Are all ram sticks buffered? Sometimes, unbuffered ram will be seen at half the amount, or sometimes not at all.
There is buffered and unbuffered RAM. Not that I'm an expert on the subject, but I understand that some mobos do not read unbuffered RAM.... and if buffered RAM is installed in the primary channel on a mobo that reads both types, unbuffered RAM will not be read in the secondary channel, and visa versa. In other words, you can use either or, not a mixture of both.
That however, is not the issue with my ASUS board! I tried 4 identical sticks of unbuffered RAM from a set, but I can only use 2 sticks at any one time, in either the primary channel or the secondary channel. It's really weird, the mobo will accept 2 sticks of 2gb RAM in the primary channel (or the secondary), so it can read 4gb no problem, but when I tried 4 sticks of 1gb in all four slots, the sticks in the secondary channel rapidly started to overheat, like 4gb was too much for the board or something.
In my opinion, the mobo is either faulty/has incorrect circuitry or was wrongly rated.... RAM should not start to burn like that. I just wish that I had discovered this issue prior to the mobo's warranty running out. I'd only ever tried to use the primary channel with 2 x 1gb sticks before, so it wasn't detected until it was too late.