5 Replies Latest reply on Nov 14, 2014 5:55 PM by ghinkle

    3D Game killing BUG? Intel HD graphics card has ZERO "reported dedicated video RAM" under Windows 8.1


      I have a newish 4th gen i3 based Dell laptop, with Intel HD 4400 graphics. It is running Windows 8.1 64 bit, 4GB of physical RAM. Running the Dell version of the latest drivers with a version number that matches the "Intel Generic" drivers that just came out in October.


      Here is the abbreviated DXDIAG output;

      Windows 8.1 64-bit
      Processor: i3-4030U CPU @ 1.9GHz

      Memory: 4096MB


      Tried to run a 3D MMOG, Roblox. The game display never actually starts. Lots of back and forth with their tech support. No real progress, as they keep asking questions like I am eight years old. In their defense, most of the their users are eight year olds, but I digress.


      I also have tried to run the PC version of Disney Infinity 2.0. Again, full screen game display never actually starts, black screen for a few seconds, then back to the desktop. Their tech support is only slightly better than the Roblox folks. They at least know what DXDIAG.EXE is, and ask for the output. They immediately seize on the fact that the "Dedicated Memory" is ZERO, and say that "the Intel HD card isn't supported, have a nice day."


      What is truly odd is that both of these programs run OK (but not great) on an older laptop with a 2nd-Gen  i3-2310M @ 2.1MHz and Intel HD 3000 graphics, that is running Windows 7 64 bit. The DXDIAG.EXE output for that machine has a "Dedicated Memory" value of 64MB.


      I have gone down the rabbit hole of reading about the wonderful Intel innovation, "Dynamic Video Memory Technology" and DirectX memory calls. Searches on this forum have revealed other people pointing out that many games check the "dedicated Memory' value instead of "Total available Video Memory", and promptly close (or crash) when they see that big fat ZERO. I have a feeling the kind folks at Roblox will also conclude "the Intel video card isn't powerful enough, have a nice day."


      Intel's response always seems to be that "we don't need no stinkin' minimum video ram value" under Windows 8.x, and that the game developers are just "lazy". Can someone at Intel please tell us what is the chip-melting consequence of Intel setting a minimum video RAM value above ZERO? If you put a value in there (and heaven forbid allow the user to adjust it), you might increase the number of games that will "just work" on Intel graphics chipsets. Since Intel can't make game programmers program "the Intel way", Intel should take care of things on their end and change the drivers


      My question is, why can't the Intel drivers report ANY dedicated video RAM? Is it the system manufacturers fault? Intel writes the drivers, and that is what Windows 8.x uses to record the hardware specs. If you want to actually convince people that Intel video chipsets can run games, I bet this simple value setting would help that.

        • 1. Re: 3D Game killing BUG? Intel HD graphics card has ZERO "reported dedicated video RAM" under Windows 8.1

          Hi ghinkle


          Would it be possible for you to attach the DXDiag report to this thread? Also, if there is a setting in the System BIOS of your laptop, could you check to see what the Video or Graphics memory setting is? Additionally, could you right click on the game executable and select "Troubleshoot Compatibility" and select the "Troubleshoot Program" option and post the results?





          • 2. Re: 3D Game killing BUG? Intel HD graphics card has ZERO "reported dedicated video RAM" under Windows 8.1

            OK, here is DXDIAG. I was mistaken, I thought the Dell driver had the same version number as the generic driver, but it is different.


            There is no setting in the BIO to even display the video ram. It looks like this Dell has an American Megatrends Inc (also known as AMI) UEFI BIOS.


            As I mentioned, DXDIAG reports the dedicated video RAM is zero. If you want, I can upload the DXDIAG from the laptop that is capable of running the program.


            Disney Interactive pushed out an updated version of the game. I installed it, and had no success when I tried to run it "stock" - regular user, double-click. If anything, it seems to give up and drop to the desktop faster than before.


            I tried as administrator. No luck.


            I right-clicked and picked "Troubleshoot Compatibility". Its suggestion was to run in "Windows 8" mode. No joy.

            I manually ran through the various options, including trying 16 bit color mode, 640x480 VGA mode, and "Windows 7" mode. No luck from any of them.

