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Author Topic: Dual operating systems 32- and 64-bit. Need advice on possible XP memory issues  (Read 9478 times)

cranioscopical

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Here's a long one but I'd really appreciate some help from the hardware experts, please.

Two-part Problem:
  • Principal system significantly screwed up (p/s shot, 2 HDD dead)
  • Lack of time

Three-part Solution:
  • Use backup system
  • Commission local supplier to assemble replacement system
  • Sort out dead system some fine day

New System spec:
  • Storage: 4 x 500GB HDD SATA, 2 x Optical SATA
  • Case: Antec 300 or 900, p/s Antec 850W
  • Video: Dual DVI card (don't do serious video, don't do intensive media)
  • Chip: Intel Quad QX 9450/R 45nm 12mb l2 cache,1333 fsb
  • Mobo: ASUS P5E3 Premium/WiFi-AP @n http://ca.asus.com/p...2069&modelmenu=1

Only the chip and the (mobo are really relevant to my question.)

Other Background:
  • Must use a Windows system -- it will be XP Pro. VISTA is not an option.
  • Have some legacy stuff that might well run afoul of driver problems in a 64-bit Windows
  • Want more that 3.25GB RAM available

So, conflicting objectives.  More RAM = 64-bit O/S = driver conflicts  >:(

Now, brilliantly, it has been suggested to me that a solution is to install a rack hard drive to swap
in and out to boot with different operating systems. Use 32-bit XP O/S when drivers dictate. Use
64-bit XP O/S to get some real work done.

Great!  But here FINALLY, is the nub of my question.
If I populate this mobo with 8GB DDR3 RAM, so that I can romp along in 64-bit XP Pro, will having
that much RAM in some way screw up the operation of 32-bit XP Pro?  Or will most of the RAM
simply be ignored by 32-bit XP -- can't use it, but does no harm?

Does anybody here know for sure, from personal experience?
(Try getting a straight answer from ASUS!)

My current ASUS mobo has 4GB DDR2 RAM, and XP 32-bit sees 3.25GB and just doesn't care about the
rest (nor do I).  ASUS itself recommends <3GB RAM for a 32-bit O/S. 

Thank you for the time you spent reading this!



mouser

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from my experience, more than 4gb is a great waste of money untill you have a serious planned use for this on some giant mathematical computation.

but to answer your question specifically, i dont think windows 32bit will care in the least, it just wont be able to see it.

having said that -- i have noticed that memory incompatibilities can lead to instability, so make sure you get matching sticks, etc.

f0dder

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Installing >= 4GB of RAM has "voodoo consequences" - it'll depend on a mix of chipset, installed peripherals (especially video cards tend to grab a lot of address space), operating system, and the phase of the moon. Should work just fine, but you can find yourself with anything from 2GB to 3.25GB of memory available for the 32bit O/S. Oh yeah, also depends on the "memory remap" feature of your BIOS (if it has it at all).

Driver compatibility problems shouldn't be THAT much of an issue, most stuff is sorted out - except for stuff like old scanners, old printers, and old webcams. YMMV.

Forget about rack harddrive, install a single small-but-fast drive (36gig raptor should be enough, 74gig raptor certainly would) for your "OS drive". Partition for the systems you'll need (32bit XP, 64bit XP, and possibly even 64bit Vista for testing), and use multiboot. Works like a charm if you install in the right order (which, iirc, would be XP32, XP64, Vista64). Use the rest of your drives in a safe RAID mode - remember that RAID5 makes you cry even harder when two drives fail at the same time.

850W PSU sounds overkill, your system will probably be below the 350W mark in total consumption. I've got a Q6600@3.0GHz, 8gig ram, 2x74gig raptors, GF8800GT/512meg (POWERDRAINER!) and a single sata optical, and I draw like 230W fully loaded (iirc, will have to check notes to be sure). Doesn't hurt much with a bigger PSU, but iirc they're most efficient above some low-mark and beneath some high-mark; going below or above in power consumption means wasting energy. I probably waste energy with my 750W (or was it 700W? PSU.

