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The Swamp
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RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:50 am

Hi guys. I'm having an issue with some RAM.

I have an FM socket Gigabyte motherboard. I had two 4GB RAM sticks in it, in the first and third memory slots which works fine. I wanted to move up to 16GB of RAM. I ordered what I thought was a 4x4GB kit. Well, I was in a hurry and didn't realize it was 8GB all on one stick. D'oh!

I didn't think it would be an issue. I ran MemTest on the single new stick, no errors. I installed in in the 4th slot. I reinstalled the two 4GB sticks in the 1st and 3rd slots and booted up. BIOS saw all 16GB of RAM. Thinking there was no problem, I booted into Win7-64, which shows only 12GB of RAM. So, I am missing 4GB that Windows is not seeing for some reason. I have not had time to mess with it much, but I did move the 8GB stick to the 2nd slot. Still showing 12GB of RAM.

This seems weird. I know Windows is seeing at least two of the sticks, and one of them has to be the 8GB stick in order to get up to 12GB. But, I do not know if it's ignoring one 4GB stick or 4GB of the 8GB stick. I don't know if moving the sticks around the slots might cure the problem, or if it's a BIOS setting I need to change to free up the missing 4GB, or if it's a Windows setting that needs to be tweaked for it to see the full 16GB.

Brew and I have chewed on this a bit, and I think he's on the right track that I really need to have the 4x4GB kit to keep things symmetrical rather than using just one 8GB stick on the second channel. But, it seems to me that it should still work, given that the BIOS sees the RAM with no issues.

Anyone have a idea what is going on here? Thanks!
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VincentHanna
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:01 am

You should return the 8gb stick and get a 2x4.

Getting it to run "properly" could cause your system to be unstable.
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:03 am

Try some tool like CPU-Z and check what it sees as being installed in each memory slot.

Many motherboards have limitations as to how you are allowed to combine different module sizes, but if CPU-Z sees the correct memory in all slots, then I would expect Windows to also be able to use it all.
If the board has an on-board gfx solution, then that would also use some of the system memory, however it is usually just 128MB.

Since you have memtest handy already, does that see all 16GB when you boot that?
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:06 am

Try moving one of the 4GB sticks to the unoccupied slot instead. That should put 2x4 on one channel and 1x8 on the other (so 8GB on each channel). Moving the 8GB stick like you did would've still left you with an asymmetric amount of RAM on each channel. Not sure it'll help, but it is worth a try.
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The Swamp
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:13 am

I have the two 4GB sticks on the same channel, and the 8GB stick on the second channel. I could try getting another 8GB stick instead of using the two 4GB sticks, I guess.

I'm not sure if Windows is simply ignoring one of the 4GB sticks.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:17 am

OK, maybe it is just getting confused by the mismatch somehow.

FWIW I have occasionally seen motherboard docs which mis-identify which sockets go to each channel. I suppose it's possible the modules aren't on the channels we think they are...
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:21 am

RAM chips may be working at different speeds? try setting them all up at the lowest speed (I had a similar problem just a while back). Also make sure that you're sitting the RAM in the recommended slots in the motherboard manual, as incorrect seating may confuse your motherboard too. Have you tried adding the 8 GBs of RAM in the primary channel and the other two in the secondary channel?
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:34 am

Are you sure you put the RAM in the correct slots? I might be dating myself, but IIRC, AMD is slots 1&2 are paired and slots 3&4 are paired. Check your mobo manual. Since you're running a 4GB and an 8GB stick in paired slots, the mobo defaults to the lowest common denominator for addressing dual channel which is 2x4GB. Add the 4GB in slot 3 and there's your 12GB.

PS. Intel mobos pair slots 1&3 and 2&4
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:49 am

DPete27 wrote:
Are you sure you put the RAM in the correct slots? I might be dating myself, but IIRC, AMD is slots 1&2 are paired and slots 3&4 are paired. Check your mobo manual. Since you're running a 4GB and an 8GB stick in paired slots, the mobo defaults to the lowest common denominator for addressing dual channel which is 2x4GB. Add the 4GB in slot 3 and there's your 12GB.

PS. Intel mobos pair slots 1&3 and 2&4

Would bet it's something like this. And if you don't mind ordering another 8GB stick spec-matched to the one you've now got, you could fully populate four slots and have 24GB.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:02 am

You can also use system information programs like CPU-Z, Sisoft SANDRA, AIDA64, HWinfo, and Speccy to get more information about the memory modules. See what they detect.
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:25 pm

It's possible that your motherboard does not support having 3 modules. I looked up the manual for an FM socket Gigabyte motherboard (you did not mention your specific model, so I just looked up a random one), and it does not list three modules as a valid dual-channel configuration. If you can't exchange the 8 GB for two 4 GBs, you may need to buy another 8 GB module and go to 24 GB total.
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:58 pm

I'll have to take a look at the manual and see what it says about memory configurations. The board is a Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4.

I've run three sticks before in other boards, but it's been a very long time. It might be that I cannot use only three sticks, that it has to be four. I don't really have a lot of experience with late model AMD boards and chipsets. The RAM is all the same speed, DDR3-1600.

