "usable"? Is there something wrong with the RAM? The specific RAM i am using is:
2 x 4 gig Kingston HyperX Fury 1866mhz DDR3 RAM (model HX318C10FRK2/8).

Thanks so much!!

Mike
 

CmdrJeffSinclair

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Many people will tell you that the 1.06GB of RAM is on hardware reserve usually due to graphics cards hogging up some reserves for paging, which isn't wrong at all but good. But when this happened to me I found out that it was a memory driver that was doing this which wasn't an error but correct.

I went into my Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Device Manager > and under the System Devices tab I uninstalled all RAM controllers and chipset DRAM drivers.

Mine were called:
Mobile Intel(R) 45 Express Chipset Series PCI Express Root Port - 2A41
Mobile Intel(R) 45 Express Chipset Series Processor to DRAM Controller - 2A40
Direct Memory Access Controller

and I went ahead and uninstalled my processor chipset drivers under
Processors called:
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T9600 @ 2.8GHz

I did a restart, at boot up Windows re-downloaded all of the drivers and asked me to restart again and at my second boot all 8GB showed up again. (The drivers were the same, since these drivers almost never update but something caused them to allocate the memory as reserve). The memory reserve did not change but it showed all 8GB, which was what I wanted.

In the end nothing changed. It's just a number and as to why one moment Windows shows only 7GB and 8GB the next matters little since the full 8GB is still there and being used. People like you and I are just finicky with our computers. So whether you want to see 7GB total due to 1.06GB on reserve or 8GB total with 1.06GB used is up to you! Regardless that 1.06GB will never be yours but for some reasons the numbers change a little.

In the end, whether it says 8GB as the max with no indication of any on reserve, remember that the 1.06GB is still on reserve and just doesn't show it all the time. It's just something Windows does and probably always will do. This solution will only change the way the numbers appear to you. Either way, you only get to have 7GB
 

soulranger

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Thank you for your time and explanation! I guess that leads to another question.... If I was looking at a game, for example, and it said minimum requirement 8 GB RAM, would that mean I wouldn't be able to play it? Stated another way, do I now have to consider myself as having only 7 GB instead of 8 when looking at game requirements? Thanks again!

Mike.
 

CmdrJeffSinclair

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That's a great question no one can 100% answer without looking at your computer. Typically hardware reserve is a good thing, perhaps even a great thing depending on where it's going though. Chances are very high that your GPU is sucking up RAM and page file for extra speed which could cost you for CPU intensive games with advanced physics and particle effects (dust, bugs, special ragdoll physics, smooth AI movements, etc). Most computers these days try to at least be a little power efficient, and one way to do that is by linking hardware resources so in that sense hardware reserve is usually good. At the same time, it's also what AMD does with their CPU's (APU's technically) and AMD suffers for it as well by unifying everything. It takes away all strengths any one part may have and all parts work with each other, and all parts are only as strong as the weakest link in the chain too which sucks. If you have Intel then this will not be the case.

My GPU's only have 1GB of VRAM yet they somehow suck up 7.8GB of memory from page file, RAM, HDD (virtual memory) and other resources. When I encountered the error you had, it said also that a full 1.5GB were taken for hardware resources. Even though I got it to say that all 8GB was available, in the detailed specs from the system still showed that magical 7.8GB of system resources being hogged up.

So to answer your question: For me, if I had only 7GB of RAMof my 8GB and a game needed 8GB minimum then chances are high I could play it unaffected since my GPU can handle so much IF the GPU at least hits the mark for recommended specs (not minimum required specs). The only complication is what the RAM is being used for. As an example, If the game needs tons of RAM more for advanced physics rather than visuals then that places the emphasis on CPU (my weakest link in the chain) and it might cause me to suffer. There are some really cheesy looking games that have some advanced physics that just won't work with my old CPU like Path of Exile (which looks worse than Diablo 3). Yet I can play Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light on high which most people can't do with 2 year old computers and I'm still running a dual core from 7 years ago, and my laptop does not even come close to the recommended specs. The game is very well optimized though and the way my system manages memory works well for my system. For MY system haha. I will need to know what your system is!

Tell me your specs precisely and I can tell you based on experience what to expect from whatever game it is you have in mind. There are a lot of technicalities to games and hardware usage, all of which depend solely on how well the game is optimized for your hardware. No one will be able to tell you for sure unless obviously you pass the specs requirements, but I can say that out of the 47 games I own, about a dozen should be beyond my old laptop yet I can play them all at max graphics with other enhancements like AA, 16x AF, and so on.
 

soulranger

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Thank you again for your response. Here are my system specs:
Rosewill R536-Red case with 500 watt power supply.
MSI A78M-E45 mother board.
Sapphire Radeon R7 250 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 3.0 (x16) graphics card with CrossFireX.
Western Digital WD10EZEX 7200 RPM hard drive.
2 x 4 gig Kingston HyperX Fury 1866mhz DDR3 RAM (model HX318C10FRK2/8).
Pioneer BDR-209DBK-KIT 16x Blu Ray Writer.
AMD A8-7600 FM2+ processor.
Asus VE228H 21.5 inch full HD monitor.
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

Because I don't know if it is relevant, I will mention that I have not yet activated CrossFireX (still trying to figure out how). At any rate, I do not have any specific game in mind, I was just asking in general for future reference. It just bothers me seeing that not all of my 8 gigs of ram are "usable." From my understanding of your explanation, I don't actually have all 8 gigs no matter what? I read an article from microsoft's website discussing the issue. It seems to me to indicate that while it is expected, it is not necessarily supposed to happen, as they talk about possible fixes. To be honest, much of the article is above my head. Here is a link to the article:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/978610

Thanks again for your time and help!

Mike
 

soulranger

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I posted my specs by separate post yesterday, but I wanted to let you know that I spoke to a tech at MSI regarding my board. He explained how to enable the CrossFireX (I had to go into bios, settings, integrated graphics, and set it to dual graphics. This also made another box come up where I had to chose how much RAM to share. I left it on Auto at first (the share option was on Auto before enabling dual graphics as well). I then checked and the "usable" memory was still 6.94GB our of the 8GB installed. I then went back in and changed the share value to 128MB. Windows now shows 7.82 GB as "usable". So my assumption is that I am loosing RAM because it is being reserved for the graphics.

However, I am not sure if the RAM is being shared with the APU, or the GPU (or if it even matters)?

So now my new question is should I even run the system with crossfire enabled? What is the purpose of it? I have read a lot about it but seem to always get different information. And the tech at MSI wouldn't offer an opinion as to the benefits and negatives of using it, and was also unable to explain the purpose of crossfire. Any thoughts? Also, how much memory would you suggest I have it share? I currently have it at 128MB.

Thanks again so much!

Mike
 

CmdrJeffSinclair

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well crossfire should stay enabled unless your game suffers which shouldn't be the case virtually ever so leave it on always, however it's sorta irrelevant anyway since your pc would probably never be able to play next gen games (which are the only games that will use 6-8GB RAM)
 

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