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Vista or XP Pro for new system build????

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January 12, 2009 1:14:24 AM

Hi,

I just built a new E8500 system and am trying to figure out what my best option is for OS.
My old drive was running XP pro. Since I have to completely install fresh now that I got all new hardware and will
need to load all new drivers I would like to know what my best option is. My system will be used for gaming and other general stuff like surfing net and watching HD movies and stuff.

* Should I install xp pro?
* Would I benefit more by installing Vista 32?

I have (2) fresh WD 640GB hard drives..
Another question is how you would recommend partitioning them?
I was thinking of doing this...
* WD 640 Drive1
- Drive C 30 Gig for OS
- Drive D 300 applications
- Drive E 300 video/pictures

* WD 640 Drive 2
- F: 300 gig - Games1
- G 300 gig - Movies

Am I on the right track here?
Really could use some guidance as I can't wait to get my system going.
It's built and ready to go, but with no software :( 

More about : vista pro system build

January 12, 2009 1:33:37 AM

if i were you i would download windows 7 beta and use it until windows 7 beta 2 comes or you can buy the full release version.

since XP is nice but old, vista just isn't great and you can then get the newest OS without wasting money on either.

and otherwise i would get vista ultimate.
January 12, 2009 1:38:12 AM

If you already have an XP license, I'd recommend to save your money and just use that. You can always upgrade when Windows 7 comes out later this year.
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January 12, 2009 1:39:17 AM

as for the HD's i always use'd one full HD for the os, applications and games and another for everyting else
January 12, 2009 1:44:29 AM

In your case I would...Put xp on the system, unless you have a vista license...then go win7 when it comes out. you could always put the beta on if you'd like but relying on a beta as your os isnt such a great idea...Then for the Hdd's, put OS and applications on one drive with videos/movies and photos on another...you dont really want 5 logical drives do you?
January 12, 2009 2:01:18 AM

If you feeling rather heroic I would get the windows 7 beta and beta key. It's good till august 1 and I haven't had a problem with any of my vista compatible stuff yet. Try and stay with the beta until windows 7 is released then pick that up.

If you had to buy now get vista x64.
January 12, 2009 2:50:19 AM

Xp is da best
January 12, 2009 2:59:53 AM

Thanks guys, I think I will just stick with Windows XP and upgrade to Windows 7 when it is officially released.

Will I notice a huge difference in game play having to use Direct X 9 instead of Direct X 10?
January 12, 2009 3:02:54 AM

just stay with XP and then upgrade to windows 7
January 12, 2009 3:07:31 AM

One other thing.. I am running the ATI 4870 card with the E8500 CPU.
Some say with that card I should use vista with direct x10 cause it is a huge difference.. .. hmmmmm
January 12, 2009 3:21:39 AM

DX10 is nice in some games, but most just run slower. Far Cry 2 sometimes runs faster though. What were you intending on playing?
January 12, 2009 4:16:43 AM

Partitioning- I think this depends on what apps/data you use and how you want to do backups. A couple of years ago I put dual 250Gb drives in my desktop. I partitioned somewhat similarly to what you said- C=20Gb, D=200Gb, E=30Gb. I did the same thing on the second drive- F, G, H. Now I can Ghost C to F occasionally, and if something corrupts C, I can ghost the image back to it from F. Similarly I can occasionally Xcopy D to G. That leaves E and H, that I use for temporary stuff. For instance I can copy a whole folder of photos to E, edit or resize them, delete some, burn to a CD, whatever, and not run a risk of inadvertently harming the files that I want to keep.

If you were going to do something like this, I would suggest slightly larger than 30 for the OS, install your apps in this partition then they get backed up along with the OS. The rest of the drive, just make one big partition for all of your data.
January 12, 2009 4:52:28 AM

Why can't things be more white or black? :) 
Makes decisions so hard.

Randomizer: I don't have any specific games in mind. I'm not a gaming fanatic, just wanted to build a machine so it was more current and could run the latest stuff. I primarily like 1st person shooter games so I will be playing COD4, COD5 and crysis.

