Aurora R2 - BIOS appears to be reserving half the memory

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Aurora R2 - BIOS appears to be reserving half the memory

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I purchased an Aurora R2, circa 2009, and have upgraded it with SSD and Nvidia GTX 560ti.

Now I notice that it is only using half of the 8GB. 4GB appears to be reserved by the BIOS.

BIOS main screen says 4GB are Installed and Available, but Windows says there is 8GB, BIOS shows 4 2GB DIMMS.

Lots of diagnosis and checking Windows settings indicates that Motherboard or BIOS appears to be reserving memory.

No settings are evident in BIOS to reverse this.

Here is link to pics of all information.

Yes it's running Win 7 x64 Home Premium.

I have swapped DIMMs around to try to diagnose problem and all DIMMs appear to work.

If I leave 2 2GB DIMMs in black slots then BIOS reserves 2GB of 4GB and windows sees only 2GB.

Linux Mint 15 Live DVD also sees only 4GB of 8GB.

What is causing the memory to be reserved and how can I reverse this?

Thanks,

wg

Verified Answer
  • This system is long out of warranty.

    The NVIDIA GTX 560Ti card did not take any of the system memory on another system where it was installed. Don't see why the NVIDIA card should be the culprit on the Aurora system.

    I gave up and upgraded the system with an ASUS B85ME-E mb, Core i7-4770, and 16GB memory.

    Now, of course, windows will not boot. I guess the problem is that the the new MB does not have Intel RAID hardware and windows is hardwired for a system disk driver when it installs. Windows Blue Screens and reboots unless booted into Recovery mode. It doesn't stay around long enough to find out why it crashes. And of course, none of the recovery options work. But the system hardware is just fine.

    One of the interesting problems with the upgrade is that the support plate behind the water cooler was screwed to the case, and of course did not align with the new MB. But I was able to unscrew the plate from the case, double-stick tape it in place to the back of the MB and the case, and then install the water cooler. The case has no back access to the processor. I've installed water coolers from two other manufacturers and they both have plates that bolt to the back of the MB and not the case. I guess the DELL/Alienware mod makes it easier to install in a factory, but sort of a pain when a new MB moves the position of the processor.

    Anyway, the hardware is all working now.

    Maybe I'll just get my stuff off the system SSD and reinstall windows. We'll see.

    And all 16GB of the memory is available now.

    Thanks to all for your efforts.

    - ww

All Replies
  •  

     

    Moving this thread to the Alienware Owners Club Forum.

    Bev.

     

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  • Hello windygamer!

    You can try doing the following

    Start menu>msconfig>boot>advances options

    untick maximum memory

    If it doesn't work you could try doing

    1.) Clear CMOS

    2.) BIOS update

    3.) Reset CPU

    DELL-Milena M
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  • DELL-Milena M

    Hello windygamer!

    You can try doing the following

    Start menu>msconfig>boot>advances options

    untick maximum memory

    If it doesn't work you could try doing

    1.) Clear CMOS

    2.) BIOS update

    3.) Reset CPU

    I've already tried the msconfig thing. Max Memory setting has always been turned off.

    Again, the BIOS shows the same issue, which is way before msconfig. Also Linux Mint 15 reports 4GB, and that's way outside of any msconfig influence. BIOS reports 4GB on the first page, but clearly shows 4 2GB DIMMs or 8GB.

    Before I clear CMOS, BIOS update, and whatever you mean by "reset CPU", and risk bricking the Motherboard, I'll need pointers to the documentation about how to do those things. This is an older MB - circa 2009 I think - and it has a BIOs with a 2010 date. Are we sure that Version A04, 6/28/2010 is not the latest BIOS for this board? I have no clue where to look. Again, this was purchased used.

    What do you mean by Reset CPU? Can the CPU hold information about reserving memory?

    Also I checked, this CPU - the Core i5-750 - does not have an on-chip GPU, so there is no reason to reserve RAM for that. According to the Ark site.

    Do we know if this Motherboard has a jumper to cause BIOs to reserve memory? Again - and as you can see from the BIOS screen shots, there is no place in BIOS interface where there is a setting that looks like "Reserve Memory", and yet the BIOS looks like it is reserving 1/2 the memory. I would suspect a 32bit vs 64bit setting somewhere, except that putting 4GB in the system results in 2GB showing up, so it's reserving 1/2 the memory and not just capping the memory at 4GB.

