Windows

Build a computer for a Vista 5.9 Performance Rating

How do you get Windows Vista's 5.9 performance rating without breaking the bank? Joe Rosberg went shopping and built a computer that achieved his goal. Would you do it differently?

The Vista Performance Index provides a visual and numerical representation of how well your computer might perform. Having to support users in a graphics-extensive environment, I've found it useful to help grade various computer components. It's not a coincidence to see the sluggish computers return a low performance score, 2.8 for example, and the real barn-burners consistently score at or near the 5.0 range. I realize it's not the most detailed and telling performance monitor, but it does provide a pretty good snapshot of what you might expect from your computer.

Because of a major software upgrade, I've had to recently replace quite a number of computers for my users. Their old ones just didn't have the computing horsepower to meet even the minimum software requirements, much less the recommended -- which I always increase as much as realistically (and financially) possible. I wanted to get as much computing bang for the buck, so to speak, so I paid particularly close attention to how I specified my next generation of computers. I update my standard computer specification probably once a year, and it's been a while since I've last written about it, so that time has again arrived.

All (or most) of my P4 generation of computers had to be replaced, especially for the power-users who relied heavily on our graphics software. I had a scattering of Core 2 duo computers, and even a Quad Core, but not even those reached the 5.9 level on Vista's performance rating. That was my target -- 5.9 -- without breaking our bank.

I started with the processor and decided on the Intel Core 2 Quad, Number Q9450. It's the 2.67 GHz processor @ 1333 MHz FSB. I almost spent the extra $200 for the 2.8 GHz but suspected that those dollars could be better spent elsewhere. Of course, I could have selected a Core 2 Quad Extreme (3.2 GHz @ 1600 MHz FSB), but a $1,500 price tag put that one entirely out of reach. Besides, my target performance rating was a 5.9, and Vista can't report anything higher, so although that Extreme processor would have much greater computing power, it wouldn't necessarily show up in the rating score. I was talked out of my preference for Asus motherboards (by a sales adviser) and settled on the Gigabyte S-Series GA-EP35C-DS3R motherboard. I always consider room for growth when it comes to motherboards, and this one will somewhat allow for future expansion. If I ever want to upgrade the processor, it will support the Quad Core Extreme and the faster 1600 MHz FSB speed and it will have slots for either DDR3 or DDR2 memory, but it can't use both. The downside is that it will have a maximum capacity of only 4GB of DDR3 RAM, or 8GB of DDR2. Considering the cost of a more expandable board, however, I settled for this. Besides, I was overspecifying the amount of RAM I really needed, so it should be good for several future software releases (I hope).

Although 4GB RAM would be more than enough for my application's recommended amount, I opted to bump it up to 8GB -- the DDR2 flavor.

When it came to hard drive(s), I noticed several things with my current computers. SATA drives did, in general, provide higher performance scores than IDE drives; and ones with a lot of available disk space rated higher than those with limited space (the 500GB drives rated higher than the 160GB drives). However, the Vista rating for the Disk Data Transfer Rate was less than a 5.9 on all my machines except for two. Those were the ones with two drives (400GB each) installed in a Raid 0 configuration. I therefore decided to install two 500GB SATA drives in a Raid 0 configuration. I opted for the Hitachi Deskstar model. (I've come to prefer Seagate, but there were none available at the time -- and I got a pretty good deal on these Deskstar models.) Graphics was the weak link on all my existing computers. Since the Vista Performance Rating is only as high as the lowest scoring component, in almost all cases, my graphics capabilities brought it down -- in some cases, as low as a 1.0, but in most cases, to the 3.0 range. The first card I tried with my prototype system was the Diamond ATI PCIe card with 1GB DDR2 - model HD3650. However, it only scored a 5.4 on the Vista Rating. I exchanged that card for the Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT with only 512MB memory -- but it has the faster DDR3. I was pleasantly surprised that the card with less memory, but running at a higher speed, outperformed the one with more memory. And at a price of only $160, it seemed like a great way to go. I've always liked the Antec Sonata cases, and for my new computer specification I selected the Sonata III model. Quiet fans and a 500w power supply will do quite nicely, and it has front ports for audio, two USB devices, and an eSATA connection. I selected an inexpensive OEM 20x DVD R/W (branded Optiarc, but made by Sony). And for the first time ever, I put these together without a 3.5" floppy disk drive. If I ever need one for a BIOS upgrade or something, I have plenty of extras on the shelf.

· Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad, Number Q9450 ($300)

· Motherboard: Gigabyte S-Series GA-EP35C-DS3R ($160)

· Memory: 8GB - Two Corsair XMS2-6400 4GB Kits ($220)

· Hard Drives: Two 500GB SATA configured Raid 0 ($180)

· Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT PCIe ($160)

· Case: Antec Sonata III ($130)

· DVD: OEM brand ($40)

Total cost: $1,190

Operating System: Vista Ultimate 64-Bit. I didn't have to buy it, but add about $220 for the OEM product if you do. The same goes for an Office Suite. I currently have Microsoft Office 2007 Professional, so there was no need for me to buy that, but add another $350 to the cost of your system if you do. (Or better yet, consider the free Office Suite from OpenOffice.org -- I've looked at it, and it'll do nicely for the basic stuff.) Vista Performance Rating: 5.9

There ya' go. That's my Vista 5.9 Performance system for about $1,200 (not including operating system, Office Suite, and monitor). I'm sure we'll get plenty of suggestions and ideas on how to either improve on this system or build it for less -- or both!

88 comments
jim287
jim287

i have a 32 bit . 2 GB Toshiba laptop. Wanting to learn how to higher my performance rate. At his time it is at a 1.0. What do I do?

sassan_sh
sassan_sh

You can achieve 5.9 performance rating with less memory and one HDD drive too here is my PC specs with 5.9 performance rating: CPU: Intel Core2Quad Q9300 2.5Mhz M/B: Gigabyte P35-DS3R RAM: 2GB Corsair Dominator 1066 (1x2 1GB) HDD: Samsung 500GB SATA Graphic Card: Asus 8800GT TOP 512MB DDR3 Chassis & Power Supply: Cooler Master 430W OS: Windows Vista 32bit SP1

mkey2
mkey2

Gigbyte 965P-DS3, 2160 CPU O/C to 3.0 Ghz, PC6400 Low Latency RAM, Single 80GB/7200 RPM Hitachi disk, NV 7900 GT, high quality CPU fan for O/C and el-cheapo case and 550W PS, 5.9 for less than 550.00

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

it's a great guideline for my own next build. A question to all, please? The components you have listed, any thoughts, ideas, experiences with Ubuntu or PCLOS support for those components?

vitec
vitec

That's all great and everything, but what about laptops where you're kind of limited as to what can and cannot be replaced or swapped out? I have an HP dv9819wm and the major holdback for me is my video card. It is the GeForce 7150 chipset and I have bumped up the graphics memory to 1Gb but still only get a rating of 2.5 out of it. All of the other categories are 4.7 or higher (which I am more than satisfied with, but the graphics and the gaming graphics ratings are KILLING me!! Any thoughts to help this out would be awesome. I am also running Windows Vista 64-bit OS (clean load, no HP crap in there), the system has a dual core AMD Turion 64-bit 2.1Ghz processor with 4Gb of RAM (although the BIOS only registers 3 of that), a 250Gb 3Gb/s SATA hard drive (with a second one to be installed soon).

