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Author Topic: Where'd my video memory go?  (Read 6945 times)

seedling

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Where'd my video memory go?
« on: August 27, 2007, 03:24:50 PM »
Hi all,

I have a strange issue that was brought to my attention when installing a game on my notebook.  It said that my 256mb vidcard only had 64mb of memory!

My Dell notebook has a ATI Mobility Radeon X1300 video chipset (256mb)

Sandra reports as this:
Quote
Video Adapter
Model : ATI Mobility Radeon X1300
Chipset : ATI Mobility Radeon X1300 (0x7149)
RAMDAC : Internal DAC(400MHz)
Video BIOS : BK-ATI VER009.012.001.009.018950
VGA Compatible : No
Total Memory : 256MB (64MB Video) (182MB System)
Texture Memory : 250MB
Supports DIME Texturing : Yes

If you look at the Total Memory info, you'll see that only 64mb is video and 182mb is for 'system' (whatever that is).

I thought this may be a problem because of some sort of shared memory setup in the BIOS.  However, there is not editable BIOS setting for this.  The BIOS only reports back that, indeed, there is only 64mb of video memory.

So, what gives?  Is there a way I can unlock all of the memory for video?

If anyone can shed some light on this for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. :)

Darwin

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 03:41:00 PM »
seedling - I *believe* that what is happening here is that you have 64MB dedicated video memory and access to a further 182MB that are shared with the system, so come out of your installed RAM...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

nite_monkey

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2007, 03:47:58 PM »
Don't quote me on this, but what I would say is you have an integrated graphics card, or a graphics card that shares your system's memory. That is what I gathered from what you have listed there. Someone else might be able to tell you exactly what the deal is.

edit: reading this I gathered that your graphics card is indeed integrated, so it shares your system's memory, so I think that is what your problem is.
[Insert really cool signature here]
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 03:51:43 PM by nite_monkey »

seedling

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2007, 03:58:17 PM »
The shared issue is what i thought of at first, but that doesn't make any sense because my 'system' memory is 1GB which is confirmed to be correct since there are 2 512mb modules installed.  If this video memory were shared (in reverse) back to the system, then I'd have more than 1GB of memory.  Also, I've never heard of video memory being shared with the system wrt 'integrated' graphics chips.  I have heard of system memory being shared to accommodate video needs.

In any case, when I bought this thing I chose the separate chip as opposed to the integrated option, so that shouldn't be the problem. (I'm hoping) Again, I believe this is confirmed by the fact that the video chip is not listed as an integrated device in the BIOS.

edit: this also confirms that the chip is not 'integrated' as an onboard device:

Quote
On-board Devices
Video Adapter : No
Keyboard : No
Floppy Disk : No
Co-Processor (FPU) : Yes

edit2: i don't want to get all hung up on symantecs either, this chip may very-well be 'integrated' or whatever, the fact remains that the memory isn't really shared. if it were, it'd show up somewhere... but it's not.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 04:11:53 PM by seedling »

Darwin

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2007, 04:18:03 PM »
Sorry, seedling. I didn't explain very well (kids rushing out the door). Shared, or integrated video memory means that the video card leeches away your system memory, not adds to it. Thus, if you have 1 GB (or 1024MB) of system memory (RAM) and your video card shares 182MB with it, you'll actually only have 1024MB less 182MB = 842 MB of RAM available to your systm. The fact that your card isn't showing up as an on-board device is simply reflective of the fact that it does indeed have 64MB of its own, dedicated, memory. When it needs more grunt, it goes to your installed system RAM and takes what it needs, up to 182MB.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 04:32:51 PM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2007, 04:31:23 PM »
PS to confirm the above, right click on "My Computer" and select properties. You'll see a screen that gives information about the version of windows that you're running, your processor and how much RAM you have installed and available to the system (not how much is free, the total that the system can access). If your video card shares (ie leeches) memory from your cache of RAM, then this number should be less than 1GB.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

seedling

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2007, 04:39:42 PM »
Right, I completely understand what you're saying, but this is not what's going on.  I have another 'bargain priced' desktop with this configuration that does syphon off system memory.

I have 1GB of memory (untouched) available to me.  (i.e. displays 1.00GB in system properties)

What I have here is 1GB of RAM (which is not being syphoned) and a 256mb vid chip (see the above hardware reading for total memory as it is based of that single piece of hardware only) and yet only 64MB of memory is available for video.  This is what's baffling me; it almost seems as if the other memory on the vidchip is tucked away somehow.


edit: checking this site also verifies that this is an independant card (not shared/integrated)
http://forum.noteboo...owthread.php?t=39568

« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 05:13:34 PM by seedling »

Darwin

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2007, 05:04:55 PM »
I dunno... I *think* that you have a hybrid dedicated/integrated memory chip (split 64/182) that either only accesses your RAM if it needs to (and at the moment it doesn't need to and thus this isn't being reflected in system properites), or you need to go either into a utility accessed via your Control Panel (probably an ATI utility or even the dispaly properties cpl) or into your BIOS to configure how much RAM to set aside for video. I think the second scenario is more likely. As night_ed points out, the manufacturer's description of the chipset, while not abundantly clear, does seem to be saying that this chip is a hybrid.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Carol Haynes

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2007, 05:16:42 PM »
Have you checked video properties (Control Panel > Display) to see if there are any settings you can tweak. Failing that have you looked to see if there is an updated motherboard driver?

seedling

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2007, 05:17:37 PM »
I thought the same thing too: go into the BIOS check for shared vid memory, etc. but there is no such setting one way or the other.  In my other econo-desktop's BIOS, there's definitely a setting to allocate system memory to video, but not in this laptop (one way or the other).  :(

Darwin

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2007, 05:25:14 PM »
OK I googled this. Looks like your card uses ATI's "hypermemory", which is discussed here (in relation to the X1400, which is the same as your chip but one step "up").
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

seedling

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2007, 05:29:56 PM »
yeah, sounds like what you were saying before (64mb vid memory, the rest allocated on demand from system)

it's very misleading how they market this. hell, even my system's report on this is misleading as hell [see attached pics]

oh well, at least I know what's going on now.

Thanks for your help :)

Darwin

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2007, 05:35:40 PM »
No problem! It took some digging to find out what is going on, didn't it? It is kind of misleading and ATI's website is a waste of time as far as answering any questions that one might have!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

seedling

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2007, 05:41:56 PM »
once you mentioned hypermemory, I got that sinking sensation.  Found ati's (salespitch)site for this thing:

http://ati.amd.com/t...ogy/hypermemory.html

I'm not a gamer so I'm not really up on the latest, greatest video cards.  All I knew was that I didn't want shared memory to slow things down when I am working, so I took this option.  Still better than outright shared memory, but not at all what I 'thought' I was getting.

I guess the lesson is just live and learn... oh, and don't forget to read about things you don't know ;)

Thanks again for your help :)

lanux128

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Re: Where'd my video memory go?
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2007, 09:52:45 PM »
yes, shared memory is a lousy way to market the product.. the same thing happened when i bought an all-integrated PC (vga, sound, etc..) many years ago.. since then, i always insisted on a separate graphics cards.. and just for comparison, check this desktop system (512MB) with integrated graphics memory (32MB) but in this case, the graphics does not change on-demand, it has to be set in the BIOS..

Systems Memory - shows only 480Mb instead of 512Mb
ws-sshot-1.pngWhere'd my video memory go?

Integrated Graphics Memory
ws-sshot-2.pngWhere'd my video memory go?