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Last post Author Topic: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7  (Read 13221 times)

f0dder

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2010, 03:07:33 AM »
Now there might be advantages to having a better interface or improving the software to be able to deal with larger sector sizes, but I don't think that how much space is taken up by ECC and sector identification are part of them.
Cramming more data on a platter = good. Might possibly result in better speeds sometime as well, less synchronization overhead?
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mwb1100

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2010, 02:18:12 PM »
Now there might be advantages to having a better interface or improving the software to be able to deal with larger sector sizes, but I don't think that how much space is taken up by ECC and sector identification are part of them.
Cramming more data on a platter = good. Might possibly result in better speeds sometime as well, less synchronization overhead?
My point was that going to a larger sector size layout on the physical platter gets you that stuff but doesn't need to change the interface that the OS sees - the HDD firmware would take care of the translation of 512-byte sector request to however things we physically laid out on the platters (and I assumed that this was already happening for a long time).

Of course there might be other benefits to increasing the sector size at the OS interface level - such as needing fewer requests to be made or increasing largest partition size without significantly changing the layout of a partition table.  But cramming more data and/or decreasing the time to find a sector probably aren't a major benefits, since I don't think the sector size at the OS interface is really dictating what's happening on the platters .

IainB

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2010, 02:03:52 AM »
This discussion is beginning to remind me of the discussions around the pros and cons of the 8250/16450 UARTs (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) which were being developed in the '80s for analogue modems. A key constraint there seemed to be the buffer throughput speeds of modems using single, and, later, double-buffering technology.

f0dder

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2010, 03:48:59 AM »
My point was that going to a larger sector size layout on the physical platter gets you that stuff but doesn't need to change the interface that the OS sees - the HDD firmware would take care of the translation of 512-byte sector request to however things we physically laid out on the platters (and I assumed that this was already happening for a long time).
It's the way WD is handling things with the just-introduced 4096-bytes-per-sector drive. And it's not a smart solution, imho, because of the performance problems with unaligned writes. Really, there's enough old harddrives around that legacy systems can use, 4k-sector drives should have just been introduced without legacy support.
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J-Mac

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2010, 10:48:12 PM »
IainB: hold back your conspiracy theory horses, there!

There's pretty sound technical reasons for going to 4096-byte sectors, but that's covered elsewhere. Western-Digital has actually gone to lengths to make legacy OSes support these drives at all - exposing 512-byte sectors and doing internal handling (which is a fault imho, they should've exposed 4k sectors and dropped legacy support), and even adding a "offset-by-1" jumper so people who can't figure out how to manually create partitions (which solves the performance problem 100%) don't get the performance problems.

As for the 4GB limit in 32bit XP, keep in mind that 4GB is the logical memory limit for a 32bit OS. Yes, since the PPro we've been able to address more than 4GB in 32bit mode, but it's done through "memory windows" - which is mostly useful for running a crapload of apps at once, or pretty specialized big applications. Basically server stuff... so while the limit might suck, it's fair enough they don't want a client OS potentially eating server OS marketshare.

What really sucks about the 4GB limit is that it's on physical memory addresses rather than "available memory", which has given all those "I have 4GB but can only use 3.25GB" problems... and that's something you can thank fscktarded 3rd-party driver developers for. XP RTM supported 4GB-total, but because of people thinking "oh, we're on 32bit, we only have to handle PHYSICALADDRESS.LOWPART", users experienced BSODs. And following tradition, Microsoft bent over for sucky 3rd-party developers instead of saying "go fix your crap if you want it to run on Windows".

@f0dder: I installed Windows 7 32-bit and thought that my 4 GB of RAM would finally be recognized, or at least more of it would be than was on XP Pro. Nay - Win7 shows the same lousy 2.75 GB RAM available also. (See attached image)

[attachthumb=#1][/attachthumb]

I have read about my Nvidia graphics card, though having a 512 MB memory cache of its own, reserves some of my 4 GB but still I though it was less than the 1.25 GB that is not available to me. Can you - or anyone here - explain to me how and why only 2.75 GB of my 4 GB of RAM is available? Not in baby talk but at least in something that might be comprehended by a non-coder?

