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Windows 7: New RAM memory allocation. Usable Ram Less than installed. Help

06 Jun 2011   #1

Window 7 Professional 32bit
New RAM memory allocation. Usable Ram Less than installed. Help

Hi everyone,

As the title suggest I just upgraded my RAM memory. Specifically, I bought a Corsair XMS2 DHX TwinX 4GB package. This include double 2 GB corsair RAM. Just this afternoon I installed the Rams after purchase. I previously had 2 A-Data 1GB ram(totaling 2GB) but as I'm a gamer the demands for RAM from new games has increased dramatically in the last year. With the new Corsair Ram i expected that I would have 6GB of RAM to play around with.

But when I checked under my Computer Proprieties
New RAM memory allocation. Usable Ram Less than installed. Help-system-info.jpg

As you can see from the picture I can only use 3.25 GB of the total 6GB Ram. I tried to google and search around a bit and found a huge list of problems that could cause this for me.
The usable memory may be less than the installed memory on Windows 7-based computers
This was particularly helpful in listing all type of problems, but there are so many of them that it was hard to pinpoint which one affect me.
(quoting from the Microsoft link)
  • The devices that are installed in the computer and the memory that is reserved by those devices
  • The ability of the motherboard to handle memory
  • The System BIOS version and settings
  • The version of Windows 7 that is installed (For example, Windows 7 Starter Edition only supports 2 GB of installed memory.)
  • Other system settings
I guess first it is quite evident that I'm running on Windows 7 32 bits so that might be a problem.

I checked my BIOS settings, following the Microsoft guide I had memory remapping enable in BIOS setting. But it still doesn't work. so I guess that it isn't the only problem.

I used CPU-Z to check Motherboard and BIOS information from my PC and my BIOS was heavily outdated.

New RAM memory allocation. Usable Ram Less than installed. Help-motherboard-info.jpg

This might be another problem. But I also heard that updating your BIOS is a very risky and dangerous work unless must.I found my motherboard (the P5K) on Asus website and they also provided me with the newest version of BIOS and AFUDOS utilities to update my BIOS. Though I'm still very scarred about the damage that this can cause if it go wrong, plus it might not be the actual problem as none of the update log mentioned anything about fixing RAM problems.

Just to be sure I take some specification of my Motherboard from Asus website for someone more knowledgeable to analyze
New RAM memory allocation. Usable Ram Less than installed. Help-p5k-specification.jpg

Before I bought my Ram I made sure to check from Crucial detect my RAM settings. So when I bought my Corsair ram I made sure it was a DDR2 and PC6400 . Plus my motherboard can only handle maximum 2GB per slot .

In conclusion, I would like to get some helps,tips, recommendation, anything that help me to deal with the current situations. Should I upgrade my Window from 32 to 64? or should I update my BIOS. As of right now I have 3,25 GB of RAM to use, is a small improvement over my previous 2GB. But does the risk/cost to update my BIOS/Window outweigh it benefits?.
I know that most of my computer needs can be run under 2GB RAM. The only things that need a lot of RAM for me are Higher spec games. So if the risk outweigh the benefit I might as well be content with 3,25 GB of RAM until I can get enough money to buy an entirely new PC plus Win 64

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2011   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Memory Limits for Windows Releases (Windows)
According to this the OS will only handle a max of 4GB because it is 32-Bit. As for you only seeing 3.25, that's more than likely due to how Windows 7 addresses the RAM. My XP 32-Bit machine is the same way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2011   #3
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64

Jimmy welcome to the Seven Forums.

You already answered your own question, the problem is 32 bit Windows where you need 64 bit to use/take advantage of more than 4 GB of ram. Your motherboard and chipset already support up to 8 GB,

ASUSTeK Computer Inc. - Motherboards- ASUS P5K

so a bios update isn't required. So yes you need to change to 64 bit Windows (clean install only, there is no upgrade to 64 bit), either that or take one of the 2 GB sticks out as it won't be used for anything.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Jun 2011   #4
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2011   #5

Window 7 Professional 32bit

Thanks for your warm welcome,

I just spend my whole night reading about memory and stuff, guess I'm bound to pick up something. Anyway thanks for the recommendation, now that I know that I don't have to update my BIOS that is one less worry. I was wondering which one I should tackle first if it was the case.

In case of updating to Win 64, I might need some more times to save some money. In the mean time, do you suggest me to pull out the unused RAM? is it harmful to leave it there? If I were to pull out I guess I will pull my old RAM out and let the 2 Corsair enjoy their space
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2011   #6

Debian Squeeze Stable 64-bit

You could leave them there, but I'd take out the A-data stick. It isn't a good idea to run different brands together. There could be compatibility issues. I'd also clean install 64-bit - there is little point to running 32-bit of any OS anymore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 New RAM memory allocation. Usable Ram Less than installed. Help

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