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Gets a 5.2. - Intel?? Pentium?? 4 Processor Extreme Edition 3.46 - ATI X1650 512MB Overclocked - 3 GB RAM - RAID 0 OS Drive - 10,000 RPM Drives Just added some RAM and upgraded the graphics card. All the other devices were high end to start with so there was no issue. Buy correct in the first place and you are fine.

executor
executor

I built the same PC using the same motherboard but with raid 1 and a Q6600 quad core CPU and a Nvidia 8600GT video card and 2GB DDRx1066. It gets a score of 5.6 on Vista Ultimate 32 bit version. The only thing I found with this particular motherboard is that it crashes if I populate all 4 DDR2 memory slots. Using 2 slots works fine.

tplancon
tplancon

I found the article and discussion very interesting and informative. I'm curious as to what the argument against Asus and for Gigabyte was. I tend to favor Asus. My 2 cents: I've only had Samsung and Hitachi drives fail, one of each over about 10 years.

noepzor
noepzor

You should consider a Samsung F1 disk, they are very fast, sometimes it outperforms the Raptor series from WD. Also the CPU doesn't need to be a quadcore, I think a Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3Ghz can do the trick, for less money. The 9600GT is a good choice, the memory size doesn't say something at all on the budget cards. They put that large amount of memory on the cards because it sells quite well and is cheap to buy for the factories. You can also check the 8800GT of the HD3870 from AMD/ATi, they perform in the same regions as the 9600GT and the costs are also about the same.

Mark.Moran
Mark.Moran

I built a "killer" system last year and originally opted for a number of Raid 0 arrays for purely performance reasons. And I was suitably rewarded with impressive Vista scores, however I had ignored the fact that this performance was at the cost of reliability / redundancy. You are, I'm sure, aware that with raid 0 if you loose 1 disk you loose the contents of the entire array, and after a system crash this is exactly what happened to me. After having experimented with differing configurations I concluded that Raid 0 arrays can be used but not for your system volume / drive (ie C:). I tend to use a Raid 1 array for the system vol and use the Raid 0 arrays for other data (ie. video editing / games / databases etc) I had a number of (self induced) crashes with this config and have not lost anything since. The raid 0 array, not being a system volume has remained stable and the system vol on the raid 1 array, although suffering damage during the crashes, had the necessary redundancy to rebuild itself automatically. Unfortunatly as the Vista disk performance score only seems to rate the system volume, choosing Raid 1 does reduce this score.

nickholloway
nickholloway

Vitec, You say your Laptop is only reporting ?gb in Vista yet you Upgraded the Graphics Memory to 1GB?? If your card is ON BOARD with shared RAM I would suggets this is your Missing 1GB. Otherwise Id really check that you have the 64 Bit OS or a faulty RAM board! Your in the Laptop trap - what you have is what your stuck with Graphics wise especially if its an On Board setup. The dedicated Laptop Graphics Cards can be upgarded but its not a simple or Cheap exercise and the Boards were never designed for an easy upgrade route more for an Easy respec route for Manufacturers and teh replacement cards are very difficult to find. Changing Laptop cards needs a lot to be taken into consideration as there are differing card types that come with different profile sizes. You also have to be very carefull checking the Thermal Designation of the replacement card as the Laptop case and built in cooling may not be able to handle to increased Heat output.

CraneWest
CraneWest

My recommendation is to buy a new laptop, or specifically a gaming laptop. Your BIOS, and Vista should report the installed ram, but Vista 32-bit will use less than 4GB. Some of the *address space* is used by the video card. Is your BIOS up to date? Are you sure your mobo can actually handle 4GB of memory installed?

vitec
vitec

Nice system you have, but the only difference is, you have a desktop and mine's a laptop so I can't change out the video cards as easily, and they are persnickety about other add-ins as well (like 10K RPM drives). Also I found that I had to jumper my secondary hard drive (yes, it has 2 bays) to run at 1.5Gb/s instead of letting her run at 3.0Gb/s. Some strange limitation that HP put on their board, finally found that after wading through whitepapers and manuals for a few months. Now I have the full 500Gb of drive space accessible and in use. Whereas if I tried it the other way, I could sometimes get it to recognize for a short period and then disappear form the system entirely, losing all the data as well because it would blow away the partition table....FUN!!!!