Thanks!

Jim

Carol Haynes

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2010, 06:21:15 AM »
I have read about my Nvidia graphics card, though having a 512 MB memory cache of its own, reserves some of my 4 GB but still I though it was less than the 1.25 GB that is not available to me. Can you - or anyone here - explain to me how and why only 2.75 GB of my 4 GB of RAM is available? Not in baby talk but at least in something that might be comprehended by a non-coder?

The 1.25 Gb of RAM is being use by memory mapped devices. Even though your graphics card has 0.5Gb of its own RAM that is used purely for speed - the memory is still mapped to within the 4Gb main memory (and the corresponding 0.5Gb of main memory is mapped out). Without knowing what other devices your system has installed i don't know where the other 0.75Gb is going but I suspect it will be memory mapped out in a similar way to your graphics card.

Out of curiosity why don't you just use the 64-bit version of Windows 7 and get all 4 Gb (or even install more memory if your system will support it). I have supplied a lot of computers to people over the last 6 months and most manufacturers now seem to be using 64-bit Windows as the preinstalled version. I have yet to come across anyone having real problems with the transition.

Darwin

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2010, 07:09:47 AM »
 :-* I love my 64-bit OS  :)
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

f0dder

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2010, 08:39:05 AM »
J-Mac: as carol has mentioned, various devices (not just your graphics card) are "memory-mapped" - this means that in order to program the device, you write to special memory regions. When accessing those memory regions, instead of going to/from main memory, it's redirected to the hardware device. Iirc, PCI devices can only be memory mapped in the low 4GB physical address space (but don't hold me up on this). Most modern BIOSes support a memory remap option that will relocate parts of your system memory above the 4GB physical address, so you can have your memory mapped devices, all your RAM, and eat it too. This is possible in 32bit mode ever since the Pentium Pro, which introduced PAE.

Thing is, 32bit client versions of Windows are limited to 4GB of memory for license reasons. Windows XP RTM supported 4GB of physical memory (you could get your full 4GB of memory using remapping). SP1 changed this to only supporting the low 4GB of the physical address space - there were apparently too many buggy 3rd-party drivers that crashed when handed memory addresses above 4GB. Why?

When doing NT kernel mode programming, one of the data structures you deal with is PHYSICAL_ADDRESS, which is typedeffed as a LARGE_INTEGER.
typedef struct _LARGE_INTEGER {
typedef union _LARGE_INTEGER {
    struct {
        ULONG LowPart;
        LONG HighPart;
    };
    struct {
        ULONG LowPart;
        LONG HighPart;
    } u;
    LONGLONG QuadPart;
} LARGE_INTEGER;

The problem is that a bunch of MORONIC, RETARDED, SHOULD-BE-SHOT-ON-SIGHT developers have adopted the idea that "hey, we're on a 32bit OS, we only need to deal with the 32-bit LowPart of that structure". *b00m*, BSODs galore.
- carpe noctem

J-Mac

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2010, 12:34:38 PM »
Thanks all.

@Carol:  First, this isn't new computer; it's a Falcon NW Mach V built in May 2006 that came with XP Pro pre-installed. I performed a clean install of Win7 in December last year but with this mobo - I believe you have a similar one - an Asus A8N32-SLI-Deluxe and an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ @2200 MHz dual processor, I think I am stuck with the 32-bit architecture for now. Not quite ready to rebuild the entire box. Close, but not quite! Plus I keep reading how there isn't a whole lot of software optimized for 64-bit; that some of mine would probably work via developer workarounds and others might not work at all on 64-bit. I'm not certain but I can't afford to re-provision the box with new software all over again to accommodate 64-bit and I probably wouldn’t know until after I have a new system.