    Thanks,

    wg

  • windygamer
    Again, the BIOS shows the same issue, which is way before msconfig. Also Linux Mint 15 reports 4GB, and that's way outside of any msconfig influence. BIOS reports 4GB on the first page, but clearly shows 4 2GB DIMMs or 8GB.

    If BIOS shows 4x2gb=8gb that is good. That also usually means there is no hardware problem with RAM detection.

    If Windows 7 (64 bit) shows 8gb that is also good.

    If Linux Mint 15 only shows 4gb, that sounds like a Linux problem. Be sure it's 64 bit. Work problem in Linux forums.


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  • Just looked at pics ... BIOS is NOT correct if you have 4x2gb installed. Looks like a hardware problem (motherboard or ram). Get it working in BIOS before moving forward.


    Alienware Aurora ~ Intel i7-930 ~ 12gb ram ~ AMD HD-5870
    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

    All my Dell Machines and Specs

    Wiki-like Threads I've written and other Favorites

    Posting Tips:
    - Always provide machine make, model, specs and software versions.
    - Click the button if we answered your question.

    Registered Microsoft Partner
    & Apple Developer:

    Gaming when I'm not programming.

    I answer questions here, but
    I'm not a Dell employee.

  • Please look at all the pictures. The BIOS says 4GB in the summary page, but deeper down it shows all 4 DIMMs - 2GB each for 8GB. I just tested the DIMMS in another system and that system shows 8GB when it boots, both in BIOS and in Windows and no funny USABLE statement in windows and only 26MB reserved by hardware in Resource Manager rather than 4105MB hardware reserved.

    So I conclude the DIMMS are fine, and the BIOS or MB of the failing system has a setting [that I can't find] that is reserving memory. Have we confirmed that the MB does not have a Jumper or hidden setting to reserve memory for older AMD GPUs, which this system shipped with?

    - wg

  • No joy in CMOS reset. Found a MB manual online for the Aurora R2. DId the CMOS reset procedure using the jumper, and while the clock and boot sequence was lost - confirming CMOS reset - the memory problem persists. All DIMMS are present in detailed memory-z pages, but the BIOS reports only 4GB in summary and windows only sees 4GB.

    Do we know whether 8GB are in fact supported by this BIOS? Maybe this MB predates the actual shipping of more than 4GB systems by Alienware / DELL. I went round and round with Alienware in the 2006 timeframe with my AW Area 51, but now have it running 8GB [ for real ] and Windows 7 X64 [which AW did not support at the time.]. Are we looking at a system that has been locked down to 4GB max, even tho it was shipped with 8GB?

    Anybody sighted a 2010 Alienware Aurora R2 systems running more than 4GB in the wild?

    - wg

  • You can try re flashing the BIOS A04 you can follow the instructions on this article, as well have you tried a different video card ? because  the video card is taking almost half of the memory and using only 1GB dedicated memory.

    DELL-Milena M
    Dell Alienware Technical Support Alienware Arena
    Opening your case and/or replacing parts yourself does not void your warranty!
    YouTube Logo Check out our disassemble videos on YouTube
    I cannot always reply to PM's. If you need further assistance please use Alienware Facebook or Twitter

  • This system is long out of warranty.

    The NVIDIA GTX 560Ti card did not take any of the system memory on another system where it was installed. Don't see why the NVIDIA card should be the culprit on the Aurora system.

    I gave up and upgraded the system with an ASUS B85ME-E mb, Core i7-4770, and 16GB memory.

    Now, of course, windows will not boot. I guess the problem is that the the new MB does not have Intel RAID hardware and windows is hardwired for a system disk driver when it installs. Windows Blue Screens and reboots unless booted into Recovery mode. It doesn't stay around long enough to find out why it crashes. And of course, none of the recovery options work. But the system hardware is just fine.

    One of the interesting problems with the upgrade is that the support plate behind the water cooler was screwed to the case, and of course did not align with the new MB. But I was able to unscrew the plate from the case, double-stick tape it in place to the back of the MB and the case, and then install the water cooler. The case has no back access to the processor. I've installed water coolers from two other manufacturers and they both have plates that bolt to the back of the MB and not the case. I guess the DELL/Alienware mod makes it easier to install in a factory, but sort of a pain when a new MB moves the position of the processor.

    Anyway, the hardware is all working now.

    Maybe I'll just get my stuff off the system SSD and reinstall windows. We'll see.

    And all 16GB of the memory is available now.

    Thanks to all for your efforts.

    - ww