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Your Advice Please - Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad?

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September 9, 2009 2:09:54 AM

I have built my own computer with an ASUS P5K Deluxe WIFI motherboard, E6750 CPU w/1333 FSB, Intel P35 chip and 4 GB DDR2 memory running on Vista Ultimate 32bit. I want to upgrade my CPU with a quad core CPU, and possibly doing a complete reinstall so I can install my 64 bit Vista Ultimate. If I would install the 64 bit system, I would also install 8 GB DDR2 memory. My purpose for this is to speed up my computer. I do a lot of digital imaging work, movie making, etc, as a hobby. My questions are 1. If I decide not to change my OS and just upgrade from a Core 2 duo to a Core 2 quad, do I have to reinstall my OS, or just reboot? 2. Would you recommend upgrading from a 32 bit to a 64 bit Vista system? I would rather wait a year for Windows 7. Thanks, Bill
September 9, 2009 2:13:31 AM

If your software is multi-threaded and can take advantage of four cores, by all means, go for it. But you'll need to do some research into your specific software.

Also take a look at your RAM usage. Just throwing RAM at something isn't going to make it faster if the program is using let's say, 2GB of RAM. But if you're using up your RAM and starting to use virtual memory\page file, then hell yes, more RAM will help and you'll of course have to go 64-bit to go beyond your 4GB of RAM. Hell, even going 64-Bit with your current setup will open up some unused RAM because of 32-bit limitations.

I hope that helps.
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September 9, 2009 2:18:46 AM

TC - Your advice is most welcome. Thank you.
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September 9, 2009 4:04:22 AM

If you're doing alot of multimedia work, then definitely get the quad core. As for the OS if you want to be able to use more memory (8 gigs) then you have to go 64-bit. Also keep in mind that 32-bit applications often require twice as much memory to store values they allocate. The reason is they are storing a 32-bit word in a 64-bit space, so for each word they use they take up an extra 32-bits of empty space.
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September 9, 2009 2:25:18 PM

Doing multimedia work isn't a prerequisit for well threaded software. Make sure you check specific titles as TC said.

In my experience though, going dual to quad was a massive performance boost. Possibly more noticable than when I went from HD3850 to HD4870.
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September 10, 2009 4:45:31 AM

Thank you everyone. If I upgrade my CPU from a core 2 duo to a quad core, can I just simply restart my computer, or do I need to reinstall my OS?
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September 10, 2009 5:45:00 AM

Your computer should work fine with just a restart - of course, I imagine you'd need to turn the computer off to replace the CPU, so a restart is kind of a given. I just pulled my hard drive out of a Core 2 Quad box and plonked it into a completely different Core 2 Duo box without any issues. I had to reactivate XP, Office and bizarrely GTAIV because of the hardware change, and I had to install a bunch of new drivers, but that's all it took. The BIOS should take care of the CPU change all by itself.

One thing, though: not all socket 775 motherboards support all socket 775 CPUs (all the Core 2 CPUs are socket 775). The ASUS P5K is fine with Quads, but the P5N, for example, is not. Something to remember for anyone who's looking at upgrading CPUs.

P5K specs: http://usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=0e9NyGEDLjtBRtyB

P5N specs: http://usa.asus.com/Product.aspx?P_ID=JCYhbJmty7zBzLL2&...
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September 10, 2009 1:35:05 PM

Thank you excrubulent. It may have been a dumb question, but since I have never done this before, it is better to ask now before I buy a quad core.
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September 10, 2009 2:18:57 PM

MrBeanUSA said:
My questions are 1. If I decide not to change my OS and just upgrade from a Core 2 duo to a Core 2 quad, do I have to reinstall my OS, or just reboot? 2. Would you recommend upgrading from a 32 bit to a 64 bit Vista system? I would rather wait a year for Windows 7. Thanks, Bill


#1 You won't have to reinstall your OP/SYS, however your M/B may require a BIOS flash for the Quad Core, check your M/B website for BIOS flashes released for your M/B and see if you need to flash the M/Bs BIOS for the new CPU.

#2 Definitely go to Vista64, however there is no upgrade path from Vista32 to Vista64, you will have to do a from scratch installation of Vista64, meaning if you want to put it where the Vista32 is, you'll have to format and wipe out the Vista32 installation and then install Vista64 from scratch.
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