@f0dder: I realize most of that now. I searched again and found a few more articles to read after I posted that, including one here at DC where you and another member had a lively discussion about the licensing restriction by Microsoft. Interesting read! So I guess that this is just how it is, which is what I pretty much knew but I never knew exactly why. I see that the PAE settings could possibly be changed in the registry but it appears that doing that could very likely just bork something else in the system up, so naturally I'll leave everything as is. But I did want a better understanding of why I needed to.

Thanks!!

Jim

JavaJones

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2010, 12:51:04 PM »
Why are you stuck with 32 bit? Athlon 64 X2...
http://www.amd.com/u...ctural-features.aspx

As for app compatibility, I have yet to see a 32 bit application that doesn't work under a 64 bit OS. That's not to say they don't exist, they're just very rare. Sure not many apps are *optimized* for 64 bit, but that doesn't mean A: they won't run under one or B: they'll perform worse. Neither is generally true.

The only concern to address really is whether there are drivers for all your hardware, but likely by now there are, unless you run some odd, rare hardware like a strange backwater sound card. :D

- Oshyan

J-Mac

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2010, 02:01:24 PM »
Thanks Oshyan.

I was basing my post partly on two recent articles in Windows Secrets, one by Michael Lasky in January and the other by Gizmo Richards in November 2009. I know that many despise Windows Secrets but, hey - it's a subscription I have and they do have some decent folks writing for them as long as you can get around all the ads!

I didn't find any right away that said that most software runs well on 64-bit though as usual it is more common to find articles about problems than no problems! Since this box is just about four years old now I was planning to either buy a new one sometime in the coming year or possibly rebuild this one. My current computer's case is so damn large that even I can strip out the guts and replace them with new. I will say that other than the 32 vs. 64-bit issue this machine was built to last with for the most part all top-notch components. And they're all regular retail components, meaning that they are not specially manufactured for Falcon-NW like Dell and HP components. The computer is still pretty much up-to-date; no components had to be replaced to accommodate Windows 7 after four years. The case is a Silverstone Icon Aluminum with a large side window and interior lighting, 24" deep, 20" high, and 8 " wide - I think I could crawl into it and hide if needed! Actually though it has been a breeze to swap out HDDs, the graphics card, memory, etc. without removing any interferences.

Thanks!

Jim

JavaJones

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2010, 03:05:34 PM »
The article about a lack of 64 bit software doesn't really suggest *not* upgrading, it just shows (truthfully) that upgrading doesn't get you a lot of improvement in your apps, depending on what apps you use (in the 3D industry 64 bit apps have been available for several years now in many cases). However that doesn't mean it's not good for other reasons to upgrade, especially since 32 bit software works virtually without a hitch. The access to more memory alone is worth it.

Most of the problems people have had, particularly in XP and lingering through Vista, were issues of driver support, not software support. And those are legitimate issues. I've used 64 bit versions of Windows since XP x64, and it's gotten a lot easier with each version. Even XP was quite usable, you just felt a little more limited in terms of hardware options, so you sometimes had to choose carefully. For those using high-end graphics apps though it was worth selecting the right hardware so they could get 8GB or more of RAM into their rendering workstations.

Once Vista arrived, a lot more 64 bit drivers came on the scene and the 64 bit versions of Vista were a lot more visible and available too (recall that XP x64 was a later release, never something you could purchase in a store at retail, and even on MS's site was hard to find info about). Now with Win7 it's even more mainstream and, as others have said, 64 bit OSs are starting to ship as the main OS for many newer systems, which is as sure a sign as any that it's probably ready for "prime time". You can bet manufacturers aren't going to be installing a 64 bit OS for Average Joe if they know he doesn't *need* it and they feel it increase support costs and problems.

Honestly I think the Windows Secret article is just trying to stir up some trouble (and page reads) based on older user fears. That being said I can't read the article as I'm not a subscriber. ;)  But I *do* know that Windows 7 64 bit is pretty much problem-free, or at least no more problematic than the 32 bit version.

