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XP or Vista for Gaming?

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November 16, 2008 5:30:35 PM

I just got a 500GB hard drive from ebay for a good price. I'm intending to install Vista Home Premium Ultimate SP1 on it and dual boot XP and Vista. I originally intended to use Vista for gaming since it will be a clean install and I won't have all kinds of extra junk running in the background. I just wanted to know if you guys think that would be the best way to go. Or should I use XP as the gaming system? I would think Vista would be better because of Directx10. I know that won't affect all games, but some of the newer ones and games yet to be released should benefit from it. I've read a lot of things about Vista not being as good as XP in gaming for various reasons, but I think most of those articles and forum posts were pre-SP1. I'm also going to be upgrading to 4gb of dual channel memory very soon and Vista will actually be able to utilize all 4 gigs. Here are my system specs as of right now:

ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe
AMD Athlon X2 6400+
2GB (1 x 2GB) G. Skill DDR2 800
Sapphire Radeon HD3850
500GB Seagate Barracuda SATA
Raidmax Smilodon case w/500W PSU

Will be adding:

additional 2GB (1 x 2GB) G. Skill DDR2 800
additional 500GB Seagate Barracuda SATA HDD

More about : vista gaming

November 16, 2008 5:45:48 PM

Since you plan on adding the extra 2gb soon I would use Vista. With 4gb of memory Vista will run just fine, and maybe rather than another 500gb drive put that towards a 4850? You can avoid dual booting all together with 4gb of ram, that was my original plan but I haven't had any problems with Vista so never did go down the dual boot path.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
November 16, 2008 6:00:38 PM

Vista will run some games a little slower than XP. The difference should be small with 4GB of RAM though. One game I really appreciate more in Vista than XP is GRID, but for the most part games are fine in XP. Keep in mind that many games take a bit hit running in DX10 mode, and having a 3850 myself I don't play too many games in DX10, but then I'm also limited by having only 2GB of RAM right now ^_^.

If you're going to dual boot install XP first, since the older programs that you would be running in XP may try and install on the C: drive. If you install Vista first, that's going to be your vista partition and it can cause all sorts of annoying problems. The main reason I dual boot is because of some of the older software I have that doesn't play well with Vista, and the slightly faster performance of XP in games with my 2GB of RAM, but otherwise you shouldn't have a problem with Vista.

Interesting that you have a Radeon 3850 with an SLi board. I guess you don't intend to run Crossfire though. I was planning on getting another 3850 myself, but since funds are low and my single 3850 is holding out fine I'm waiting till the next hardware gen to upgrade rather than spending money to get slightly better than a single 4850 performance.
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November 16, 2008 6:18:30 PM

Make sure you got Vista 64bit if you want to use 4g.
November 16, 2008 6:35:07 PM

jevon said:
Since you plan on adding the extra 2gb soon I would use Vista. With 4gb of memory Vista will run just fine, and maybe rather than another 500gb drive put that towards a 4850? You can avoid dual booting all together with 4gb of ram, that was my original plan but I haven't had any problems with Vista so never did go down the dual boot path.


Well, I would get a 4850, but I just got the 3850 a couple weeks ago. It was an upgrade from an 8600GT. Couldn't pass it up for $70.00 and free shipping! Plus, the hard drive was only $35.00 and that wouldn't put much of a dent in the price of a 4850.

As far as the dual booting, it's pretty much a necessary thing. My girlfriend and I share this computer, and she is very anti-Vista still. I already have Vista on my secondary computer, so I've had some time to become a bit more familiar with it. I also want to dual boot because this isn't strictly a gaming pc. Between me and my gf, we have a lot of stuff on this thing (a lot of it is junk). I would like to have a second drive for gaming only - no extra programs.

November 16, 2008 6:38:21 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
Make sure you got Vista 64bit if you want to use 4g.


Oh man, I forgot all about that! It is the 32bit. So I guess the 4GB is kind of a moot point now. Thanks for the reminder, can't believe I overlooked that!

November 16, 2008 6:49:31 PM

megamanx00 said:
Vista will run some games a little slower than XP. The difference should be small with 4GB of RAM though. One game I really appreciate more in Vista than XP is GRID, but for the most part games are fine in XP. Keep in mind that many games take a bit hit running in DX10 mode, and having a 3850 myself I don't play too many games in DX10, but then I'm also limited by having only 2GB of RAM right now ^_^.

If you're going to dual boot install XP first, since the older programs that you would be running in XP may try and install on the C: drive. If you install Vista first, that's going to be your vista partition and it can cause all sorts of annoying problems. The main reason I dual boot is because of some of the older software I have that doesn't play well with Vista, and the slightly faster performance of XP in games with my 2GB of RAM, but otherwise you shouldn't have a problem with Vista.

Interesting that you have a Radeon 3850 with an SLi board. I guess you don't intend to run Crossfire though. I was planning on getting another 3850 myself, but since funds are low and my single 3850 is holding out fine I'm waiting till the next hardware gen to upgrade rather than spending money to get slightly better than a single 4850 performance.


Well, I already have XP installed on C: drive.

I guess the 4GB won't actually be totally utilized since I will be installing 32bit Vista. I may still put the extra 2GB in as 3.5GB, or whatever it ends up being, still trumps 2GB.

Yeah, when I built the system (my first build), I chose the SLI board because I originally had an 8600GT installed and I figured I would just wait til the price of those came down and then I would buy another one. Then newegg had a really good deal on the 3850 not long ago, which beats 2 SLI'd 8600GT's, so I got that instead. Looking back, I should have just bought an 8800GT to begin with, but I'm quite happy with my 3850 for now. I'm finding that it is very hard to know when is the right time to upgrade your graphics!
November 17, 2008 8:34:17 AM

I would put your games on Vista, but of course, make sure it's 64 bit. When you see Crysis in DX10, you'll never want to go back.
November 17, 2008 8:55:52 AM

Any compatibility issues with Vista and games seem to be a thing of the past. Only with Vista, it takes up alot of RAM just to idle so you are gonna need 4gb of RAM, which means more money and yes, make sure it is Vista 64-bit. Whereas with XP you could probably get away with 2gb of RAM.

coolgamer512 your right, even tho crysis will run i dx9, once you play it in dx10 there is no going back :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 17, 2008 8:59:24 PM

Go with Vista. I'm actually running Vista Business 32 bit on 2 gb of ram, and it does fine for most stuff. Even some gaming.
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