How to add more memory when limited by MB

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Space the final frontier Contributing Member • Posts: 723
How to add more memory when limited by MB

I have maxed out the amount of memory (16 GB) allowed by the MB. There were times when I needed more. Is there a way to add more? Or a new computer is the only solution.

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Austinian
Austinian Veteran Member • Posts: 8,428
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

Space the final frontier wrote:

I have maxed out the amount of memory (16 GB) allowed by the MB. There were times when I needed more. Is there a way to add more? Or a new computer is the only solution.

If all your memory slots are full, and your memory modules are the largest your motherboard supports, you may need a new PC. Or if this is an upgradeable desktop, perhaps only a new motherboard/CPU/memory.

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tkbslc Forum Pro • Posts: 13,214
How do I put 10 gallons in a 5 gallon bucket?
4

I mean if you maxed out the memory, you can't have more.  That's the definition of "maximum".    You might as well be asking how to put 20 gallons of gasoline in a 12 gallon car tank.   Uh, you can't!

Probably the best workaround would be to move your page file to very fast SSD to lessen the effects of swapping to page file.

But the way you get more memory than your motherboard can handle is by buying a new MB that can take more.

bmoag Senior Member • Posts: 2,019
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB
1

Despite what too many people believe few are ever constrained by 16gb of RAM for anything.

If your computer does not support more than 16gb RAM it sounds like it is of an ilk that is likely to be rife with bottlenecks whether desktop or laptop.

If you do not use an SSD (the motherboard must support AHCI) that will yield more of a throughput improvement than more RAM.

If the computer is slowing there are many remediable factors, starting with ensuring there is proper cooling and the OS is not overloaded with programs at startup. There are many sources of info on this topic. PS in particular can be sped up by learning to work more efficiently.

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silentstorm Senior Member • Posts: 1,181
How old is your computer? Is it a laptop?

Space the final frontier wrote:

I have maxed out the amount of memory (16 GB) allowed by the MB. There were times when I needed more. Is there a way to add more? Or a new computer is the only solution.

Do you mean the maximum memory that the main board can take is only 16GB? You mean you now have 4GB modules x 4 pieces in the MB? Or you have 2x8GB and your MB only has 2 slots and each slot can only take 8GB sticks? That's hard to believe. Even an old computer of mine using the i7 930 cpu can take 64GB max with 4 slots.

Sounds like you are talking about laptop. And in the case of laptops, I'm afraid you will need to buy a new one, usually those workstation laptops can house 32GB - 64GB.

sygnus21
sygnus21 Senior Member • Posts: 1,514
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB
1

Space the final frontier wrote:

I have maxed out the amount of memory (16 GB) allowed by the MB. There were times when I needed more. Is there a way to add more? Or a new computer is the only solution.

As noted by Austinian if all your memory slots are filled you can not add more modules. If the CPU/MB only supports but X amount of memory that's all you can have.  So if you maxed out the supported amount of memory you can't add more.

It would help us (and you) immensely if you told us what motherboard (PC) and CPU you had to better answer the question since it's really the CPU that determines the amount of supported physical RAM (keeping things simple).

Good luck.

tkbslc Forum Pro • Posts: 13,214
Re: How old is your computer? Is it a laptop?
2

silentstorm wrote:

Or you have 2x8GB and your MB only has 2 slots and each slot can only take 8GB sticks? That's hard to believe. Even an old computer of mine using the i7 930 cpu can take 64GB max with 4 slots.

You are mistaken. i7-930 maxes out at 24GB of RAM (8GBx3 or 4GBx6).  That series of processor used triple channel RAM, so you would not have had a board with 4 slots.  It would have been 3 or 6 slots.

https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/41447/intel-core-i7-930-processor-8m-cache-2-80-ghz-4-80-gt-s-intel-qpi.html

Most Desktop DDR3 motherboards could only take 8GB per slot, so if you had a board with 2 slots, you have a max of 16.

sygnus21
sygnus21 Senior Member • Posts: 1,514
Re: How old is your computer? Is it a laptop?

tkbslc wrote:

silentstorm wrote:

Or you have 2x8GB and your MB only has 2 slots and each slot can only take 8GB sticks? That's hard to believe. Even an old computer of mine using the i7 930 cpu can take 64GB max with 4 slots.

You are mistaken. i7-930 maxes out at 24GB of RAM (8GBx3 or 4GBx6). That series of processor used triple channel RAM, so you would not have had a board with 4 slots. It would have been 3 or 6 slots.

Yeah, I don't know what silentstorm is talking about, and I actually have one of those triple channel boards - Gigabyte GA X58A-UD 5

And yes, the i7-930 (920 & 950, both of which I have) only supported 24gig of RAM.

OP Space the final frontier Contributing Member • Posts: 723
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

Thank you for all the replies except one, and you know who you are. My computer is an older i7 4950 (or something like that). The MB has 2 slots and takes 8 GB card. So, I am stuck. At least I know that now.

silentstorm Senior Member • Posts: 1,181
Re: How old is your computer? Is it a laptop?

sygnus21 wrote:

tkbslc wrote:

silentstorm wrote:

Or you have 2x8GB and your MB only has 2 slots and each slot can only take 8GB sticks? That's hard to believe. Even an old computer of mine using the i7 930 cpu can take 64GB max with 4 slots.