I wonder why the BIOS sees all of the RAM? Very odd.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:17 pm

On your board the slots are color coded oddly. Slots 1 and 3 are actually the furthest 2 slots away from the CPU socket: http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Ma ... -up4_e.pdf

So I think you want the 4 GB sticks in logical slots 1 and 3, but those are not the same physically as slots 1 and 3.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:33 pm

The Swamp wrote:
I wonder why the BIOS sees all of the RAM? Very odd.

The system UEFI is probably reporting the information from the SPD chips on the modules. The accessible portion of that memory is then determined by the addressable limits of the chipset for whatever configuration is actually installed. This way the system gives you accurate information about the resource installed, while using as much as it can.

The alternative in the bad old days of a pure BIOS setup is that the system would either POST but give inaccurate information about what it was doing, or fail to POST at all.
Last edited by ludi on Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:36 pm

The Swamp wrote:
I'll have to take a look at the manual and see what it says about memory configurations. The board is a Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4.

I've run three sticks before in other boards, but it's been a very long time. It might be that I cannot use only three sticks, that it has to be four. I don't really have a lot of experience with late model AMD boards and chipsets. The RAM is all the same speed, DDR3-1600.

I wonder why the BIOS sees all of the RAM? Very odd.

I had a problem of my BIOS seeing more memory than Windows a few months ago... using 4 x 16GB DIMMs (I was swapping it back n forth between to builds). I think clearing CMOS & FIRMLY reseating ALL the DIMMS fixed the problem to my recollection, but it was definitely disturbing to see it in the BIOS, but not in Windows 10.
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:46 pm

Ranks?

No idea if it applies to modernish CPUs, but number of clock pairs? Was a thing once.
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The Swamp
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:23 pm

Okay, looks like the problem is solved. It seems to have been an issue with the placement of the sticks. I put the 4GB sticks in slots 2 and 4 from the CPU. I put the 8GB stick in slot 3. Booted into Windows and now it sees all 16GB.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I assume I will need to get another stick if I want dual channel again?
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:44 pm

The Swamp wrote:
Okay, looks like the problem is solved. It seems to have been an issue with the placement of the sticks. I put the 4GB sticks in slots 2 and 4 from the CPU. I put the 8GB stick in slot 3. Booted into Windows and now it sees all 16GB.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I assume I will need to get another stick if I want dual channel again?


That's great that it's working! I've never personally run a system with 3 sticks (and never seen it listed as a valid option), so I was skeptical it could work.

Since 2 slots are assigned to each channel, you must be using each channel. It therefore seems like it must be in dual-channel mode, unless the system is reporting otherwise.
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:09 am

If you are using an odd number of sticks, it should always drop down to single-channel operation. This also means that you might experience a faster system if you remove the 8GB stick and let it run with 2x4GB in dual-channel. Again, CPU-Z should be able to tell you everything you need to know, including if you are actually running in dual-channel mode.
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:23 am

demolition wrote:
If you are using an odd number of sticks, it should always drop down to single-channel operation. This also means that you might experience a faster system if you remove the 8GB stick and let it run with 2x4GB in dual-channel. Again, CPU-Z should be able to tell you everything you need to know, including if you are actually running in dual-channel mode.

I think you're a little confused here...

If you have a different amount of RAM on each channel, then yes at least some of your RAM will necessarily be operating single-channel.

But since he's got 2x4 and 1x8, equal amounts of RAM on each channel is doable, depending on which slots those sticks are in. It is possible (likely?) that this is the situation he's in now.

The only remaining advice I'd have would be to watch for any intermittent stability issues, and back the RAM timings off a notch if needed.
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demolition
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:32 am

just brew it! wrote:
If you have a different amount of RAM on each channel, then yes at least some of your RAM will necessarily be operating single-channel.
But since he's got 2x4 and 1x8, equal amounts of RAM on each channel is doable, depending on which slots those sticks are in. It is possible (likely?) that this is the situation he's in now.

Is it possible to have some of the memory running in dual-channel and some in single-channel?

But I think I get your point now - he could have 8GB in each channel configured as 1x8GB in one channel and 2x4GB in the other channel and then theoretically it could be possible to run it all in a dual-channel config. The timings are almost guaranteed to not be identical though, so stability could be compromised as you mention. This is why I assumed that the BIOS would always fall back to single-channel operation in these kinds of mismatched configurations since using a stable single-channel config would be preferable to an unstable dual-channel config.
 
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:58 am

I'm not sure if my board is capable of running in flex mode. I presume it isn't, but I could be wrong.

