Why Is Only Half My RAM Usable? This Explains It

The RAM is a temporary storage site for your computer’s operating system, data, and the running of other applications. 

Your computer stores information about running apps in the RAM. Additionally, a RAM’s capacity determines the number of programs a computer can run simultaneously.

However, problems may sometimes arise with RAM usage. One of such is a situation in which your computer uses only a part of your RAM. The result is reduced system productivity and performance.

So, why does this happen?

Why Is Only Half My RAM Usable?

There are a few reasons why your device is using only half your RAM size. 

  1. Your RAM capacity may be more than what the motherboard requires. Your computer’s motherboard can only use the amount of RAM it needs. 
  2. Wrong placement of the modules in the memory slot can also cause this problem.
  3. Another possible reason is that you may not have properly locked the RAM in place when you fixed it in the first place.
  4. It may also be due to malfunction from a faulty module or a broken RAM.
  5. It may also be due to wrong BIOS settings or even outdated BIOS.

How To Fix The Half My RAM Usable Problem  

To fix the problems above, consider the suggestions below.

Incompatible motherboard:

Check the capacity of your motherboard and get a compatible RAM size or get a RAM that is compatible with the motherboard.

Improper module/RAM placement:

Your computer has four memory slots, and if you must use two modules, use slots 1 and 3. 

Every motherboard has a required method of slotting in RAM. Check your manual for the proper way of slotting modules.

To properly place the modules, bring them out, clean the contacts with a solvent, and slot them in one after another.

If your RAM module is loose, gently press it in until it locks. Your hardware is fragile, so be careful when handling it. Better, still, allows an expert to check these things for you.

Faulty module or RAM:

You know you have faulty RAM when your system begins to restart often. 

To find the faulty RAM, you have to test the RAMs on your device one after the other. Remove others and leave one inside, and then check whether the system will work seamlessly.

Continue checking them individually till you find the faulty one. If the module is faulty, you’ll need to move your RAM to another functional module. If you have a broken RAM, you would have to replace it. 

Wrong BIOS setting/outdated BIOS:

Consult the motherboard manual to reset your BIOS.

Setting Visualization to ON, iGPU to OFF,  enabling Render Stability, putting the iGPU Memory on Auto, disabling Multi-monitor, and enabling Memory Remap may help fix the problem of the wrong BIOS setting. Also, update the BIOS if it is outdated.

How Much RAM Does My Device Need

If you carry out basic tasks like watching videos, playing music, creating and editing documents, surfing the Internet, your PC should do well with 8 GB RAM.

However, if you’re a gamer or a graphics designer, you’ll need 16GB to 32GB RAM or more to perform these tasks efficiently. 

Your motherboard may also determine what amount of RAM you need. Some motherboards specify the required RAM size. 

However, if you can afford it, consider upgrading your RAM. More RAM capacity generally offers better PC performance.

Understanding The Types Of RAM

There are two types of random-access memory – dynamic and static random-access memory.

Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM):

DRAM comprises a transistor and a capacitor, which are both located in the integrated circuit. The capacitor contains a data bit.

DRAM offers a lower cost of production and more capacity, unlike SRAM. However, it is slow because it needs constant refreshing to function.

Static Random Access Memory (SRAM):

SRAM offers more speed and lower power consumption. However, it has a smaller capacity and is relatively more expensive to manufacture.

With a constant power supply, this memory stores more data than the DRAM. It has up to 4 to 6 transistors, which makes it retrieve data faster than the DRAM.

With a constant power supply, it doesn’t need to refresh data frequently like DRAM. That is why it is static because you do not need refreshing to keep data safe.

Note: Both DRAM and SRAM are volatile memory. Once it loses power, all the memory is lost.

Understanding The Functions Of The RAM

Temporary storage area:

RAM is important because it stores your data in a temporary site for easy recovery. Your applications use data stored in the RAM to function.

Note: RAM is volatile storage, so once the PC goes off, the memory stored on the RAM will wipe off.

To read files:

Your computer stores files on the hard drive. However, accessing them from there can be difficult, especially if they are currently in use. 

When you open these files from the hard drive, your system stores them on the RAM for the time being. The RAM is a high-speed component, so data retrieval is fast.

Speed:

Since your system can easily retrieve data from the RAM for immediate use, computer programs can run fast. 

Multi-tasking:

As a temporary high-speed data storage component, RAM makes multi-tasking easy. You can move from one file to another.

The best part of it is that you won’t lose your data. If you’re playing a game and minimize it to work on other files, you can still come back to your game without losing your record.

Note: Your RAM capacity determines the number of tasks you can carry out on your PC at a time. Without sufficient RAM space, your applications will run slow. 

The reason is that your computer will store data on the hard disk. Data retrieval from this medium is slow.

If you have 2GB RAM space, you can comfortably check your emails, surf the Internet, and listen to music. However, playing games or carrying out other intense activities will require more capacity. 

Enlarged RAM capacity means you get to play your game, do graphics, attend to emails, type documents, and do other stuff quickly.

Advantages of The RAM

  • RAM uses little power, so it doesn’t run down your PC’s battery life.
  • It has stable parts, which means that its parts do not move once it is locked in, its stays.
  • It improves the speed of your PC. The higher the RAM, the higher the speed.
  • The CPU can easily access the RAM.
  • It can read, write and erase files.

Disadvantages of The RAM

  • It is expensive.
  • RAM can only store data temporarily, unlike hard disks.
  • Its storage space is limited.
  • Accessing registers and cache data from the RAM may be a bit slow for the CPU.

Signs Of A Faulty RAM

Slow computer performance:

If your computer turns on normally, but slows down after running multiple programs, then there’s a problem with the RAM.

You will notice that your computer performance begins to slow, and reopening files may become slow.

A possible cause of this may be a leakage in the RAM’s memory. To work on this, shut down your PC and put it on again. Try using your PC without opening multiple files. 

If you’re still encountering this problem, then you need to change your RAM.

Crashing files:

If your computer frequently crashes, especially when you open heavy files like games and graphics, your RAM may be faulty.

Files getting corrupted:

If you notice that your files are getting corrupted one after the other, your RAM may be faulty.

You need to change the RAM, or the situation will deteriorate until your PC finally crashes.

Frequent freezing of your PC:

If you notice that your PC freezes frequently, your RAM may be faulty.

Sometimes it may take up to 3-4 minutes to get a browser started.  This problem may be a virus issue. So check your RAM for the virus.

Incorrect RAM size:

It is easy to check your RAM size on your PC, but when your PC begins to display a wrong RAM size, other than what you installed, there may be an issue with the RAM.

Video card issue:

The beep sound you hear tells you that your computer has synchronized with your video card when you put it on your computer.

However, if you turn on your computer and you don’t hear this sound, it may mean that your RAM may have issues.

Causes Of RAM Damage

Your RAM can damage if the power supply is too low or too high. It is advisable to use a surge protector when connecting to a power supply.

Overheating can also cause damage. It can overheat on itself or other parts. Whichever is the source of the heat, it can damage the RAM.

Quality control may miss a fault from the memory module. This oversight can damage the RAM.

Conclusion

Your computer stores information about its operating system, data, and running apps in the RAM. 

Your RAM capacity, therefore, determines the number of programs your computer can run simultaneously.

Some factors can cause a situation in which only half your RAM is usable. This situation leads to reduced productivity and performance.

An incompatible motherboard, faulty module, broken RAM, wrong BIOS settings, and improper RAM placement can be responsible for this problem.

To resolve, get RAM compatible with your motherboard and adjust your BIOS settings. Replace damaged RAM and adjust RAM placement on the computer. 

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