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Lots of Shared Memory Questions

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by John Phoenix, May 15, 2010.

  1. John Phoenix New Member

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    After editing this a few times I have Lots of questions. please try to answer them all. Thank You
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I have a CQ61-411WM Laptop with 4 gigs of DDR2 Ram. The graphics chip is an ATI 4200 HD. This chip is 128 shared memory up to 1 gig. ( on win 7 64 bit) I also understand with shared memory the higher speed ram the better for gaming. My 4 gigs is 800 MHZ which i understand is not shabby at all.

    I have read that sometimes you can set the video ram in Bios and manually allocate a set amount of memory to be used for graphics processing.

    But I cant find a setting for that in this Bios. I understand that laptop bois's have very limited features that are accessible to the user by design.. HP doesn't want you mucking about in a laptop bios like you can a desktop unit.

    I have a 1 gig video card in my desktop and it rocks socks.

    I want to be sure I can fully use all the 1 gig of shared memory for video. If I cannot adjust this in Bios.. how can I be sure it's using it?

    Is there a software tool that will monitor this?

    Also, everyone says shared video ram is slower. Why is this? What makes it slower..?

    The speed seems good and I have had video cards that worked great for my desktop that had the same type and speed of ram as the main system ram.. so.. saying the shared memory is slow in that respect doesn't make since to me unless there are other factors I am not aware of.

    EDIT:

    Now I'm really confused. I used GPUZ and instead of the 128 dedicated memory my ATI 4200 HD should have, the tool reports I have 336 MB?.. what is going on here?

    I looked at DXDIAG.exe and it says Total Aprox Memory is 1986 MB <-- What is this number? Is this my total shared max memory number?

    Both of these are way above my specs info. My Specs --> http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01980785&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&jumpid=reg_R1002_US... Don't forget, I added 2 gigs for a total of 4.

    Is it possible HP put a chip with more dedicated ram in this laptop or does something else account for these readings?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  2. Phxprovost

    Phxprovost Xtreme Refugee

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    not trying to thread crap here but its really not even worth it. That little 40"?"sp gpu is not going to be able to do anything with more ram.
     
  3. Yukikaze

    Yukikaze

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    1GB of memory (or even 512MB of memory) is overkill for a HD4200. A weak GPU will not utilize a large amount of memory - All those 9400GT and HD4350 cards with 1GB of RAM are pure marketing, as they will never utilize their amount of memory.

    The reason why shared RAM is slower is that it needs to access the system memory used by the CPU itself. This leads to resource conflicts and slows down the access to the memory. With dedicated RAM, the GPU has its own memory, and doesn't stumble across the CPU's memory requests.
     
  4. John Phoenix New Member

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    I still need answers for the other questions,, but I want to respond to this.


    So whats the drawback? And, What will I NOT be able to do because of this drawback?

    If this GPU cannot use moire memory.. then why is it shared at all? Is the concept of shared ram just a lie?

    I can understand that answer in a logical way.. but I also understand this impact is lessened somewhat because of how win 7 manages ram.

    Also, I have checked more tools and they all say I have not 128 mb but 336 mb or in the case of windows Screen Resolution, Advanced settings says I have 384 mb dedicated video ram and 1660 shared.

    Is there a way I can know how much video ram (with the shared memory) I am currently using while I am running certain games?
     
  5. Yukikaze

    Yukikaze

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    The impact of shared memory has very little to do with how the OS manages its RAM. It has everything to do with how many requests per second are done by each of the two devices utilizing the same memory.

    As for the amount of memory: Your HD4200 doesn't need 1GB of memory. It cannot utilize 1GB of memory, and giving it 1GB of memory will not improve performance by any noticeable gain.
     
  6. jagd

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    It will use from your system ram when need more memory . 336MB i guess HD4200 took 208Mb from your system ram , about 1986Mb dont worry it is a windows glitch adding unused ram amount to graphics memory it happens even reguler dedicated vga cards ,you are seeing it at "total available graphics memory" riight?

     
  7. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    That is not a bug. It is the assigned shared address space used for rendering, outside the GART space. GART space does not allow for both cpu and vga to read/write(vga reads only); the shared address space can be used for these purposes. It is also used for GDI-DirectX conversions.
     