- Oshyan

f0dder

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2010, 06:04:23 PM »
I had very little problems with XP64, even though I was a relatively early adapter. If you're putting together a new machine and don't need drivers for quirky old hardware, and don't need to run any 16-bit stuff (whether win3.x or dos), you generally won't bump into problems.
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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2010, 10:44:55 PM »
I didn't find any right away that said that most software runs well on 64-bit though as usual it is more common to find articles about problems than no problems! Since this box is just about four years old now I was planning to either buy a new one sometime in the coming year or possibly rebuild this one.

My PC is also 4 years old and has a worse processor than yours (Athlon 64 3500+) and runs Win 7 64-bit very well, even on just 2 GB of RAM. The only software I've had any trouble with is 7-Zip, but that's actually the 64-bit edition of 7-Zip. For some reason it won't make itself the default program for any of the various archive files, so I have to open the 7-Zip GUI first, then navigate to the archive.

Anyway, I'm just chiming in to say that Windows 7 runs well even on "older" hardware. And that the 64-bit edition seems very stable to me. I can't imagine it making your system run worse, especially if you get more RAM out of it.


Krishean

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2010, 12:14:40 AM »
the way to fix the 7-zip file associations problem is run the gui as administrator and set the file associations, then close that instance and you should be set
i ran into that problem myself, it seems that win7 will only let admin set file associations (also affects things such as media player classic)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

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Innuendo

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #40 on: March 18, 2010, 10:04:03 AM »
The case is a Silverstone Icon Aluminum with a large side window and interior lighting, 24" deep, 20" high, and 8 " wide - I think I could crawl into it and hide if needed!

I just googled that case & that's a pretty sharp looking enclosure you've got there, J-Mac! That should last you through your next two or three builds. I've always liked the look of Silverstone's cases, but they are a little expensive.

JavaJones

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #41 on: March 18, 2010, 12:03:58 PM »
The case is a Silverstone Icon Aluminum with a large side window and interior lighting, 24" deep, 20" high, and 8 " wide - I think I could crawl into it and hide if needed!

I just googled that case & that's a pretty sharp looking enclosure you've got there, J-Mac! That should last you through your next two or three builds. I've always liked the look of Silverstone's cases, but they are a little expensive.

Is this the picture you found? Because I can see the appeal...

http://img.tomshardw...ilverstone-model.jpg

:D

- Oshyan
« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 12:07:28 PM by JavaJones »

Innuendo

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #42 on: March 18, 2010, 02:48:56 PM »
Is this the picture you found? Because I can see the appeal...

http://img.tomshardw...ilverstone-model.jpg

No, that wasn't the pic I found & I have a feeling that if J-Mac had gotten that computer case bundle he wouldn't be wasting his time on DC with us schmoes. ;)

Deozaan

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2010, 10:36:38 PM »
the way to fix the 7-zip file associations problem is run the gui as administrator and set the file associations, then close that instance and you should be set
i ran into that problem myself, it seems that win7 will only let admin set file associations (also affects things such as media player classic)

Thanks! Worked like a charm!


Subsailor

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #44 on: March 31, 2010, 02:53:25 PM »
I imagine the new hard drives (EARS) would be a pain in the yahoo to someone trying to throw it into their OEM Windows Home Server machine which is based on Server 2003. Luckily I knew about the issue and was able to find some EADS drives. It's not stated anywhere on WD's website about this OS. The tech support guy I called to find out about it just drooled at the mouth  ;D
ETC(SS), USN (Ret.)

f0dder

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Re: First compelling reason to switch to Windows 7
« Reply #45 on: March 31, 2010, 06:15:06 PM »
I imagine the new hard drives (EARS) would be a pain in the yahoo to someone trying to throw it into their OEM Windows Home Server machine which is based on Server 2003. Luckily I knew about the issue and was able to find some EADS drives. It's not stated anywhere on WD's website about this OS. The tech support guy I called to find out about it just drooled at the mouth  ;D
Why? Simply align partitions or use the lame jumper-hack :)
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