JCitizen
JCitizen

operating system; you have to go x64 for that. And if I remember correctly the 32bit Windows doesn't even use all 4Gbs very efficiently, more like 3.5 Gbs. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong; but I doubt that I am.

bfpower
bfpower

I recently built a system with an ASUS P5E - it's been completely flawless as far as the mobo is concerned. It's also very user-friendly when installing. Referring to your comment about failing HD drives, I do desktop support and see quite a few failuers. The one I've hated most is Maxtor (just had an unrecoverable failure on one last week). Though that doesn't mean they fail the most, just that they've caught my notice.

Joe_R
Joe_R

But when I gave my specification to the sales advisor, he told me that the Asus board I listed had a very high failure/return rate. I yielded to his suggestion for the alternative.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Same FSB speed, faster processor speed - that might be a great suggestion. Considering those things, what's the difference between the duo and the quad - as the user will see? Your suggestion is $100 less than the one I selected. If you consider bang for the buck, your processor suggestion might be the better one. Thanks for the reinforcement on the 9600GT. It seems like a great video card. I have noticed, however, that upon initial boot-up, the fan on that card is spinning a billion times a minuteexaggerating a bit) - very loud. But after only a minute or two, it slows down and is very quiet. Interesting. Many thanks for posting.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

OS Partitions Only, NEVER the DATA!!!!! Data - RAID 1 or 5

techrepublic
techrepublic

I've built to date about 70 PC systems. A week ago I decided to build a Quad Core and as I was keeping an eye on costs, I opted for an Asrock P1600SLI-110dB which also can support 1600MHz FSB. I went for a saving on the CPU and got a Q6600 for now, but can upgrade it in the future. I had some HorseHair (I mean Corsair, sorry) XMS DDR2 ram and picked a Gigabyte fanless video card with dual DVI connectors. HDDs I prefer either Samsung or Seagate and this time round I put in a 160GB SATA for C: and 4x200GB HDDs in RAID 0-1 for D: PSU was an Antec 500W EarthWatts unit - all out of my spares bin. I store my files mainly on a 4TB NAS box so on board storage doesn't have to be huge. I would not use Vista, so installed x64 XP, but none of my key apps supported 64 bit (e.g. DXO and Capture NX), so had to reformat and go XP Pro SP3 32 bit.

dmstenhouse
dmstenhouse

If you do build a system for performance i.e. gaming, video/music editing and design, then yes RAID 0 is they way. Of course like any build, one should have a backup plan in case it does crash. Generally it is cheaper to have a backup plan than buying 4 HDD's so that you can run 2 different RAID setup's.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Would I be wrong in suggesting that any Raid array might be less reliable? Not too long ago, I installed a Raid 1 on my server, and it crashed after only one month. Of course, both drives were useless. I opted to forgo any Raid array when I reinstalled. However, my Raid 0 configuration will be on client workstations. If they crash, there shouldn't be any risk of data loss, so I opted for the performance. Thanks for posting. It'll be interesting to follow the reliability factor of this thing.

brent.young
brent.young

Raid 0 all you want, just backup frequently. How often you do it is related to how happy you will be when you need to restore from it. Save the backups to a raid 1 or more than one physical drive (manual mirroring). Having a single drive for your system files is like having raid 0 but without the performance benefits and how long was that the norm? Save stuff you "can't live without" and when it all goes to pot just restore from your most recent backup. :)

skispcs
skispcs

RAID 0 is a misnomer but it has its uses. If you do not know 100% what they are you do not need it. Besides I can get a 5.9 in Vista with a Single WD 150 Gig Raptor. Faster than that you can go with SAS drives.

cory.schultze
cory.schultze

That's why you get 4 drives and put them on Raid 0+1 - stripe, then mirror. You get the performance AND the redundancy. If you mirror then stripe, you have a better redundancy but less performance, like Raid1 but with more drives.

