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N00b ? About Intel Gma4500hd & Ram Sharing


NegativeSpace
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So I have this ASUS laptop with the Intel GMA4500HD, which does not have any of its own dedicated RAM (the video adapter, that is). Instead, it uses the system RAM for its video memory. The system has 4 GB of DDR2 installed, and runs WIN7 X64 (factory installed). Windows tells me that only 2.97GB of the total 4GB are usable. Is windows reporting correctly, but subtracting the amount of RAM that is shared to the video adapter, or should it be reporting that all (or at least most) of the installed RAM is usable? I have updated the BIOS to the latest version, and all of the settings are normal as far as I can tell. I guess the basic question would be, if a machine has an integrated video adapter and does not have dedicated RAM (instead uses system RAM for video memory), does Windows subtract the amount of system RAM that the video adapter uses from the total amount of installed RAM to finally come up with the amount of "usable" RAM?

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The BIOS will 'physically' separate the graphics and system memory when it is shared. However, the BIOS may or may not tell the operating system this is what is happening. Thus on some computers the operating system may be aware that it has 4GB of RAM, but can only use 3GB.

On another note, a gig of RAM for a basic graphics card? It shouldn't be greater than 256MB in my opinion, the OS can totally make way better use of, at least, half what it's using better than what it has.

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The BIOS will 'physically' separate the graphics and system memory when it is shared. However, the BIOS may or may not tell the operating system this is what is happening. Thus on some computers the operating system may be aware that it has 4GB of RAM, but can only use 3GB.

On another note, a gig of RAM for a basic graphics card? It shouldn't be greater than 256MB in my opinion, the OS can totally make way better use of, at least, half what it's using better than what it has.

I didn't know that the BIOS might not tell the OS about how the RAM is allocated. that's good to know. I'm still not sure if there is a problem or not, that is, I don't know if the BIOS is responsible for limiting (passively) the OS to using 2.94GB of RAM. When I said that the video adapter uses 1GB, what I meant was that it has that much available. I believe that the amount of RAM available to the video adapter can be changed in the BIOS, and I probably should change it because it really is pointless to have a gig of RAM available to an Intel graphics card. I guess I should change the maximum amount of memory available to the Intel and see if that changes the amount of memory that is available to Windows.

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I have been racking my brain trying to figure this thing out. When I first got the computer I looked in the Windows user experience thing, and if I am not mistaken, it said that a higher amount of RAM was usable by Windows than what it says now. Since then, I have updated the BIOS as well as the video driver. I am fairly certain that the BIOS gave me the option to change the VMST settings to allocate whatever amount of RAM to the video adapter that I chose, but now it doesn't. I have thought about rolling back the BIOS, but I don't want to do that unless I can be sure that the old BIOS did in fact allow me to change the amount of shared RAM. The Intel video driver UI tells me the amount of RAM which is usable by the video adapter, the total installed RAM, and the amount currently being used by the video adapter. The numbers seem to add up to the conclusion that the RAM that isn't currently being put to use by the video is not available to Windows. It seems like a waste of good resources. Google searches turn up no useful information, and neither does asking Intel. I have learned that manufacturers installing GMA4500MHD's have three options when it comes to RAM sharing for video; they can set a static amount, a dynamic amount, or leave it up to the end user of the system. The Intel driver UI seems to be evident that ASUS chose dynamic, but there has to be a way to change that. As Sparda said, in paraphrase, there's no reason for an integrated Intel video adapter to have access to over a gig of memory, but there are plenty of reasons for Windows to have access to it. Does anyone know how that might be done?

PS, thanks for reading my short book about Intel video RAM sharing.

Edited by NegativeSpace
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