Can't comment on the motherboard right now, it's a bit late and it's friday :) - but P5E3 sounds a bit old-ish for a new system, even if it's (judging from the "3") using DDR3 memory? (which is insanely expensive atm).
- carpe noctem

cranioscopical

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Thanks for those replies, gentlemen.

I'm thinking... ouch, it hurts to do that   :o


[Edit -- I've thunk]
It seems that what it boils down to is that it's anybody's guess what will happen with extra RAM in a board running 32-bit Windows. ASUS says don't do it, but they said that about my last mobo, too.

I'd be interested to know, in light of your comments re power supply, if you consider this case to be adequate.  It comes with a 550W p/s which makes it really quite inexpensive but its prime benefit for me is that it's relatively quiet.  My wife has one of the Sonata line and it's really good at holding down the racket.  (At the moment I'm sitting beside my old, full-tower, all-SCSI system which is a little like sitting in an aircraft hanger while someone winds up a Harrier jump-jet).

Antec Sonata Plus 550 case.
http://www.hardwares...rets.com/article/500

I'm thinking of using a passively-cooled video card.

Locally I see KINGSTON MEMORY DDR3 4096MB (2X2048MB) $220 which doesn't seem bad... am I missing something?

     

« Last Edit: July 25, 2008, 07:59:44 PM by cranioscopical »

f0dder

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PSU quality is a lot more important than quantity - as I stated above, you don't need a huge amount of wattage. But you want the voltages to be relatively stable... but hey, you say Antec, and their PSUs are pretty decent. Only other thing to say about PSUs is that the "modular" versions are nice, so you don't have insane cable clutter :)

Forget about passively-cooled video card, unless you can live with a low-end card. GPUs are really nasty these days, an actively cooled GF8800/GT has operating temperatures in the 70+ Celsius range. I've been contemplating whether I can fry bacon on mine.

Your DDR3 prices seem relatively low - then again, prices have dropped for the "slower" RAM. I could get 2x2gig corsair DDR3-1333 for ~$280. Then again, I could get 2x2gig corsair DDR2-800 for $140. I dunno how much performance you get by going DDR3, considering how efficient the core2 CPU cache is.
- carpe noctem

cranioscopical

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Thank you very much for the responses.  Most helpful.   :Thmbsup:

mouser

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when it comes to power supplies some are really annoyingly loud -- i wouldnt even think of buying a power supply that wasn't proven and written about how quiet it is.

video cards can be same way -- id search for a model which people have commented about how quiet it is.

newegg has great user reviews and comments and is a wonderful way to find out real opinions about hardware like this.

cranioscopical

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when it comes to power supplies some are really annoyingly loud -- i wouldnt even think of buying a power supply that wasn't proven and written about how quiet it is.
Noise is why I like the Antec Sonata cases; they are designed to be quiet and the PSU comes with the one I'm considering.

Quote
video cards can be same way
Don't I know it!  :(   That's why I was at least considering a passively cooled card.  Not much point in being quiet and overheated, though.

Quote
-- id search for a model which people have commented about how quiet it is. newegg has great user reviews and comments and is a wonderful way to find out real opinions about hardware like this.
That's a good idea, I'll poke around some.

Just had my main system resurrected.  Its card is very quiet.  A new case fan and PSU have about trebled the overall noise level, though.

Thanks for the input!


40hz

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A few more good places to get hardware tech info and reviews are:

AnandTech http://www.anandtech.com

They just did a summer buyer's guide for power supplies:
http://www.anandtech.../showdoc.aspx?i=3359

Tom's Hardware http://www.tomshardware.com

PC Perspective http://www.pcper.com/index.php



P.S. That is some bucket of chips you're assembling. What are you going to use it for if you don't mind my asking? I don't know anybody that actually needs 64-bit Windows.

(I also know, from personal experience, that it is possible for us to contact that Xorgoblath mother ship that's beaming to us from deep orbit with nothing more than a 9-volt battery, a kazoo, and two pieces of aluminum foil - so what are you up to?)

"Enquiring minds want to know..."



« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 03:33:03 PM by 40hz »

cranioscopical

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Thanks for the site links 40hz.

