Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reduce computer hardware requirements

If your PC has 4GB of memory you’ll probably find you can only access 3 to 3.5GB of that, because your BIOS has allocated the rest of the address space to your video adapter, network card and so on.

To see what’s allocated to hardware on your PC Security, launch Device Manager (click Start and enter devmgmt.msc), click View > Resources by type and expand the Memory section. The real resource hog will probably be your video adapter. If you’ve a high-end 512MB graphics card, say, then that’s going to grab 512MB (and more, actually) of your address space. This probably won’t matter if you’ve 2GB of RAM as there’s no memory there to be blocked, but if you’ve 4GB then it’ll prevent you using it all.

You can’t make this computer problem go away entirely, but there are ways to reduce its impact. Have you installed an expansion card you no longer need, for instance? Remove it. If you don’t make use of a high-end video card then consider a downgrade to one with less RAM (128MB is enough to run Vista). And explore your BIOS setup program to turn off features you don’t need. There’s generally a menu called something like ‘Onboard Device Configuration’ or ‘Integrated Peripherals’ where you can disable onboard graphics, integrated sound, unused network adapters or IDE channels and so on. Use this to turn off surplus hardware, your BIOS won’t allocate it any resources, and more of your 4GB RAM will be left for you.

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