george.hickey
george.hickey

I learned from personal experience that having your system disks in RAID 0 is not a great idea - I had built my home PC that way and, after a year and a half, the memory controller on the mobo failed, leaving me with a choice of trying to source the same make / model of motherboard or just upgrade. Of course I just upgraded but this meant I was unable to recover the RAID-0 partition given that that BIOS implementation was different on the new motherboard. Luckily I had most things of value (software, documents, photos, MP3's etc) backed up on an external hard disk. Having said that, I did like the performance that it gave me so I built the new machine with RAID-0 system volume (2x 250GB SATA2 disks with 8MB cache) and put in a 500GB drive to act as an in-machine backup drive - I've relocated the my documents folders to that drive so that, in the event of another crash, I might have to rebuild the system volume from scratch but I will have all of the important things available on the backup drive. Moral of the story - if you want to use RAID-0 for the system volume, back up the machine and do it often! BTW, this is an XP machine - I believe Vista has built-in backup tools which should make automating backups relatively easy.

vitec
vitec

Interesting thoughts about the video card, I really don't want to tear into the guts of a new box, even though it's what I do for a living and I've changed out dozens of them on other systems, it's mine and for the most part works great. The OS is DEFINITELY 64-bit. But the BIOS is fully up-to-date and does not recognize more than the 3 Gb as mentioned previously no matter what I set the shared out memory to in the BIOS. According to the cubicalized HP idiot that I spoke to in their affable tech support, it should be seeing the full amount in the BIOS even if Windows couldn't access it all. I would have simply had my company order a replacement board and do the work myself, but HP has this quirk about not letting anyone else work on their (in-warranty) Pavilion units.

vitec
vitec

Umm, well considering I just bought this one, that's out of the question. And I didn't buy it for gaming, that just happens to be what Vista is whining about not being good enough. I understand all about the 32-bit limitations, that was precisely why I installed the 64-bit version of Vista Ultimate. But that doesn't change what's recognized by the BIOS, which of course I fully updated prior to making any other changes to the system. According to the HP idiot I spoke to on the phone, it should be capable of seeing all of the memory.

vitec
vitec

When I recently updated my laptop to a newer unit, one of things I was concerned with was the 3Gb limit imposed by 32-bit OSes, so I went and bought the 64-bit version to make the most of my new 64-bit dual core AMD processor and to be able to access the full 4Gb of RAM. Side note, this is in an HP dv9819wm. I updated the system to the hilt with all of the possible updates, both Windows-based and otherwise. To my dismay it still only read as 3 Gb in Windows, so I decided to check the BIOS and sure enough the machine itself was only seeing 3 out of the 4 Gigs. So I called HP and after going around in the usual hoops with them of being told that this is a Windows problem and not theirs, they agreed to take the machine in and to check it out (because it also has a problem with losing the second hard drive shortly after take-off). I have just sent it in and am eagerly awaiting the decision that they come to, as I told them if they can't fix it, replace it with one that works correctly. We'll see!

Joe_R
Joe_R

I don't have one of those machines in front of me right now, but I seem to remember that the maximum recognized was indeed 3.5GB, even though 4GB was installed. However, after I installed Vista SP1, it recognized the full 4GB. I'll check on Monday, and correct myself if I'm mistaken.

dlindner999
dlindner999

I believe it has to do with 32-bit addressing. The technology itself cannot allocate more than 4GB of ram, and yes, 4GB of ram in windows shows up as about 3.25 - 3.5GB of ram. That really sucks! I found out the hard way, after buying 8GB of ram for my 'puter.

rood_b
rood_b

I have worked in a computer repair shop for a little over 18 months. During that time I have replaced over 100 bad hard drives. About 50% have been Maxtor, 25% Western Digital and the other 25% split between Hitachi, Samsung and Seagate. Even though it is the second highest percentage (I think mostly due to popularity), I prefer WD's.

