The 4g memory Vista 64 snafu

Vikendios

Member
May 5, 2006
37
0
0
There imust be some major name calling going on behind the scenes between Microsoft, Nvidia and Mobo and Memory stick manufacturers over this unresolved issue.

Thz thread at MS :

http://forums.microsoft.com/te...7&ft=11&tf=0&pageid=17

has been alive since the spring of 2007 and seen more than a hundred thousand times.
But ithe status is still "unanswered", and MS moderator input conspicuously absent.

The hotfix and workaround work 80 % of times, but 20 % do not,, and all you can then do is remove two gigs of RAM from your new state of the art rig.

Typical scenario :

You decide to build your ultimate rig to tackle Crysis. Perusing AnandTech, you naturally select a QX 6850 and a couple of SLI'ed 8800 GTS 512. Since you're going Nvidia, you also naturally go for a Nvidia 680i chipset motherboard, say the Asus Strker Extreme. And while you are at it, you decide to go for 4 bars of 1g memory, and the precious Vista 64 that you read was the only way to fully use them.

Guaranteed result : Vista 64 won't install. So you go through the whole rigmarole described in the above link, update coutless BIOS, Drivers and OS and hotfix with only two bars of memory in the machine, and in 20 % of cases you will never succeed in adding the offending two more.

My experience is in building 4 such machines recently, with random results.
What strikes me is the incredible delay in getting such an issue definitely fixed. There probably are some sly interacrion of the various hard and soft components, but a nine month open thread on such a basic matter ?
 

Brunnis

Senior member
Nov 15, 2004
506
71
91
Strange. I've installed Vista 64-bit on one 4GB machine (with ASUS P5B) and one 8GB machine (with Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3) and it worked fine both times. No BSODS or other problems during or after install.
 

Mem

Lifer
Apr 23, 2000
21,476
13
81
The cause is ,

SYMPTOMS
When you try to install Windows Vista, you may receive an error message that resembles the following:
STOP 0x0000000A (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4)
IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
This problem occurs if the following conditions are true:
? The computer uses more than 3 GB of RAM.
? The computer uses a storage system that is running the Storport miniport driver.
? The computer uses a controller that uses 32-bit direct memory access (DMA).


So only motherboards with the above features are effected,personally I had no issues with 4GB and my Epox board,but then it does not have any of the above hardware :).
 

QuixoticOne

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2005
1,855
0
0
Vista is a bad joke at our expense perpetrated by not
only Microsoft but also all the other companies with
junk quality drivers / software for it -- NVIDIA, Creative Labs,
Symantec, etc. etc. etc.

It is shocking and disgusting that such problems would still
persist in this day and age when they've had several YEARS
to get their 64 bit / WHQL / etc. type drivers in order.

To the extent that there were problems like this on the date
of Vista's launch (now over 1 year ago), they should've been
able to fix them properly within 1 month.

I'll say this about the 3GB Vista-install bug though:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929777

...apparently (from what I infer and hear) it is fairly
well based on problems located in the drivers for things like
your disk drives / motherboard chipset and not so much
in Vista's memory management itself.

I just shocked and amazed myself by successfully
installing Vista on a machine with 8GB RAM on a P5K-E
Intel P35 chipset motherboard with an
8800GT-512 also installed using 1 year old 64 bit install
disk (that wouldn't have included any fixes / patches
/ service packs at all). I did two installs (after I didn't
allow quite as much space as I wanted for the first) in
this configuration and I had basically zero problems due
to the memory sizes, though of course other vista
bugs / annoyances are there as usual.

I did have the IDE/SATA storage controller operating mode
set to AHCI (non-RAID) in the BIOS, I had a recent BIOS,
and before I did the install I had downloaded /
expanded the latest Intel Chipset / SATA / IDE driver
floppy images on to my spare hard disk partition
(where I could tell the Vista installer to find them if
needed during the install).

During the first install I explicitly told it to load all the
newest 3rd Party (Intel) motherboard chipset / storage
drivers from my other disks early during the Vista
pre-install process, and that worked.

The next install I don't recall that I told it to find / use
any 3rd party driver (though they were still sitting there
on D drive -- so maybe it auto-scanned / found them...),
and that worked too.

As usual there was no specification possible for the NVIDIA
card drivers until long after the OS was fully installed.

I had "Plug and Play Aware OS? = YES" set in the BIOS
setup so presumably the OS had some role in initializing
the memory spaces for PCI/PCIE peripherals.

