Laptop - Change shared Video RAM?

October 15, 2006 at 11:01:26
Specs: Xp Pro, Hmm not sure lol

I'm trying to install a few games on my dad's laptop, a Dell Inspiron 630M, but none seem to start, and I found the root of this (I think) when I went into the display properties, found an Intel property page that stated:

Minimum Shared Video RAM: 8MB
Maximum Shared Video RAM: 128MB

Current Shared Video RAM: 10MB


10MB is awfully low, and this model should cope with the games I'm trying to install, but obviously not with 10MB of video RAM. How on earth do I up this to around 64-128MB? I've looked in the BIOS and I can't find any references to video. There's nothing in Windows either that I can see. Any ideas?

Any help here would be much appreciated,



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October 15, 2006 at 12:19:18
Look for something in the bios Setup pages along the lines of xxx Aperature size (xxx = AGP or PCI?) - in some bioses that is where you set the amount of ram that is shared with the onboard video.
It should never be set to be more than 1/2 the amount of ram installed - in your case you could set it to it's max.

There may also be a setting somewhere for VGA Frame Buffer Size or similar, though that doesn't determine the amount of ram that is shared.

If that doesn't help, the games probably require better video than the laptop can deliver, or there is some other hardware reason the laptop does not support the games, but you could try making sure the proper video and monitor drivers are loaded. The monitor should probably be at least Plug and Play Monitor, not Default Monitor.

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October 15, 2006 at 12:35:33
Hi, Tubesandwires, thanks for your quick reply!

Hmm I've had a look around in the BIOS at least 3 times (just to make sure I'm not missing anything) and there is nothing changeable of the sort to do with memory, graphics, or much at all to be honest, it's a bit pathetic. There is a screen in there that has information about the laptops configuration, and on this screen it mentions that there is 8MB assigned to the Video Memory.

I have also just tried the latest Intel graphics drivers off of the Dell website, which proved to be pointless, as there is no difference.

I've seen this laptop on the web marketed as saying it supports shared memory upto 128Megs. So it surely must be changeable? For a high-ish spec laptop in terms of Processor and memory, to have 8MB/10MB of video memory is appalling!

Any more ideas?


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October 15, 2006 at 14:25:58
I looked at the User manual and the Maintenance Manual listed for your model - they are both generic. There is no info specific bios info for your model in either,
so I have no info what you actually see in it.

I assume you were looking at the System Setup - what Dell calls the bios Setup

"To access the System Setup program....
Turn on or Restart your computer.
When the Dell Logo appears, press F2 immediately"

In the generic manual there is a category
"Boot (startup) and Display Settings"
Do you see anything like that?
If you do what does it say in the Display Settings section?

Click on all the lines in that, or any > at the end of the lines - sometimes expanded choices will appear when you do that.
Do you see any more choices?

In the User manual I found:
chipset Intel Mobile 915 GM Express

Video type - integrated in chipset
Intel Graphics Media (GMA) 900

Video memory - up to 64mb shared
(so your maximum is 64mb)

Using the System Setup Program
page 137 of pdf

How to re-install drivers.

In Windows - make sure the proper video and monitor drivers are loaded. If the proper video is not listed, re-install the video drivers. The monitor should probably be at least Plug and Play Monitor, not Default Monitor.
(Control Panel - Display - Settings)

Look in Control Panel - Display - Settings - Advanced
to see if there are settings there where you can change the amount of shared ram the video uses (usually that's not there).

Look for Dell utilities in the Program listings to see if there is anything there to do with Video

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October 15, 2006 at 23:08:18
our dell computers at work have same problem. it lists min and max and the current level is very close to the min. I can not find anything in the BIOS/Setup to change it like you normally can.(not laptops, these are desktops - modern pentium 4)
Does anyone know if it is possible that it is variable and the computer automatically adjusts it to what it thinks is the best compromise between available ram and graphics demand accrding what funstions are being performed at the time?

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October 16, 2006 at 07:23:41
It doesn't make sense that Dell would hide the settings that would allow you to change the amount of ram shared with the onboard video, unless they didn't want the user to be able to change that.

"Does anyone know if it is possible that it is variable and the computer automatically adjusts it to what it thinks is the best compromise between available ram and graphics demand accrding what funstions are being performed at the time?"

I know of no way that could be done automatically.

One possibility with OEM Intel brand name mboards made for/supplied to brand name system builders, if that applies here, is at least some of them have a special jumper block on the mboard - when a jumper is moved onto certain pins on that jumper block, options appear in the bios Setup, or whatever the name brand system builder calls that, that don't normally appear. I've investigated a few such brand name system desktop mboards where I found a very similar mboard made and marketed by Intel itself has that jumper block and info about it in their manual, yet the brand name system mboard has the same jumper block but there is no info about it in the brand name system's manuals or on their web site, but determining that for a laptop mboard is much more difficult. And besides, the settings that appear I've seen have nothing included to do with the onboard video.

If the bios string for an OEM Intel made desktop mboard made for a system builder is in the Intel format:
with the 3 character code for the brand set to the brand name system builders brand code between dots in the middle of the string instead of to the code for Intel, sometimes a very similar Intel mboard's manual will tell you of such a jumper block and it's settings.
Sometimes the first part of that bios string before the dot is identical to that for an Intel mboard model - the third part identifies the particular bios version and that is often similar but different.

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December 22, 2006 at 22:55:10
I have the same problem in changing shared vieo ram in my mercury motherboard system i need to change it from 4mb to 8mb. i need this to get the nice resolution in linux.

any ideas are accepted


srihari g

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