Stupid Dell Question

I have a Dimension 4500 w/ 256MB of RAM. All of my diags are showing 255MB of RAM though. I know that means that 1MB is being used by something, but I don’t know how to figure out what. Can someone tell me how I could figure out what is using it and if/how it can be reclaimed to be used as real RAM?

Possibly being used by video chipset if video is on MB and shares system RAM. If memory is onboard look in BIOS setup parameters and see how video memory is allocated.


“if memory is onboard” should be “if video is on the motherboard”

What OS are you running? If it’s 98/ME, then that MB is being used by the first 640k of DOS memory and the next 300somethingK of Extended memory, and can’t really be reclaimed.

Otherwise, I’d assume your memory diagnostics are just rounding wierd.

The card is a Geforce4 Ti. If it’s taking a MEG of my memory for itself I will be most upset at it. I’m running XP. My current guess is that it is being used for the USB ports to some degree, but I don’t know how to check it and doubt that it’s even a good guess to begin with.

I wouldn’t sweat it. My machine reports 1,048,032 MB of RAM (also running XP), which is obviously not right (Task Manager reports the same figure). And, SystemInfo reports my clock speed as ~2220 MHz – also obviously only an approximation.

The “physical RAM” number is calculated based on a bunch of OS initialization information, and can be thrown off by any number of factors. It’s not actually used for anything other than calculating performance settings, so magnitude is more important than precision.

This is for ME but should be the same for you. START:H input in the box ‘memory’ : click on:
The System Properties dialog box shows less memory than is installed on my computer.

There’s only one situation I know of (used to build pc’s, had my own business) where the video card eats regular system ram for itself, and that’s with these motherboards that advertise “built-in” video or all-in-one video-sound-etc. By built-in they really mean it’s parasitic to the motherboard!

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Dell does this, they have a rep for using proprietary components and cramming things into tiny cases. They’re not a big fan of modular pc’s, makes it more likely for you to buy a new one rather than just upgrade.

Look inside the box, on the other side from where you plug the monitor cable in. If there’s a card there in a slot, then it’s got it’s own ram. If it’s just a connector that’s attached to the motherboard, then it might be hogging some ram.

With that being said, I’m pretty sure it’s what someone else said, it’s the 640+ K that’s reserved by the DOS legacy in the OS. If it really bother you (1 meg?) Get XP, it finally gets away from that, but gives you a whole host of other, fruitier problems to enjoy! Woo Hoo!