You are mistaken. i7-930 maxes out at 24GB of RAM (8GBx3 or 4GBx6). That series of processor used triple channel RAM, so you would not have had a board with 4 slots. It would have been 3 or 6 slots.

Yeah, I don't know what silentstorm is talking about, and I actually have one of those triple channel boards - Gigabyte GA X58A-UD 5

And yes, the i7-930 (920 & 950, both of which I have) only supported 24gig of RAM.

Thanks for the correction. It's really that old that I have forgotten the specs. I maxed out all 6 slots and cannot overclock, there was some kind of restriction to max ram slot occupancy which I have no idea why.

John Sheehy Forum Pro • Posts: 21,887
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

Space the final frontier wrote:

I have maxed out the amount of memory (16 GB) allowed by the MB. There were times when I needed more. Is there a way to add more? Or a new computer is the only solution.

Do you currently have the pagefile and any scratchfile-type files on an SSD?

Paging can be much faster with a fast SSD than on a spinning disk with a moving head, especially the reads (writes can be efficiently buffered because it doesn't matter when they actually happen, as long as they happen before the drive is turned off).

Speeding up the pagefile may be all you need for the time being until you do your homework and upgrade the full system. SSDs big enough for the pagefile and any large file a program has to frequently access like a scratchfile are dirt cheap these days, or you could re-purpose one you already have, or buy one big enough for future needs to add into your next system.

If you are waiting for programs to respond when you switch between them, then an SSD pagefile may be all you need. If you work on lots and lots of big data, then maybe more RAM is what you need.

NVMe PCIe or M.2 SSD cards can be very fast at sustained access, but they aren't anywhere near RAM speed for random access, despite being much faster than hard disks for that (especially reads on the hard disk).

If you're not feeling actual slowdowns and are just looking at a system monitor and seeing that more memory is allocated than you actually have in RAM, I wouldn't consider that to be an actual problem. Typically, only a fraction of the memory that a program allocates is ever actually addressed. You need at least a pagefile about 50% of your RAM to even use all or most of your RAM, physically. IOW, if you specify the minimum 2MB for a pagefile in Windows, you will not be able to use some of your RAW, at all, except for theoretical allocations that don't actually need RAM, per se.

sygnus21
sygnus21 Senior Member • Posts: 1,514
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

John Sheehy wrote:

Do you currently have the pagefile and any scratchfile-type files on an SSD?

Paging can be much faster with a fast SSD than on a spinning disk with a moving head, especially the reads (writes can be efficiently buffered because it doesn't matter when they actually happen, as long as they happen before the drive is turned off).

Since Windows 7 there's really no need to tweak or move the page file. And especially true if you've already got the page file on the fastest drive in the system (which SHOULD be the OS drive).

I'm currently running Windows 10, but since Windows 7 (well Vista) I've let Windows handle the page file and have never ever had any type of memory issues. And honestly if you're running more than 12 gig of mem, Windows isn't going to create a large page file anyway. I've 32gig in my system and my Windows 10 page file is basically 4gig....

Honestly, the whole manage page file thing is an old school tweak no longer valid for modern systems today. And Windows does a much better job of managing it.

Chris Contributing Member • Posts: 996
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB
1

As others have said, max slots with max capacity = max ram.

However, there are situations when this is not entirely true. Sometimes, the larger capacity didn't exist at the time, so the board can take larger modules. On modern boards, there is no separate memory controller, it's the CPU that has that controller. So if you check the cpu specs (For intel, check the ARK ), you might be surprised.

There's one caveat to this, Intel core cpu's 4th generation and before have a bug that limits the cpu to only be able to work with 8GB modules max. So there, the number slots does affect max mem. 4 slots = 4x8GB = 32GB (which is what the ARK says), 2 slots, max 16GB (less than spec). I have a X61, which according to Lenovo, has a max mem of 2x 2GB, but it easily does 8, but the 4GB modules didn't exist at the time. So here the max mem is higher than the manufacturer says.

All of this means you need to check the CPU, the documentation. It's tricky if you move off the documented path.

Note that AMD doesn't have the no >8GB modules bug.

So check the CPU, check the max mem, Then double check the max module size. And with all of that, you can work out what will work.

So if your mobo has only two slots, you need to check what the max module size is, your max mem is then twice that.

An example, say you have a 6th gen I7, mobo manual says 2x 8GB is the max (16GB). But if intel says 32GB is the max. a 6th gen cpu can drive a 16GB module, so if your slot can handle 16GB sticks, you should be able to put 2x 16GB. However, there are a lot of if's and but's, so unless you know what you're doing, simply stick to the manuals.

sygnus21
sygnus21 Senior Member • Posts: 1,514
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

Chris wrote:

However, there are situations when this is not entirely true. Sometimes, the larger capacity didn't exist at the time, so the board can take larger modules. On modern boards, there is no separate memory controller, it's the CPU that has that controller. So if you check the cpu specs (For intel, check the ARK ), you might be surprised.