I will likely go ahead and get a matching 8GB stick for the remaining open slot. It's my understanding that 24GB is overkill for most applications, but that's where you guys come in. If I upgrade to 24GB, what are some cool things I can do with that much RAM?
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:26 am

It'll give you plenty of headroom to play around with VMs, if you've ever wanted to do that. That's pretty much the only time I find myself actually needing more than 16GB (my primary desktop currently has 32GB).
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:28 am

If you don't know what you need 24GB for, you don't need it. 16GB is still plenty.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:37 am

I've heard that VMs are extremely RAM-intensive, but that's mostly what can use up 16+GB of memory under typical conditions. I'm not entirely sure what VMs are, or what they are used for. Is it for using multiple OSs at once? I may have to hit up Google and see what's what.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:39 am

TBH, absent any pressing need for more RAM, and assuming the system is stable in its current configuration, I'd say the biggest potential motivation to get another 8GB stick at this point would be if you plan to keep this system at 16GB but re-use the 2x4 sticks for another build.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:53 am

The Swamp wrote:
I've heard that VMs are extremely RAM-intensive, but that's mostly what can use up 16+GB of memory under typical conditions. I'm not entirely sure what VMs are, or what they are used for. Is it for using multiple OSs at once? I may have to hit up Google and see what's what.

Yeah, VMs basically allow you to set up virtual PCs running entirely inside your primary OS. You can install any other OS you want inside the VM. To the "guest" OS, it looks like a complete PC with its own disk, NIC, display, etc... but the disk is actually a file on your primary OS's drive, the NIC is shared with your primary OS, and the display is a window on your desktop (which you can also full-screen if you want, to allow it to take over the entire display).

Performance in the VM is noticeably reduced (since there's additional overhead), but unless you're gaming or running other performance-critical stuff it is generally "good enough".

At work, I actually spend most of my time inside a Debian Linux VM, since we use MacBook Pros (so the native OS is OS X), but we develop for Linux. When it is plugged in to an external display, I typically run the VM full-screened on the external display and leave the internal display on the native OS X desktop.

The hitch is that you need to have enough RAM for both the host OS and the guest OS. IOW, you generally want roughly double the amount of RAM you'd have otherwise. And yeah, things are a little tight at work since the MBP is limited to 16GB... but since I normally don't do a lot of stuff natively in OS X, I can allocate a large chunk of the RAM to the VM and it's generally OK.

If you want to play around with VMs, Oracle's VirtualBox is decent, and free. VMware is the big player in the commercial virtualization space.
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DPete27
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:01 pm

just brew it! wrote:
but since I normally don't do a lot of stuff natively in OS X, I can allocate a large chunk of the RAM to the VM

The VM is only using that RAM (at all) while it's open though. So the amount of RAM you need is highly subjective not only to your task needs (inside and outside of the VM), but also depends on your usage habits. Also, the amount of RAM you "allowcate" to a VM is an "up to" amount. If the VM is using less than that, the primary OS still has access to the remainder. A lot of time, RAM allocation is based on the probability the both the primary OS and the VM(s) are using x amount of RAM concurrently.

For instance, if you're like JBI working in a Linux VM because your company only provides Macs, then his Mac OS is simply a host to his Linux VM. Assuming that he's doing little->nothing on the Mac OS, he can allocate a majority of the system RAM to the Linux VM (as stated)

Second example. You work on both the primary OS and the VM with RAM-heavy workloads, but rarely at the same time. If your workflow has you in EITHER the VM or the primary OS for longer chunks of time, you could easily sidestep the RAM sharing limitations by simply closing the VM workloads when you're ramping up workload on the primary OS, and/or closing down your RAM-heavy workloads on the primary OS when you need to go back over to the VM. Sure, this requires "custodial" maintenance of not running RAM-heavy workloads concurrently in both environments, but generally your work flow would avoid this issue for the most part.

Third example, you're heavily number crunching on both the VM and the primary OS at the same time. In this case, yes, you need enough RAM to run both at the same time (keep in mind, you're also sharing all other hardware resources also, so the bottleneck may not even be in RAM amount, just that RAM is the easiest bottleneck to remove).

I personally don't use/need VMs for personal use, and I'd wager that a LARGE majority of people don't either. Obviously a place like TR is going to have a higher % of readers using VMs simply because of their techie background.

Other "cool" things you can do when you have more RAM than you need........a RAM drive
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:28 am

DPete27 wrote:
If you don't know what you need 24GB for, you don't need it. 16GB is still plenty.

Objection! (To the second sentence, not the first.)

It depends entirely on the machine being one which is used by only 1 user at a time, who isn't doing much multitasking. Where either of those scenarios is in play, 16 GB is enough (in most cases) -- whereas 8 GB not now -- but IME plenty starts at 24 GB now.
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Re: RAM Appears in BIOS, but Not Win7-64

Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:05 am

Topinio wrote:
DPete27 wrote:
If you don't know what you need 24GB for, you don't need it. 16GB is still plenty.

Objection! (To the second sentence, not the first.)

It depends entirely on the machine being one which is used by only 1 user at a time, who isn't doing much multitasking. Where either of those scenarios is in play, 16 GB is enough (in most cases) -- whereas 8 GB not now -- but IME plenty starts at 24 GB now.

Objection to your objection! (To the first condition, not the second.) :lol:

IMO fast user switching is just a bad idea in general. Furthermore, with so many people using their mobile devices as their primary means of accessing the internet, shared desktop PCs and leaving multiple users logged in is less important/useful than it was anyway. TBH I don't know anyone who even uses the feature.
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