Quote
I don't know anybody that actually needs 64-bit Windows.
Perhaps I don't need it but I won't know until I experiment.  I'm locked into Windows for reasons that don't matter here.  I've always found that more RAM speeds up and simplifies a lot of stuff and 64-bit systems seem to be the gateway to more RAM.

Quote
What are you going to use it for if you don't mind my asking?
If I'm working I'll typically have a bunch of hefty files open in CS3, flipping them between Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat, as well as several MS-Office components and WordPerfect (both GUI and [gasp!] DOS versions, and some custom-written stuff that has to run (or think it's running) under DOS. Plus I'll be downloading and looking at some T.V. spots.  And there's a whole bunch of other stuff going on.  I want as much as possible to stop the machine from touching the disks, which is annoying.  Generally speaking I try to keep one HDD for the O/S, another for program files, one for data, and one for downloading.

The system will replicate what I have now except that, since I'm forced to create a replacement, it'll have a somewhat faster CPU and, also, I'm trying to get the damned thing to be as quiet as possible.  My days of being on the bleeding edge are over, I stay behind the curve; that being so, it doesn't take long to lose touch with what's hot.  Up until the machine that I'm about to replace I've had all-SCSI systems which I've found rather more solid when it comes to multi-tasking, and when adding hardware devices.

cranioscopical

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I also know, from personal experience, that it is possible for us to contact that Xorgoblath mother ship
Thanks to you I now know that essentially the same equipment lets me contact what you seem to call Earth (a Midzyinthyan crystal chip, a Golloidinan armpit flute, and three custard creams).  And a lovely sight it is, from up here on the bridge!


f0dder

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Quote
If I'm working I'll typically have a bunch of hefty files open in CS3, flipping them between Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat
Too bad that Adobe claims that 64bit doesn't bring a lot of advantages - which means that their 32bit apps can only access ~2gig (or is it ~3gig? Dunno if they're linked with large-address-space-aware flag). Obviously the real reason is that they have a messy and not-so-64bit-clean codebase, but it's easier singing the consumers a "naw, 64bit is irrelevant" lullaby :)

Quote
as well as several MS-Office components and WordPerfect (both GUI and [gasp!] DOS versions, and some custom-written stuff that has to run (or think it's running) under DOS.
Danger will robison! - 64bit/long mode doesn't support 16bit code. This means that 64bit windows versions can't run DOS and win3.x programs. You'll need dosbox or some other emulator.

Anyway, from your needs - I guess you don't need games? Could be feasible to go for a fanless GPU after all, just make sure you choose something pretty low-end. I definitely miss the quiet from my passively cooled GF7600, this 8800GT is a monster.

And as for reducing disk access, turn off your pagefile. It's feasible on 2gig (on XP anyway), perfectly doable on 4gig, and a no-brainer on 8gig. There will still be periodic disk access though, the registry gets updated enough to warrant this, even on idle.

SCSI, ho humm. Never owned a controller or a disc, and I dunno if it even means anything today. SCSI and SATA seem to be merging, anyway (not just features like command-queing, but literally. But not matter which technology you'll end up using, run at least a MIRROR of anything important :)

Quote
Thanks to you I now know that essentially the same equipment lets me contact what you seem to call Earth (a Midzyinthyan crystal chip, a Golloidinan armpit flute, and three custard creams).  And a lovely sight it is, from up here on the bridge!
Pft, we all know that all it takes is a candelabra and a yellow and a blue crystal.
- carpe noctem
« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 09:28:04 PM by f0dder »

40hz

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Up until the machine that I'm about to replace I've had all-SCSI systems which I've found rather more solid when it comes to multi-tasking, and when adding hardware devices.

IMHO Less of an issue these days with what's going on with SATA, but still better for video work or complex music apps despite some of the counterclaims. Build quality also seems to be better on SCSI than SATA overall.
(How else to justify the price differential right? ;))

I also know, from personal experience, that it is possible for us to contact that Xorgoblath mother ship
Thanks to you I now know that essentially the same equipment lets me contact what you seem to call Earth (a Midzyinthyan crystal chip, a Golloidinan armpit flute, and three custard creams).  And a lovely sight it is, from up here on the bridge!