You still can not overcome the CPU's memory controller on how much memory it can handle. If a CPU can only handle 24gig.... no matter the module density, it's still 24gig.

Also, though DDR 4 modules are denser (higher gig capacity) than DDR3 modules, you can not install a DDR4 module on a DDR 3 board because the alignment keys on both board and module (DDR 3 vs. DDR4) are different.

In short though there are denser modules, there's still the physical fit as well as the max memory a CPU can support.

There's one caveat to this, Intel core cpu's 4th generation and before have a bug that limits the cpu to only be able to work with 8GB modules max.

Is that a "bug" or technical limitation at that time???

Anyway you can get 16gig modules now and they work very well with todays motherboards and CPU's - at least with 7th gen (and beyond) Intel processors.

So there, the number slots does affect max mem. 4 slots = 4x8GB = 32GB (which is what the ARK says), 2 slots, max 16GB (less than spec).

They'd only affect the physical number of modules that can be installed, not necessarily the amount of RAM installed. Meaning you could have board with 2 slots allowing for two 16gig modules = 32gig.

sludge21017
sludge21017 Senior Member • Posts: 1,757
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

I'm constrained by 48 GB on my desktop.

It is great to open a ramdrive and work on video files from there, or export to it.

OP Space the final frontier Contributing Member • Posts: 723
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

John Sheehy wrote:

Space the final frontier wrote:

I have maxed out the amount of memory (16 GB) allowed by the MB. There were times when I needed more. Is there a way to add more? Or a new computer is the only solution.

Do you currently have the pagefile and any scratchfile-type files on an SSD?

Paging can be much faster with a fast SSD than on a spinning disk with a moving head, especially the reads (writes can be efficiently buffered because it doesn't matter when they actually happen, as long as they happen before the drive is turned off).

Speeding up the pagefile may be all you need for the time being until you do your homework and upgrade the full system. SSDs big enough for the pagefile and any large file a program has to frequently access like a scratchfile are dirt cheap these days, or you could re-purpose one you already have, or buy one big enough for future needs to add into your next system.

If you are waiting for programs to respond when you switch between them, then an SSD pagefile may be all you need. If you work on lots and lots of big data, then maybe more RAM is what you need.

NVMe PCIe or M.2 SSD cards can be very fast at sustained access, but they aren't anywhere near RAM speed for random access, despite being much faster than hard disks for that (especially reads on the hard disk).

If you're not feeling actual slowdowns and are just looking at a system monitor and seeing that more memory is allocated than you actually have in RAM, I wouldn't consider that to be an actual problem. Typically, only a fraction of the memory that a program allocates is ever actually addressed. You need at least a pagefile about 50% of your RAM to even use all or most of your RAM, physically. IOW, if you specify the minimum 2MB for a pagefile in Windows, you will not be able to use some of your RAW, at all, except for theoretical allocations that don't actually need RAM, per se.

Thank you. I have a fast SSD for system and paging. When I checked the system, it essentially used up all of the 16 GB and page file is working hard. This happens when I am stacking many (32+) images. Overall, I don't consider my system to be slow, just want to know if there is a way to increase memory.

Robert Zanatta Senior Member • Posts: 1,450
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

Space the final frontier wrote:

I have maxed out the amount of memory (16 GB) allowed by the MB. There were times when I needed more. Is there a way to add more? Or a new computer is the only solution.

What's the make and model number of your motherboard?

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Bunjo Regular Member • Posts: 303
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

If you are stacking many images then, ideally, you need a system designed with this in mind. The alternative is to recognise that 16GB is too little for the purpose you desire, so the file system will be hit with paging and things will be very slow.

From the sound of it you have little chance of increasing your RAM, so your choices are to avoid stacking photos, or put up with the slow performance, or invest in a new system (which ideally will be designed with your usage in mind).

roonsmits Forum Member • Posts: 65
spot on.

you saved me type a similar analogy.

What's so difficult in understanding hardware based limitations?

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Ron

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 15,775
Re: How to add more memory when limited by MB

sygnus21 wrote:

Chris wrote:

However, there are situations when this is not entirely true. Sometimes, the larger capacity didn't exist at the time, so the board can take larger modules. On modern boards, there is no separate memory controller, it's the CPU that has that controller. So if you check the cpu specs (For intel, check the ARK ), you might be surprised.

You still can not overcome the CPU's memory controller on how much memory it can handle. If a CPU can only handle 24gig.... no matter the module density, it's still 24gig.

By definition, you cannot overcome true hardware limitations.  However, sometimes manufacturers are conservative about specifications.  E.g., they will say that the system has a maximum capacity of 16 GB of RAM, when the real maximum is 32 GB.

This probably has to do with not getting a chance to conduct thorough tests with high density RAM.  Putting in an extra address line that the CPU supports is very low risk.  If the high density RAM modules that eventually emerge are compatible with the system, that address line is a nice "hidden bonus".  If they aren't, no harm, no foul.

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