Raymond Danner
Raymond Danner

Your mention of the video card's cooler spinning loudly during initial boot-up reminded me that my current desktop does the same thing during POST, but is rather a good bit quieter during ordinary operations. Perhaps this is because until POST has gone through, the fan controller isn't fully initialized? Seems to be the likely explanation.

bfpower
bfpower

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but the additional cores essentially create more pipelines, if I understand correctly. So you can run additional intensive processes at the same time without clocking. It's great if you do lot of multitasking. In my opinion, if you are gaming, and you tend to only run a few things at once, I would say that a significantly faster core is more important than additional cores. Only if the dual core is significantly faster (and preferably higher FSB), though. Like you said, bang for the buck. I bet the 3.0 would be a better go for what you pay.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but, of course Microsoft made sure that the application vendors received little support for going that route. Would have been more reliable out of the box and way more secure than 32bit XP; but Nooooo! M$ can't be have'n that! We gotta get that Vista junk off the shelves. :(

JCitizen
JCitizen

Why not Raid 0, then put an image on a data drive. I don't know if this works on Raid 0 for a backup plan, but I don't know anyone that doesn't back up to another drive nowdays. I like backing up the OS to my data drive, because it is so hugh it has plenty of room and I usually put the partition at the end of the drive, as it is used so little of course.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Perhaps I should start a piece on all possible Raid options?

Richard Noel
Richard Noel

What is the process for setting up a RAID 0 + 1 on a desktop PC? Can this be done after the OS is installed?

Joe_R
Joe_R

Two more drives would only add about $160 to the cost of the system. Depending on the use, it might be a great investment. Many thanks for sharing that bit of wisdom.

lukeholder
lukeholder

If youve got the room, cash, and ports this is definately the way forward! it combines speed and reliability and reduces the risk of loss.

vitec
vitec

Apparently, I missed the physical checking of the RAM (rookie error) and it turned out there WAS only 3 Gb installed (which I quickly remedied) and as soon as the 4th got there it magically appeared as it should have. UGH!!! Chalk it up to a bleary-eyed tech overlooking something simple. Still the system doesn't want to give me a good rating on the video RAM. And no, boosting the video RAM to 1 Gb did NOT cause me to only see 3 Gb of RAM. Although, the HP tech support is still affable for the most part, this was truly my error.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I can hardly believe how the x64 market is exploding now, compared to what was happening just 6 months ago! I will probably jump on the Vista x64 bandwagon; because I have to support Vista clients anyway, and I just have to swallow hard and face the facts.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

As bad as I hate to admit it...and I'll probabaly get flamed for this...but my experiences with Vista Enterprise 64 have been far better from the get go than my experiences with Xp 64. Almost every one of my apps had trouble and needed some minor to major to annoying tweaking to get to work in Xp. Switching from work to gaming brought on even more headaches with constant game crashing and tweaking and updating to get stuff half-way working. Vista Enterprise 64 on the other has worked beutifully with everything I've used thus far, even after a hassle/headche free install of sp1. The exception being that Cisco didn't have a version of their VPN client for Vista Enterprise 64bit, or at least the last time I checked they hadn't. No biggie, I have a vm with xp on it that I keep on a thumb drive with all my work apps, vpn clients and various tools I use to get back to work on the road. But I was really shocked to see that a company as professional and large as Cisco had yet to release a working version of their VPN client for Vista x64. Vista may not be everyone's favorite, but the x64 flavors ARE Microsoft's latest and greatest so most large software companies make their products work with it...why didn't Cisco follow suit? Like it or not, Vista isn't going to flop and it's here until Microsoft releases their next product. Stands to reason that if I sell software and hardware, I'd want it to run on any flavor of Vista to maximize my customer base. Vista does have a VPN client built in, but depending on your network and security level...you may be required to use Cisco's vpn client.

