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Old 01-11-2011, 05:46 PM   #1
Japo
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Unhappy Windows doesn't boot with 16 GB of RAM

So I wanted to expand my RAM. My computer has four slots and I was running with 2x4GB, and before that with 4x1GB which was the OEM's configuration. I had tried mixing 2x4GB+2x1GB but it caused freezes (incompatible RAM timings maybe?). I bought another pair of 4GB sticks, as identical to the two I had as absolutely possible without being made the same day, and from the same manufacturer.

When it's time for Windows to start, the computer just freezes. I have Vista x64 Home Premium, whose top is 16 GB precisely. And besides from what I've read if you surpass these limits Windows works just the same, but with capped RAM.

It doesn't seem to be due to my Windows installation, as the same happens with the bootable installation DVD.

With 12 GB for example Windows works OK, although Windows reports 11.9 GB (12,221 MB), but this may be unrelated. It doesn't seem to be caused by a defective stick or slot. I have swapped the sticks in place and actually it works the same if I fill DIMM slots 1-3 or 1-2 and 4. It always worked fine with the OEM configuration, which was 1 GB sticks filling all four slots.

I have run both the OEM-provided memory diagnostics and MemTest86+ with negative results. MemTest86+ for one reports 4x4096MB correctly.

The BIOS reports 16 GB in dual channel. With three sticks, which is the most I can run Windows on, it reports 12 GB in "flex mode", so everything looks fine. Although then on the detailed list the BIOS also reports any 4 GB stick as 512 MB, but that may be unrelated too. I have the latests BIOS update (from Dell, from 2009). At any rate the problem appears when Windows is supposed to enter the stage.

I have tried booting an Ubuntu CD, and it runs OK, but this time reporting 14.7 GiB...
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:55 PM   #2
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I recall in XP this sort of thing was related to the fact that the RAM, pagefile and the GPU all shared a common address space. How much memory does your GPU have and what is your page file set to?
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:07 PM   #3
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My graphic card has 1 GB, and currently after expanding to 3x4GB, my pagefile is 13,129,252,864 bytes (12.23 GB) big. I read the MSDN article about memory limits, but I found nothing that would explain this. AFAIK with x64 there should be no problem.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/libr...(v=vs.85).aspx
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Devices have to map their memory below 4 GB for compatibility with non-PAE-aware Windows releases. Therefore, if the system has 4GB [or more] of RAM, some of it is either disabled or is remapped above 4GB by the BIOS. If the memory is remapped, X64 Windows can use this memory. X86 client versions of Windows don’t support physical memory above the 4GB mark, so they can’t access these remapped regions. Any X64 Windows or X86 Server release can.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:45 AM   #4
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I don't recall any version of XP being 64 bits friendly or even compatible though.

I clearly remember that 4gig of ram being an almost impassable mark in XP power output. Not that I don't think it would be possible to go around or above it, but more for the fact that Microsoft is well known for blocking their products to promote the newer ones for milking cash.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:18 AM   #5
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There was a Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, which supported up to 128 GB, but before this becomes derailed, I'll repeat that I have Vista Home Premium x64. I have been working with 8 GB for a long time.
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:31 PM   #6
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I would say, almost certainly, a motherboard limitation. Just because I can fit a 4 GB stick in my netbook, I know the memory controller won't accept over 2 GB. I would look up the specs for the motherboard.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:26 PM   #7
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You may well be right, although unfortunately Dell doesn't provide proper documentation at this level. I think it's a (possibly customized) Intel motherboard, but I'm not sure which one. According to Memtest86+ and HWiNFO it may be "x48", which apparently has 8 GB max. At Intel.com it wasn't recognized as Intel.

But at any rate it does seem to accept 4 GB sticks. With 8 GB I think I've worked long enough to be sure that there are no problems. Nevertheless this might explain my issues while using 10 GB (2x4+2x1), as well as the diminished tallies (11.9 GB instead of 12 and 14.7 instead of 16). I'll be on the alert in case any problem comes back with 12 GB, then I'll know what to expect.

Thanks.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:29 AM   #8
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Maybe you could use the CrucialSystemScanner. Link
I have used it every time I needed to increase the memory available for the system to it's max..

The only things I get of this site is then:
Type of RAM (DDR2, 3 and/or SODIMM etc.)
Maximum (In GB over all slots)
Speed (noted as PC(#-)#### and/or a (#)###MHz value)
CAS latency (CL#)
and Voltage (between 1,5V and 1,9V I think)

After I know what I need through this utility, I simply use those values to shop for the best RAM where I think it's sold Cheapest.
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:46 PM   #9
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8 GB is definitely the max for my mobo. I can sail uncharted waters with more RAM in some circumstances, but it causes freezes in the long run. Serves me right. :|
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:32 PM   #10
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Ah well, if you can't add more mem to speed things up you always can get one of those: SATA2 DDR2 HyperDrive5
It's unbelievable how fast things work with them drives.
Could testrun one not so long ago ( ...had to give it back, damn ) and yeah, anything that uses a lot of mem/HD-read-writings/HDcache , CAD, video-converting, such things, run fast as hell.

Now yeah, speed has a price, of course.
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