So that was you I saw up there! Nice tuxedo you were wearing too. ;D

cranioscopical

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Anyway, from your needs - I guess you don't need games? Could be feasible to go for a fanless GPU after all, just make sure you choose something pretty low-end. I definitely miss the quiet from my passively cooled GF7600, this 8800GT is a monster.

I'm a bit concerned about heat in a small (mid-tower) case, and anxious to control noise.  So, one of these cards seems a good compromise.
Neither is remarkably 'hot' in performance terms but each has 'cool' running temperatures and so is relatively quiet, too.
BFG 8800GT OCX or
BFG 9600GT OCX
Some data here

I've been known to play a game or two.  Why, in god mode and with a range of cheat sheets, sometimes I can even reach the second level.  That maze of twisty little passages is tough, though!

f0dder

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FORGET anything about 8800 cards and passive cooling. 9x00 cards are supposedly a lot better while stilling having close-to-8800 performance, but I have no personal experience with those. I'd recommend going a loooot lower-end, probably doing to 8300 or similar. But it's been a while since I looked at that market segment, so I dunno how low you need to go before passive cooling is feasible. 8800 definitely isn't' though. I'm not joking when I say I believe I could fry bacon on it.
- carpe noctem

cranioscopical

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Quote from: f0dder
FORGET anything about 8800 cards and passive cooling. 9x00 cards are supposedly a lot better
That's helpful to know.  Thanks for the response. 

The point about the two cards I quoted is that they are NOT passively cooled -- each has a fan in addition to a fair-sized heat sink.  It looks as though that combination runs the 9600GT OCX at around 60C while under sustained load. 
fan/sink
Cool.jpg


I don't really care about fan noise when the system's under load.  When it's under load I'm working with it anyway, not just in the same room trying to read a book or whatever.  I really don't want to hear a machine when it's either idling or running only moderate background stuff.

Quote from: f0dder
I'm not joking when I say I believe I could fry bacon on it.
With your help I'll try to ensure that my choices become no rasher.

[edit -- can't spell]
« Last Edit: July 29, 2008, 12:11:37 PM by cranioscopical »

Darwin

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Quote from: f0dder
I'm not joking when I say I believe I could fry bacon on it.
With your help I'll try to ensure that my choices become no rasher.

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Lashiec

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Well, it's all in the review you linked before. The ThermoIntelligence coolers got good press in the various reviews I saw them being evaluated, not only for the low temps, but also for low noise, even under load. Hardware Canucks is a fairly trustable site (or used to be the last time I checked it out), so I guess both cards are adequate for your needs, unless you are really picky about noise. If that's the situation, I'll suggest you pay a visit to SPCR to find something you like, and have the absolute confidence that the card you'll choose will be silent (mmm, turns out some assemblers are still selling passively cooled GPUs).

If you're not that picky, it's a matter of choosing between cooler operation and lower performance (9600), or higher temperature, and some more oomph (8800). In any case, both are good choices, unless you are in the bleeding edge of gaming, where the 8800 could be a bit more future proof.

cranioscopical

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Thanks for the input, Lashiec!

And thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread.

It's been extremely helpful to me, especially at a time when I'm meant to be concentrating on other issues than computers.
Excellent advice all round, and all from people whose judgment can be trusted.  For what more could one hope?

As for the card, I think I'm going to walk a safe path and opt for a BFG 9600GT OCX.

After all, a video card is a quick, easy, and relatively cheap item to swap.
In six months to a year who knows what'll be available at bargain prices?

I'll leave 64-bit Windows aside for now. 
Probably the box on which to play with 64-bit is the one that's about to become my principal redundant machine.


cranioscopical

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Picked up the new box today.
Seems fine so far.
Opted for 32-bit XP for now.
Runs very cool and quiet.

Murphy dropped in to ensure that the new machine's arrival coincides with a tidal wave of business and a (so far) 30-hour email outage from ISP.
In spare (hah!) moments I'm ebarking on the somewhat daunting task of setting up the system from scratch.
That's always a dichotomy: tedium/frustration on one side, the good chance to improve on the other.

Thanks to all for your help, it saved me a lot of time!