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Best O/S for gaming?

Last response: in Video Games
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February 28, 2010 9:30:13 PM

I am trying to figure out which operating system to run on my gaming computer. I don't do anything but gaming on this computer, so considerations beyond gaming performance isen't much of a concern.

My options are:

Windows XP 32bit
Windows XP 64bit
Windows 7 32bit
Windows 7 64bit

My System is:

Intel Core2Duo E8400 (3.0ghz)
4gigs of DDR2 ram
Nvidia 260 GTX 216 cores
WesternDigital 7200RPM 250gb HDD (8mb cache) [I think I should upgrade this? Windows performance index tells me its weak]


I have taken a look at some benchmarks online, and it seems like a toss up with XP and 7 performing slightly better in certain games under certain settings/resolutions. So I was wondering, in your experience, which operating system has worked well for smooth performance.

One of my major concerns was which operating syteam features the best driver support? Do drivers for XP still get the same amount of love considering it is two Windows releases behind? Are graphics drivers better on the 32bit version or the 64bit version or par? Does 64bit hinder or help gaming performance? (Especially considering I am not gaining that much more addressable RAM since I only have 4gigs).

Thank you for your assistance :) .

More about : gaming

February 28, 2010 9:37:07 PM

I think Win7 x64 would let you really take advantage of your hardware.
also, to use those 4 gigs of RAM, you would need XP 64 bit, and finding working drivers for 64 bit XP is, i dont want to say impossible, but its hard. alot more work than should be needed. XP doesnt get the same amount of love. and 64bit would greatly help your build. I hope I helped
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February 28, 2010 9:54:40 PM

That is exactly the information I am looking for :) .

I am trying windows XP at the moment and while it is going blazing fast, sometimes it has some odd hick ups.


I took a look at your signature and I see you are using a GTX 260 as well. If you are using Windows7 64bit, what revision of the Nvidia drivers are you using?

I just got my computer back from the shop recently, and had initially installed Windows7 with all the latest drivers. I was getting odd stuttering in all games with the latest nvidia video drivers. I also tried some older revisions which seemed to clear up most of the stutter, however I was still getting a little in World of Warcraft (not sure if that existed previously, I was looking out for the stutters moreso now that I was having issues with one set of drivers).

In the meantime I think I'll put Win7 back on.
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February 28, 2010 10:13:26 PM

i believe its like 192.xx im on my laptop at the moment so i cant check
But you shouldnt be getting much stuttering if you have all of your drivers updated (mobo,gfx,etc)
Are you using Xp 64 right now? or 32?
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February 28, 2010 10:26:37 PM

I had Windows XP 32bit on. In the process of putting Windows 7 64bit back on.

The stuttering I had was with the latest nvidia drivers on Windows 7 64bit. I had tested some with WoW and with Portal. At first I thought WoW was just acting up, but I was surprised to see it occur in Portal! Once I reverted to some older drivers things cleared up in Portal, and got better in WoW. Now WoW only seems to lightly stutter when in Wrath of the Lich King areas. The stuttering isen't the typical load stutter (when objects are loaded and fps drops from HDD access), but small stutters that just add discontinuity to the flow (the fps doesn't seem to drop as far as the fps meter can detect).

I have an ASUS P5Q so I was fetching my motherboard drivers from their webpage. The drivers they had consisted of:
- Intel chipset drivers
- RealTek Audio Drivers
- Atheros Ethernet Drivers
- Marvell SATA Drivers

Maybe I should try hunting down ones from the individual companies instead of using the ASUS ones (perhaps they are outdated).

For the Ethernet/SATA drivers, the internet and harddrive works fine on first boot with whatever Windows defaults to. Is it still better to stick to the Marvell and Atheros drivers?
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February 28, 2010 11:13:33 PM

I think those should be fine, let me know how it runs when you finish installing it this time. lets see if the stuttering returns.
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March 1, 2010 5:32:40 AM

I got Windows 7 64bit back on, drivers installed and some games loaded. I've only had time to try out Portal, but I am not noticing stuttering.

Its odd! I am once again using the latest Nvidia drivers. The only difference in the installations is I am using a more recent intel chipset drivers (one from the intel page instead of the ASUS ones), and am using the audio drivers from the ASUS page (instead of more recent ones from RealTek).

While the driver difference would seem to indicate what the problem was, previously changing Nvidia drivers had seemed to mostly remedy the issue.

I will continue some tests over the next few days as time allows and see if the issues appears in any other game!


Thanks for your help :) . Hopefully I don't come back with more issues haha!
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March 1, 2010 3:29:49 PM

Depends on the games - I like loads of older games that won't work on '7 so my decision is made for me...
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Best solution

March 1, 2010 7:07:57 PM

ddtemplar said:
I got Windows 7 64bit back on, drivers installed and some games loaded. I've only had time to try out Portal, but I am not noticing stuttering.

Its odd! I am once again using the latest Nvidia drivers. The only difference in the installations is I am using a more recent intel chipset drivers (one from the intel page instead of the ASUS ones), and am using the audio drivers from the ASUS page (instead of more recent ones from RealTek).

While the driver difference would seem to indicate what the problem was, previously changing Nvidia drivers had seemed to mostly remedy the issue.

I will continue some tests over the next few days as time allows and see if the issues appears in any other game!


Thanks for your help :) . Hopefully I don't come back with more issues haha!

I'm glad it worked, keep us updated on if you find any problems. I would say that 90% of the time stuttering is caused by drivers.
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March 2, 2010 4:27:07 AM

JDV28 said:
I'm glad it worked, keep us updated on if you find any problems. I would say that 90% of the time stuttering is caused by drivers.


