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Why 4GB display as 3.25GB RAM total?

By daughn ·
Just got a Gateway FX400XL installed with 4GB RAM, but the system info shows 3.25G, and the Task Manager show physical of 3.40-----G. I know some large part is used for the OS, but both my other computers show exact 1GB and 1GB for memory under both System Info, and Task Manager Physical Memory. There is a problem. Anyone have any ideas? Switching memory modules have each pair showing 2GB RAM in two of the slots, but when all put in 4 slots, show 3.25GB

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by NZ_Justice In reply to Why 4GB display as 3.25GB ...

You are having a problem with the OS addressing the memory, there is a setting in the boot.ini file that has to be adjusted so that the correct amount of RAM is address sorry can't remember what it is.

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by setantapc In reply to Why 4GB display as 3.25GB ...

There may be an even more obvious answer... does the Gateway system use onboard video for the display chores ???

The numbers indicate rough math 64 - 75 Mbs of "missing memory" so it's possible 64 of that is assigned to video memory and the extra to "other" Windows tasks ...

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He's not missing 75 meg

by TonytheTiger In reply to

he's missing 750 meg!

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found the answer to your question

by surgio98 In reply to Why 4GB display as 3.25GB ...

XP 32 bit only supports up to 3.5GB of ram, apparently that includes memory for video cards as well.. so I'm assuming you have a 256mb vid card, like I do. There may be a work around that I haven't found, but I doubt it. The easiest solution is to change your OS to 64bit XP or to go to vista.

I found it here:

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RAM Reporting wrong

by kyledaniels In reply to found the answer to your ...

This could also be because of the RAM is sharing some of it's size with the RAM via UMA, which a lot of onboard video cards do, mine takes 128MB out of the system RAM to bring my video card up to a 256MB card. I am using an ATI Xpress 200M card on a laptop, and I know gateway and dell are notorious for having shared ram cards in them.

But I would check this out, as I use Windows XP Pro SP2 and I have 5GB of RAM on my desktop, and windows reports it correctly, and no I have not modded windows outside of the automatic updates.

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Dedicated VRAM but still RAM reported is 3.25GB

by vihar In reply to RAM Reporting wrong


I have a similar issue. Windows reports only 3.25GB of RAM with proper 4GB installed. but I am sure that my video adapter does not share the system memory.

Moreover, my applications do not recognise more than 2GB of physical memory.

This is very frustrating because I bought this (assembled) system to utilise the high RAM.

As we can see we have an excellent example of WinXP Pro SP2 reporting 5GB of RAM without problems.

I hope someone comes up with a solution soon.


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It is a windows XP limit.

by bsmith523 In reply to Why 4GB display as 3.25GB ...

32-bit versions of windows has a limit of 4GB of memory that it can access. Check you page file. I am guessing that it is set to around 750MB. The page file takes away from the 4Gb limit. That's why it would show less than 4GB. When you only had 2GB it would show 2GB since the 4Gb limit hadn't been reached. Even if you had 100GB of memory, windows would still be limited to 4GB. The only way around this is to switch to a 64-bit OS. For now, get rid of your page file. You have enough RAM that you don't need the page file anyways. You will see the available memory number go up.

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Page file larger than 0.75GB

by vihar In reply to It is a windows XP limit.


I appreciate your approach, however my page file is set to exactly 2GB and the total physical memory is shown explicitly as 3.25 GB. As for the 4GB limit, there is someone elsewhere in the forum who has 5GB of physical memory installed which shows up on the System Properties and Task Manager.


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by Langlier In reply to Page file larger than 0.7 ...

is all that is addressable by a 32 bit operating system. If someone else has a 5 GB machine it is because they are running xp 64 or vista 64

one thing id check that hasnt been mentioned is gateways website. verify that you have the latest bios for your Motherboard. I know of many people that have the same problem you are experiencing and its never been the same solution.

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Latest BIOS

by vihar In reply to 4GB


Yes, I agree. A lot of times the BIOS is the culprit. However, all of my 4GB was detected by the BIOS right from the outset. I still convinced myself to update and now nothing has changed, except the version number of the BIOS

The problem is with Windows. I will try disabling the page file.


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