  8. John Phoenix New Member

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    Please someone answer this question:

    "So whats the drawback? And, What will I NOT be able to do because of this drawback?" ( aside from it being slower than dedicated ram)
     
  9. John Phoenix New Member

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    I cannot understand why you guys say the ATI 4200 is a weak GPU, It will play Oblivion, Prey, Doom 3, Alpha Prime, Crysis, Half Life 2 and Stalker, all at at least medium settings with good enough frame rate where it's fluent and smooth (I haven't benchmarked it).

    I'd say that's pretty good for an integrated graphics chip with only 128 dedicated ram.
     
  10. Yukikaze

    Yukikaze

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    It is a weak GPU. It might be a decent IGP, but as a GPU, it is weak.

    While "fluent and smooth" is in the eye of the beholder, I am having serious trouble believing that it manages Crysis on medium settings at anything playable. The 8600M GT in my XPS laptop is quite a bit more powerful, and has trouble maintaining an average FPS in the low 20s in Crysis on medium. And that's at a lower screen resolution than your laptop (1280x720 vs. 1366x768). Unless, of course, you don't play at your native res and drop it way down.

    Many of the games you listed are quite old (HL2, Doom 3, Prey), so it is little wonder it can run them relatively well. While I am quite envious of you for being able to play games for so little expense (I am addicted to eye-candy, so my GPU setups tend to be on the overkill side of my bank account), it does not change the fact the HD4200 is plain and simply weak.
     
  11. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    because it has less than a tenth of the power of a midrange GPU.

    I can assure you that it cant run the modern stalker games at any decent settings, and the other games you named are old and not demanding on hardware.

    We all know very, very clearly that more ram doesnt mean more performance - you need a faster GPU for that. With a mere 128MB of dedicated ram and a weak GPU, it doesnt matter what you do - you will never get better performance.

    Trust me on this, because i USE one of those GPU's in my second system... and most of my games arent even playable at 1360x768 on the lowest possible settings.
     
  12. John Phoenix New Member

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    Sure the ram matters some because of game requirements. Those games may be old but they all have lots higher ram requirements than this chip 'should' be able to play.. I know my desktop graphics card with 128 mb of ram even 250 couldn't play them.. I think it shows that the shared ram isn't as bad as people make it out to be. Most people i talk to certainly wouldn't think I could play Crysis on medium settings with this chip.

    You say Crysis and Doom3 and Oblivion aren't hard on hardware but heck, I read threads on this forum where people with better gpu's for desktops have more trouble playing them than I do.

    Mussels do you have an explanation for windows, and several info tools saying this 128 is reading as a 336 or 384 MB.. other than it's just a windows glitch.. i don't quite buy that as many tools show the same or like info... there must be a better more technical reason for this.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  13. John Phoenix New Member

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    Hey, i am just as surprised.. i was told i would not even be able to play those other games with this chip,, Oblivion and doom 3 and Prey. I just installed Crysis tonight on a whim. No I haven't dropped my resolution but some of these games wont do higher than 1024x768. I don't like going by FPS, I like going by feel and if it's playable or not.

    I love the eye candy too but i have my desktop for that..the newest game I have I shutter to try on this is Borderlands. In this thread i wanted to really understand this shared memory thing better. It seems that i dont have to do anything like a bios setting to allocate memory for the chip from shared.. it seems to do it on its own..

    But I still want a tool to see how much shared ram i'm using while playing the game.

    Games made for PC seem really good.. while xbox clones suck eggs because they are not optimized for pc in the first place. Im gonna test Fallout 3 next. I think it might just pull it off on low settings.. which is good for the purpose of this machine.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  14. Yukikaze

    Yukikaze

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    Fallout 3 is a travesty in my opinion. It is many times worse then Fallout 1 and 2, even when the effect of relatively modern graphics are taken into account (!). Butchering old games is starting to be popular. I shudder at the thought of the new X-COM game.

    Mass Effect is one Xbox port that is far, far, far from sucking.
     
  15. John Phoenix New Member

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    I'm not knocking all ports.. just from my systems point of view. I have even tried to install some old xbox ports with not so good results.

    I haven't played ME myself.. though I do own a copy (gift)... cant get past the 3rd person thing.
     
  16. Phxprovost

    Phxprovost Xtreme Refugee

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    :wtf:
     
  17. John Phoenix New Member

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    Your point is?

    I will qualify my statement.. as far as this laptop goes.. if the game is smooth and playable it could be the minimum 24 frames per second.. I don't care or need to know..anything over enough frames per second to make it nicely playable is overkill. I wont get hung up on FPS as long as the game is playable. My desktop is a different story.
     