Cadder: Yes, you were thinking on the same lines as I was. If you have partitions, not only does the data get accessed quicker, but if you corrupt a partition, you can independently rebuild it without disrupting the others.
To make it easy, I think I will just make 2 partitions on each drive with a total of 4 divided equally at say 325 each. That will make it simple.
The next question still undecided is whether to stay with XP pro, or go with vista 32. Now with Randomizers feedback, it makes it really hard to decide.
It sounds like Direct X10 may not be what it is cut out to be, or is it worth it to upgrade to Vista 32 for that and the additional memory management advantages (Going beyond the 3.25gb) barrier
January 12, 2009 5:31:35 AM

DX10.1-compatible games do show some significant improvements with ATI hardware over DX10.0. STALKER Clear Sky is one example. But DX10.0 for most current games is more of an afterthought or marketing tactic than anything else. However, you can always play in DX9 mode, which I have found to be on par with, or faster than, XP.
January 12, 2009 11:59:47 AM

There is no real reason to upgrade to Vista yet. DX10 is nice, but if you are not a heavy gamer that must have everthing running on the highest settings, then DX9 will suffice just fine for your needs.
I went from XP to Vista 32 to Vista 64. I like Vista, but right now it is not worth spending the money on in my opinion. There are a lot of neat things about Vista, but Microsoft executed it rather poorly and if I had it to do all over again, I would have upgraded to XP Pro 64 bit. Honestly. That is what I would have done.
Save your money, run XP until 7 is released. But, if you get itchy and decide to upgrade just for the heck of it, don't even think about Vista 32.
If you MUST go ahead and upgrade to get that last bit of eye candy, buy Vista 64, and then load up with a least 4 gig of memory.
January 12, 2009 2:17:12 PM

You have received some excellent advice.
I would concur with the majority. If you have XP and would have to Buy Vista, I would save the money and wait for Windows 7 ( see recommendation on Partitioning.

Drive 1.
C: Active partition 30 to 50 Gigs for XP Operating system and programs
D: Partition Remaining space for your files You may set up with 2 logical drives (D: and E:)  your call.
Load XP before proceding.

Drive 2.
Disconnect 1st drive. (Note Add a drive letter if you use E: on 1st drive)
E: Active 30 -> 50 gig Partition for Windows 7 Beta and programs. This way you can play around with Win 7 until they work out the majority of problems, From what I've seen it's not bad.
F: about 10 gig partition for XP swap file. 2 advantages; 1) Can simultaneously access XP and the swap file and 2) your swap file is not sandwiched in between files on drive C: (reduces fragmentation).

G: Remaining space for your files/data. Note: F: partition can be remaining Disk space with 10 Gig Logical Drive ie F: For XP swap file and G: Remaining space as Logical drive for your Files/data.

After loading Win 7 Beta you can Plug your 1st drive Back in. You can now select boot drive at start-up (F12 on Gigabyte MB) and not have a Boot manager. NOTE - With this set up, if you boot to 1st Drive XP will be C: drive and if you boot Win 7 then Win 7 Will be drive C - XP will be shifted to drive D:
January 12, 2009 4:17:34 PM

Might as well add my 2 cents worth. if you have a copy of XP Pro and don't have the spare money for Vista, then use use the XP, just as others have said. If you have the money, get a copy of Vista64 Ultimate with SP1. Your listed hardware can make full use of Vista64, so why cripple it with a 32 bit OS? I hated Vista when it first came out, but bought Vista 64 Ultimate SP1 when it came out and now I like it better than either XP Pro or XP64 Pro. As Randomizer said, its a bit slower in games, but it has other things which I find very useful, much better than XP. Oh yes, with an e8500 and a 4870 card, you should be able to turn enough FPS that you won't notice it being slower. And not having to deal with the XP32 ram limitation is also nice.

Games for DX10 so far are little more than DX9 games with a couple extras, but at some point the gaming industry will start making true DX10 games. If you choose XP, you will then be wishing you hadn't. Since the 4870 is a DX10.1 card already, you're set for when those games come out. As for Win 7, that's several months to a year away, perhaps even more. I think its ok to play with, but until it comes out officially, there will be bugs to deal with, and I personally like as few bugs as possible. But that's just my opinion.