The stutters are there in World of Warcraft still :( . Not always incredibly major ones, but periodic jars in the smoothness. I am getting a constant v-synced frame fate of 60fps (with it shifting maybe .1-1fps either way).

I would call the micro stutters (except the multi-GPU crowd has snagged that term) as they do not seem to be massive drops in fps, but very quick sudden stutter.

Okay as I am typing this something went completely berserk! My game just had graphics disappear for a second, big halt, crazy hard drive reading panic, now odd coloured pixels everywhere on screen. I am waiting for flames and plumes of smoke but none of that yet :p . (I can be optimistic because this is under warranty for another 3 months, and I got no important data here).

Okay pening game again I am welcomed to pulsating pixel snow and crazy boxes. This is funky! I think something may be wrong :) .

Any systematic tests I can do to rule this as computer failure not software issues?

[Edit]:
No longer occurring now that I restarted it. But now I am pretty leery about it! Either there is some issues with a driver (video driver perhaps?) or hardware. My guess for the hardware issue would either a memory corruption error in RAM, Video RAM, or possibly reading something from hard drive?

I gave you best answer because you have been helping so much! Didn't know that would mark the thread solved, oops!

Thanks
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March 2, 2010 4:29:07 AM

Best answer selected by ddtemplar.
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March 2, 2010 7:14:05 PM

OK, Im pretty sure you have updated every last one of your drivers because you said that lol, try running Prime95 (very popular and reliable for finding errors)
And yes, odd unexplainable problems are usually caused by RAM, so burn memtest to a dvd, and boot off of it, let it run for at least a couple hours.
And dont worry, people will still see it as active and help out.
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March 3, 2010 7:44:08 PM

Ran memtest86+ for 3 passes and no errors, so the RAM should be good.

Ran a very stressful GPU rendering benchmark and temperatures for the GPU stabilized at 80C. It typically idles at 45-50C.

One concern I have is that my power supply makes a high pitch ringing sound, typically not that loud. Not too concerning because I think that is typical of a switching power supply. However on larger loads it can go louder or even turn into a buzzing sound. Is this concerning? I think its always done this and I haven't experienced any crashes or lock ups or funny behaviour. Is there a way to test power supply?

I did check out my voltages in bios:
CPU 1.216V
3.3 3.328V
5 5.016V
12 12.376V

The 3.3V and 5V seem perfectly fine. Is the 12V high? Is that concern? And I have no clue what the CPU voltage should be at.

To rule out the hard drive I think I am going to order a new one. The one I have is 4 years old: 250gb 7200RPM 8mb cache. New drives are still 7200RPM but have 16-32mb of cache now, and the higher density of the platters should result in faster data transfer rates. I have also heard that having even 1 slow / aging drive in a computer can significantly reduce performance.

Thanks for your continued help :) 
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March 3, 2010 7:48:15 PM

Dont worry about that cpu voltage, its normal. and post in the PSU section for that power supply problem
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March 4, 2010 1:54:49 AM

JDV28 said:
Dont worry about that cpu voltage, its normal. and post in the PSU section for that power supply problem



Okay so I think I have narrowed down any issues to either be the power supply (it makes those noises, though it never caused issues before) or the slowness of my hard drive (old!).

I did a driver sweep of nvidia, and installed the previous ones I have had that worked. I notice in World of Warcraft I still get the stutters. They are very subtle, but its like every few seconds the screen shakes. I see no major FPS fluctuations when they occur. With v-sync on its a steady 59.8-60.1 fps. With video sync off its 140-150fps.

I am going to try getting a new hard drive. Other then that I am at a loss. Unless it is the game? Portal seems to run without stutters now.

[Edit]

Also during World of Warcraft my hard drive lights flickers on constantly. Turning all the settings down to bare minimum makes no difference with the stutter.
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a b 4 Gaming
March 4, 2010 6:29:09 PM

I'll toss in my vote for Windows 3.11.

:) 
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March 4, 2010 7:29:36 PM

Might be the hard drive, tell us if it works.
@jaguarskx, +1
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March 4, 2010 7:32:50 PM

Does the following hard drive look decent:

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

There are some negative comments, but all the drives on the site do! I think people only leave comments when it does not work.

I am also going to see if the place where I bought my components will let me return the odd power supply.
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March 4, 2010 7:35:37 PM

Personally, i will never buy a seagate barracuda again. Just because of the huge bug they had before and they refused to do anything about it. So, i would go with hitachi, they are cheap, but great quality, i have a friend running a server with about 25 hitachis and none dead yet.
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March 4, 2010 7:50:40 PM

JDV28 said:
Personally, i will never buy a seagate barracuda again. Just because of the huge bug they had before and they refused to do anything about it. So, i would go with hitachi, they are cheap, but great quality, i have a friend running a server with about 25 hitachis and none dead yet.



Very good to know! I think possibly this one then:

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

The drive benchmarks on this site give it a good read/write throughput.
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March 4, 2010 9:02:35 PM

Thats a great HD, but do you need a tb? i dont know anyone who actually uses 1/2 of those things for an OS, games, apps, media etc.
But extra space is a great thing to have.
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March 4, 2010 9:14:21 PM

I have a 1tb external that is nearly full >> haha.

Also I imagine the higher spaced disks use higher density platters to fit all that data in the same physical space. I hear that higher density disks read faster as the head does not have to move as far for the same amount of data.
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March 4, 2010 10:34:27 PM

Huh, just learned something new! thanks. and yea then go for the tb!
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March 6, 2010 2:05:14 AM

As far as operating systems go, I am a die hard xp pro fan but support for the latest version of DirectX is imperitive. Windows 7 pro 64-bit or Ultimate 64-bit I believe would be the ideal choice at this point. Windows 7 will have driver issues for a while yet but it supports DX11 & the bugs will be worked out soon enough.

Good Luck!
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