I have a Dell Studio XPS 435mt, it originally came with 4gb of ram. I just added 4 more gb of ram (2 x2gb sticks). However the system is only showing that I have 6gb of ram... (well, 5.9 to be exact) - however when I check the bios, it shows the full 8gb. I know some of the ram is reserved by the system, but 2gb's worth seems a bit excessive?

I don't have any kind of mapping option in my bios, and I checked the msconfig to verify that the max ram option is unchecked.

Running windows 7 x64 professional.


2 Answers 2


Well, solving this is black magic. Try with swapping slots and sticks. Another thing could be order in which the sticks were inserted. All this shouldn't really have any effect on amount of detected RAM, but I've seen some temperamental motherboards that will detect RAM only if certain sticks are in certain slots and if the sticks are inserted in correct order.

Basically, try experimenting with different arrangement. Also, get some memory test utility, like memtest86+ form http://www.memtest.org/ and use it between attempts to see if all sticks are good. It could be that some are damaged by static electricity.

About the RAM reserved by system: Unless you have some outrageous integrated graphics card, it shouldn't take more than few MiBs at most.

Also, check if there is some known incompatibility with your motherboard, your RAM and operating system. For example, nForce 2 motherboards won't work (or at all) well with vista or 7 if they have more than 2 GiBs of RAM.


Windows 7 64-bits should be using your entire RAM with no problems, provided that you are using the right RAM and have the latest drivers.

Some ideas:

  • Verify what you have done against this article:
    How do I identify and upgrade the memory on my Dell Computer?
  • Check if your BIOS is the latest version 1.1.4 from December 2009
    (take all precautions : failed BIOS update can brick your computer)
  • Check in Windows Update all optional updates that relate to hardware
  • Verify if you are using the latest video driver from AMD's site

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