            • 3. Re: 3D Game killing BUG? Intel HD graphics card has ZERO "reported dedicated video RAM" under Windows 8.1

              Any updates or additional info requests? I haven't seen any new messages about this.

              • 4. Re: 3D Game killing BUG? Intel HD graphics card has ZERO "reported dedicated video RAM" under Windows 8.1

                Intel drivers don't report the amount of dedicated video memory to the operating system, the BIOS does.  When applications ask "how much dedicated memory" that API call goes to OS, not to graphics driver.  Sorry - there is no way for the graphics driver to trick the system here.


                Consider - if application developers are stupid and read the wrong value out of Windows API calls, then how much would the BIOS have to steal to be safe?  512MB? 1GB? heck, for recent games like Assassin's Creed: Unity, maybe 2-3GB? 


                Its not a question of "chip melting consequences" as you so colorfully put it. 


                There are very good reasons why OEMs configure their BIOS with minimal (near zero) dedicated memory - Microsoft puts a lot of pressure on them to do so (and believe me, if an OEM couldn't get the WHQL logo from Microsoft for their system, they don't have a product).  Why does Microsoft care?  Because every megabyte of memory that is "stolen" at boot by the BIOS to be "dedicated" to graphics is not available for any other OS purpose.  This means that Excel, web browsers, etc - pretty much everything will have less memory availabe and that means swapping to disk happens more often and degrades the overall experience.  Maybe not an issue for you if you have 8GB of ram, but what about systems with 4GB? or tablets/netbooks with 2GB?  If the BIOS stole 512MB at boot and it made everything sluggish just so that, on the occasion when you want to play games, the game will get an answer that makes it happy... that sounds like a colossal waste of memory and bad user experience.


                Moreover, where do you stop?  Here app developers are incorrectly interpreting data returned from an API call..   What happens if sloppy application developers pass the wrong parameters into functions? Should Intel try to "correct" that for them? what if they called the wrong function?  If you are unhappy, your choices are to:


                1) tell the app developer to get with program.  As you know, Roblox isn't that demanding and would just fine on any recent Intel HD graphics if this issue was fixed.  This is a huge potential market for them.  If they made a one line change in their software they would fix this issue for millions of potential customers.



                2) tell Microsoft that they need to provide an option where the DXGI api "lies" to the application and reports more dedicated memory just to make the apps happy without OEM BIOS/Intel  having to actually waste memory simply to satisfy the app.

                • 5. Re: 3D Game killing BUG? Intel HD graphics card has ZERO "reported dedicated video RAM" under Windows 8.1

                  OK - true confession time. I am sure I am above the average age of posters here. I actually used a stack of punch cards to program a mainframe in middle school, and my first personal computer purchase decision was between a Commode Vic-20 and a Commodore 64 (complete with still skinny William Shatner commercials). I know that the BIOS is part of the problem", but I also know the game developers are "doing it wrong".



                  I researched what was going on, and read the DirectX API documentation. I used Process Monitor and a debugger to see what was going on. I even pointed out the mistake that Disney Interactive and Roblox probably made in their code. I read the same Microsoft RAM guidance you are paraphrasing from.


                  Guess what - Disney told me that's nice, "we'll try to pass that along, but please be aware that the development team doesn't reply to public emails". Roblox is at least still returning emails to me - for now. They are not going to listen to Joe User, even if Joe User knows exactly what he is talking about. Replace "Disney" with many other publishers, and the sentiment is the same. Obi-wan might say that if "a million beings cried out at once", Disney would change. Guess what, only hard-headed old goats like me even try to make the software work, because the minimum specs say "it won't work on Intel HD graphics".


                  But I imagine Avalanche (the actual developer of Disney Infinity), might actually listen to a project manager from developer relations at Intel who calls them and offers to help their software work on more machines. Maybe Intel might throw some weight around and try to get game developers to take their hardware seriously.The developers certainly don't think much of Intel HD graphics now. Joe User trying to tell Microsoft to change, is even more ridiculous.


                  I was basically attempting to "poke the bear" and get somebody to evangelize to developers and Microsoft how to "do the right thing". I know "lying to the OS" is the wrong way to fix things. But I was ringing any bell I can throw rocks at.


                  PS - I tried to make a few cultural references to back up my claimed age. I hope they make one or two readers grin.