vitec
vitec

I've always enjoyed HP machines as well, had my old Compaq laptop for almost 5 years and now I'm sad that I got rid of it so hastily. Oh well, at least I kept the loaded hard drive from that in case I want to replace it with an identical unit. The 2 sticks of 2Gb RAM are identical and are stock in the unit, I never changed them out and the 32-bit version has the same exact response (kept it on a different hard drive). But even an OS has to be backed up by the system board in order to use things. If the system board doesn't see a modem, the OS isn't going to be able to use it no matter what you do until the board recognizes it. Same thing applies here, the BIOS cannot recognize the entire amount of stock memory installed in the unit and thusly the OS can't "see" it all either. The dolt in a cubicle that I spoke with at HP wasn't very bright either, she kept putting me on hold while she "researched the problem" (code for - she went and Googled for ideas). I was on the phone for almost an hour with them and of that I think I actually heard a human voice for about 10 minutes. One of the things that she seemed to think is that it should see all of the RAM that I had installed and that's why I pushed to have it inspected by their techs (as my company can't work on the Pavilion line due to some limitation imposed by HP, so I can't just order up parts for mine). I've heard a lot of good things about XP x64, but have never seen it or tried it, so I am kind of in the dark about it. But one of the things I feared about any 64-bit OS was the ability to run my 32-bit programs, which Vista does seem to do really nicely actually. It sets up a separate Program Files folder (designated as Program Files x86) and plays with them that way.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I thought HP was better'n that! Be sure and make the two memory modules EXACTLY the same, probably better be the [b]same make[/b] also. This is the only way the 64 bit system can take advantage of the dual nature of the bus architecture. This may have been the problem with it when you switched to x64. My RAM is imbalanced, but I only have 2Gb of capablility with my AMD motherboard so I was happy if it used any of it at all with XP x64. I was very impressed with its performance. I think it was a mistake for MS to drop this product. That is, if they did that at the same time as 32bit XP, .

nickholloway
nickholloway

Joe, Vista post SP1 does report the full amount of installed RAM. Alas, as a 32 bit OS it can still only address a max 3.5 GB so Your only getting 3.5 gb minus any memory addressing used for dedicated Graphics Memory etc. The only Bonus to having 4gb is obviously using the Dual Channels that a 2gb +1 Gb would negate.

JCitizen
JCitizen

but then I suppose only gamers and scientist will really care. I do a lot of video authoring so it matters to me. Too bad their isn't an all-in-one maintenance utility for subjects like this and all other housekeeping tools; using the MS GUI of course. Thanks again for your very helpfull insights.

Joe_R
Joe_R

Before Vista SP1 was installed, it recognized something like 3.4 GB of memory. After SP1 - 4.0 GB. However, reporting and using are two different things. Did it report less, but use all before SP1? I have no idea.

JCitizen
JCitizen

It would be interesting to know if Vista does actually make full use of the memory, very curious indeed?!

JCitizen
JCitizen

you will be rocking when you decide to shift to 64 bit computing. I guess that is the optimistic way to look at it. I know that is what I intend to do.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I thought I read on some gaming forum that many of the new games and updates make it possible to split many of the processes between cores using the task manager. Of course one would have to be carefull which processes were divided, as I would think dependencies could cause one to suffer a performance drop if it had to wait to cross the bus during hyperthreading. No war intended; I welcome criticism.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and I'd like to use media center capablity at my home office, so I'll probably do the same and go with some high end hardware and Vista x64.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

Yeah, the app vendors and us) really suffered with that. I couldn't keep my Xp64 machine stable. Work applications or games seemed to crash and take the whole system with them. I really wish Microsoft had gotten onboard with the devs/vendors better with that one as it could have been an excellent product. But alas the lack of proper development and support from Microsoft made it a lame duck. I'm not a Microsoft fanboy or a big Vista supporter, but I will say that my experience with Vista Enterprise 64 on admittedly high end systems has surprised me. I have less trouble on x64 machines than on the x32 machines...which is a nice switch. I still won't be pushing it out on the enterprise level, I'm sticking with Xp on new machines until I no longer have a choice...at least in the workplace. My personal workstation and my home pc's however have Vista x64 and I'm actually pleased with it. I know I could run faster with Linux, but I honestly don't care to do much tweaking at home so I've just ran with Vista. Works for me, but to each his own.

Joe_R
Joe_R

When I buy parts for that many computers, I do ask for (and get) a discount.

JCitizen
JCitizen

do any of the suppliers you worked with give volume discounts on buying multiple drives like that? Just curious; I'm about to make the leap to Vista myself,and I want the x64 retail version, but I'll probably install it in 32bit mode until the apps catch up to the x64 market.

Editor's Picks