On the other hand I've had HUGE instability problems with
my NVIDIA Nforce 4 SLI X16 chipset motherboard in
LINUX and quite a few crashes / problems in XP/VISTA too,
and I think it's the NVIDIA chipset / lack of good
drivers causing many of those problems. I think NVIDIA
makes fairly good graphics cards (vs ATI), but for a
motherboard chipset? I doubt I'll ever buy another
that's not Intel chipset based -- NVIDIA and ATI have
horrible drivers and basically zero documentation to allow
others work-around their bugs / non-standard configurations, etc.

The Intel drivers / software & OS compatibility just seems
to be a lot better, and they tend to be fairly open about
the chip specifications at driver level so at least people
can fix their drivers / software / configurations if there
are problems.

On another note, given several of the horrible install
related bugs I have experienced with VISTA --
disk partitioning, disk driver, DVD drive driver/configuration,
etc. I've been at the point of SWEARING it was IMPOSSIBLE
to get VISTA to install / work in a given configuration
after HOURS of troubleshooting, and then sure enough
right before I give up I try changing some other
BIOS / jumper / cable / driver configuration or whatever
and voila it installs. It has a VERY picky / fragile / broken
installer. e.g. one system I installed XP clean on one
partition, no problem, 30 minutes, SAME SYSTEM, then
I immediately installed VISTA on the other disk for a dual
boot setup, that took 7 hours of driver / cable / disk jumper
and BIOS setting HELL before VISTA would install.
So if you keep trying different things even things that
SHOULDN'T MATTER, maybe you'll get "lucky".

 

TheVrolok

Lifer
Dec 11, 2000
24,254
4,076
136
I had no problems with my Asus P5N32-E Sli Plus and 4GB (2x2GB) of RAM. Hybrid 650i and 680i chipset. 0 problems.
 

Vikendios

Member
May 5, 2006
37
0
0
Yes, I know that plenty of configs do not have the problem, and I know about KB 929777 which does solve the problem some times, but not all of times.

However with :

Asus Striker Extreme (a classic well respected 680i mobo)
QX 6850 processor (ditto...)
4 bars of 1g memory (ie all slots populated)
Two Sli'd Nvidia cards of the 8800 family (a self-evident choice)
and Vista 64 bit,

you will always have the problem, and as I found out, the hotfix and workaround will work in some cases, but not all.

It's pretty obvious that there are some tricky interactions going on with the way the various soft and hard items (including the GPU's) use the four bars of memory, and some have obtained good results with tweeking the memory settings in BIOS, particularly downgrading speed from 800 to 667.

But the above rig is not an arcane overclocked combination. It is the typical state of the art solution, and should work straight from the box.

 

Rubycon

Madame President
Aug 10, 2005
17,768
485
126
Originally posted by: Vikendios

Since you're going Nvidia, you also naturally go for a Nvidia 680i chipset motherboard, say the Asus Strker Extreme. And while you are at it, you decide to go for 4 bars of 1g memory, and the precious Vista 64 that you read was the only way to fully use them.

That's one big problem right there. ;)

Originally posted by: AdamK47
Memory bars

Almond filled, please. ;)
 

Maximilian

Lifer
Feb 8, 2004
12,603
9
81
Originally posted by: Mem
The cause is ,

SYMPTOMS
When you try to install Windows Vista, you may receive an error message that resembles the following:
STOP 0x0000000A (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4)
IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL
This problem occurs if the following conditions are true:
? The computer uses more than 3 GB of RAM.
? The computer uses a storage system that is running the Storport miniport driver.
? The computer uses a controller that uses 32-bit direct memory access (DMA).


So only motherboards with the above features are effected,personally I had no issues with 4GB and my Epox board,but then it does not have any of the above hardware :).

So motherboards with 64-bit DMA will work?
 

dclive

Elite Member
Oct 23, 2003
5,626
2
81
I thought the solution to this was to remove the extra RAM, finish the install, then plug the RAM back in. Big deal...
 

Vikendios

Member
May 5, 2006
37
0
0
Yes and No.

This indeed is the usual workaround (with the KB 929777 installed when in two bars of RAM) and from my experience on 4 machines, it has worked twice. On the other two I was never able to re-boot Vista 64 when adding the two other sticks.

Now the Striker Extreme mother boards and other hardware being purchased at one/two months interval are probably not identical, and the Asus Bios versions varied, so go figure.

But according to the MS thread that I cited above, I'm not alone.

BTW this is not a Vista problem insofar as the 32 bit version will work fine. But that of course limits your RAM use as is well known. Plus a very important game, The Witcher, does not like Vista 32 on high end rigs annd settings, but runs fine on Vista 64.
 

Rubycon

Madame President
Aug 10, 2005
17,768
485
126
Originally posted by: her209
Any problems with 8GB (4x2GB)?

Nope. Tried up to 64GB too. But we've never used the SAS Storport driver and for good reason!