Windows Legacy OS forum

General discussion

windows only recognises 1.5 gb of ram out of 3.0 gb

I have 3 gb of ram installed on my windows xp pro machine, but in the task manger it shows only 1.5 GB being allocated. Now, i've heard from a number of sources that video RAM installed on the card also counts as allocatable ram. I have two video cards, an nVidia 8600 gt, and an nVidia 8800 gt, both with 512 MB video RAM, plus the same guy also said something about the PCI cache also counting in. And to add to that, any ram over 3 GB isn't shown in the task manger anyways because it is reserved by windows.

so here's what i was thinking about how the ram count added up:

1.5 GB video ram usage (including pci cache)
1 GB system usage
1.5 GB left for the user
1.5 gb of ram is left unallocatable

can someone who really knows help to clarify? this is just an odd issue that i have been trying to figure out for a couple of weeks now. i dont know whether or not i have come to the right solution and would like to know.


Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: windows only recognises 1.5 gb of ram out of 3.0 gb
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: windows only recognises 1.5 gb of ram out of 3.0 gb
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Re: memory

In reply to: windows only recognises 1.5 gb of ram out of 3.0 gb

What does the BIOS setup say about the amount of memory?
What does memtest86 (free download from say about the amount of memory?


Collapse -
i could find it in the bios,

In reply to: Re: memory

but all the bios access programs read as there being 2 1 gb chips and 2 512 mb chips installed, adding up to 3 gb. i did a memory test in the bios, nothing came up. i did a number of other programs' test and nothing came up. i have a feeling that this all comes down to the limits of a 32 bit os.

Collapse -
Are you by chance

In reply to: i could find it in the bios,

Are you by chance running a system capable of dual channel memory mode? If so, that would probably be the simplest and most logical solution to your issue.

The video memory only applies to integrated video chipsets, so two PCI-E video cards won't have any affect on this. They have their own dedicated RAM supply. It's also nothing to do with the limits of a 32-bit OS, since that only comes into play when you EXCEED 3GB of RAM.

Given what you said is your memory configuration, I think you have it set up as a dual channel config, where half the RAM is mirroring the other half.

Collapse -
Normally ...

In reply to: i could find it in the bios,

if the BIOS sees 3 Gb, Windows should also see it. Can you check if it has been limited in the boot.ini for some reason?

Go to the boot.ini tab
Click advanced options
See what it says about MAXMEM. Could be checked and set to 1.5 Gb.


Collapse -
sorry for the long reply time

In reply to: Normally ...

But, i just got a new video card. I repalced my 8800 gt with a 9800 gtx+ and the recognized memory in windows went from 1.5 to 2 GB. I think it had something to do with a hardware glitch in the video card.

Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Best Black Friday Deals

CNET editors are busy culling the list and highlighting what we think are the best deals out there this holiday season.