Like I said, my 2 cents worth.
January 12, 2009 5:50:58 PM

I love Vista 64, but since its a new system and with windows 7 comming out i suggest you stay with xp since you already own it. Or download the windows 7 beta and try that out if you have 2 drives why not do both!
Try windows 7 and if it sucks you just format that drive.
January 12, 2009 6:32:56 PM

Thanks everyone for your advice.

RetiredChief: I like your recommendation for partitioning. I think I will go with that, but perhaps increase the C logical drive to 100Gig. I'm like peaking about 50 gig on my C partition now. This way I have some room for growth and can add more programs and combine them on the same partition as the OS. Or do you think I should just stay with say 30 and use exclusively for the OS and use D and E as you described for installing applications and such?

I created a dual boot way back when, but has been so long I forgot how to do it.
If I understand you correctly, you don't have to go through this process with the Gigabyte board as you can manage the boot process directly through F12. So when I format and partition the drives individually I would want to make both drives as active bootable partitions correct? That sounds like it may be my best bet. This way I can get a copy of Vista 64 and drop it on my second drive. Then use the second drive for all my games. If I boot from the Vista64 drive than I have DirectX10 and can play my games there. If I decide I want to use Direct X9, I can just boot to the XP pro drive and run them there.

Now if I don't use the F12 switch, does it boot to the first drive by default?

Thanks for your help.
January 12, 2009 8:37:25 PM

ironwarrior said:
or is it worth it to upgrade to Vista 32 for that and the additional memory management advantages (Going beyond the 3.25gb) barrier

I haven't seen anyone address this directly. 32-bit Vista has the exact same memory limitations as XP. The only way to use 4GB+ of RAM is with a 64-bit OS.
January 12, 2009 8:50:56 PM

^ Good catch.
Vista 32 will "display" all the memory in your system, but as posted above, only a 64 bit OS can actually use over about 3.2 gig depending on what else you have in your system. What Vista 32 shows you is a "display" number that only shows you the the total amount of memory you have, not what it can actually can, or is using.
Microsoft changed Vista 32 to display the total amount of memory in your system, instead of the amount it can use, because as memory got cheap, and everyone started putting in 4 gig, they immediatley starting hammering Microsoft about a "problem" with Vista not using all of the memory in their system. Of course most people didn't at the time (and still do not) understand the 32 bit OS limitation.
January 12, 2009 9:31:28 PM

Go dual boot then. Xp 1st and then Vista. Let Vista making the dual boot. It works perfectly.

Enjoy.
January 12, 2009 9:53:36 PM

Please nobody mention PAE, I've just done it and that's all that needs to be said about it. Nothing.
January 12, 2009 10:18:27 PM

ironwarrior said:


* Install XP Pro SP3


* WD 640 Drive1
- Drive C 30 Gig for OS
- Drive D 300 applications
- Drive E 300 video/pictures

* WD 640 Drive 2
- F: 300 gig - Games1
- G 300 gig - Movies



That's what I would recommend. You gain everything by using that set-up: compatibility, speed, stability, flexibility, freedom from even more DRM and cost. You lose nothing except one small thing: DX10, and no sense losing everything else for DX10's utterly inconsequential and trivial visual differences.
January 13, 2009 3:30:46 AM

ironwarrior.
You set the default boot drive in bios. If you hit the F12 during Post, after the post it will prompt you for drive to boot from. ie optical, floppy, HDD. If you select HDD it will then prompt which one. If you reboot, it will revert back to default drive unless you again hit F12.

I mentioned gigabyte uses F12 - But I'm sure the other major players (Asus) also do this. There have been some cases (rare) where a failure of one HD has created a problem booting to the 2nd HD when software Boot manager is used.

As too size of C: I have no problem with 100 Gig, This is a indivdual choice and is based on your needs. I prefer to keep operating system and Programs together on same partition and MY data/files an a seperate partition.

You only need to back-up C: drive when you added a program and more frequent back-ups for your files/data. My self I don't normally b/U C drive as I have the OP Disk and all program disk - I've been very lucky as I've only had to re-install OP once in 6 years due to a drive failure. MY Data/files are another story - These I B/U regularly.
!