  18. OneMoar

    OneMoar

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    if you increase the shared memory in the bios you take away from system ram
    I dont know where you people are getting this bit about a 4200 not being able to use 512 or moar its not that it CAN'T it really depends on the game moar texture memory is always better then having the gpu GO BACK to the system pool and load it if your running x32 I say alocate the 1Gb and see if it does anything ( crysis might gain a few fps from not haveing to play cacheNswap and needless chew up iRqs and sysbandwith )
    but as far as the 4200 being a WEAK gpu yea it will get the job done just don't expect any thing much from it
     
  19. John Phoenix New Member

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    See, that's what I was wanting to do and why I wanted to do it. I figured i had 4 gigs of ram. Windows will run on 1, 64 bit 2.. I figured if I could allocate 1 gig to the gpu, I would still have plenty left over for Windows.

    But sadly, I cant try it cus I dont have access to that option in my bios.
     
  20. Yukikaze

    Yukikaze

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    Simple:

    A large amount of GPU memory is needed in the following cases:
    1) Huge textures (Take up memory).
    2) High resolutions (More objects on screen).
    3) High graphical settings (More object/texture data due to having more objects on screen).
    4) A lot of post-processing.

    Since the HD4200 cannot feasibly manage 2, 3 and 4 (Well, most of the time: It can run games which are not demanding at a high res and high settings, but then that game doesn't qualify for the things on the list above because it won't have a lot to render on the screen) and textures alone do not take up a huge amount of VRAM on the resolutions at which the HD4200 is capable of gaming decently, the HD4200 will not use, in day-to-day practice, even 512MB of VRAM.

    Sure, you might get a few more FPS in, say, Crysis or GTA IV, but when "a few more" is the difference between 4 and 6 FPS (or 15 and 18 FPS), it doesn't matter anyway.
     
  21. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    vista and 7 can add system ram automatically, making shared memory totally useless in those OS's. you're just seeing how much the OS has assigned.
     
  22. John Phoenix New Member

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    O.k. but why would it make shared memory totally useless? I don't get that.
     
  23. boulard83

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    IF you look at any review and search the web a little bit, you will find that a X gpu, lets take a 9800gt, isnt better on its 1gb version vs the 512mb version. Even if you Pump the RES, the gpu itself with the memory bus is limiting what the card can do with the 1gb of memory.

    Your HD4200 is a weak GPU for gaming and with the speed/bus it have, it cant be better with more RAM. Improving (changing) the GPU would greatly help, but its kind of a pain in most laptop.
     
  24. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    let me put it in a car analogy: shared memory is adding a trailer so it can carry more weight.

    It doesnt matter how many wheels or how many trailers you add on, your GPU aint a bus or monster truck - its an electric scooter. it simply doesnt have the carrying power to USE that extra storage space.
     
  25. TheLaughingMan

    TheLaughingMan

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    nice analog, but I will give it a more obvious reason you can share memory.

    Your card has 128 MB for itself, more than enough to hand Aero and GPU accelerated stuff like HD playback.

    Complication started with the words, "I use it for gaming as well."

    Avoiding a length history less about market reactions to drastic changes in GPU offerings. I say it plainly.

    Shard RAM is basically a gimmick to allow good and great IGP with the balls to play current game on medium the ability to meet minimum system specs for the game to be installed. Added actual dedicated RAM to a IGP in a small laptop is expensive, consumes more power, hard to squeeze in, and is honestly not needed 90% of the time for the people who are actually gaming on them.

    Shared memory basically allows your computer to have 128 MB of dedicated RAM and set asside X amount of RAM to lie about having to games and programs so they will stop bitching and let you install it without issue.

    Will 1 GB of shared help? Not noticeably more than only 512. Should you do it? Its your computer, do whatever the hell you want.

    My suggestion, let your system has as much of its RAM as possible because those same games you are trying to play will eat regular system RAM space as well. Playing Crysis on Vista or Win7 is easily 2.25 GB of RAM in use. Yeah, you got some breathing room, but toss in a download or two in the background, some music playing while you kill everyone, and your system will starve fast if your GPU is holding 1GB+ to itself.

    Also note that your total memory for the GPU is 128 + shared. So if you want it to have 1024 MB total, you want to shard 896 MB.
     

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