Opinions Requested



  • I have an iMac - it's ok, but there's a lot of Windows-only software that I'd like to run, and most of it doesn't perform well in a VM. Bootcamp et al have their own share of issues, depending upon whom you ask. As such, I've decided to buy a Windows pc as well.

    While window (no pun intended) shopping in Best Buy (you can play with the machines in person), I noticed that Vista is - ahem - *slow*.

    I could install XP, but I'd prefer to move forward. I'd also like the 64 bit version (but am not sure if there's any real practical advantage to it).

    Since MS can't seem to make Vista zippy, I figure I can throw resources hardware money at the problem and make Vista zippy myself.

    The question is: how much hardware is enough?

    I figure that I should go all the way: Intel quad core extreme qx9665/70 at 3.2 (overclocked to 3.6/4.0 depending on where it's bought), fsb at 1333/1600 (does the difference between 1333 and 1600 matter at this point?), 8GB ram (matched at 1333/1600), 2x128GB solid state drives and 2xnVidia 1GB GTX280 ought to not only make Vista scream, but Crysis as well.

    Money is not an issue.

    Is all of this necessary, or has anyone had any luck with somewhat less?

    Thoughts/preferences/recommendations?

    Thanks!

     



  • Vista is no slower than XP unless you have an awful graphics card and are using Aero Glass.  Vista has always been faster than XP for me, so I suspect the machine had something seriously wrong with it. 



  • Unfortunately, they won't let you inspect and play with the settings, but most of the machines had the same problem - even the more expensive ones.

    Maybe they all had el cheapo graphics cards - don't know.

    So, you think I don't need all that for Vista, but could I justify it as required to properly  immerse myself (and the wife too - big fan of FPS) in Crysis?

     



  • @snoofle said:

    I could install XP, but I'd prefer to move forward.

    Right over the edge of the cliff...
    (Sorry, couldn't resist)

    @snoofle said:

    I'd also like the 64 bit version (but am not sure if there's any real practical advantage to it).


    Well, you'll be able to address more RAM, which Vista eats up like a fat lady in a cake shop.




  • @Nether said:

    Well, you'll be able to address more RAM, which Vista eats up like a fat lady in a cake shop

    I was actually thinking along the lines of from an application perspective - completely forgot about ram addressibility...

    So you think 8GB is enough, or should I go to 16? 32? I want this thing to scream (and would like to be able to run it for at least 3 years).

     



  • I have Vista Ultimate loaded on a dual core 2.4 Ghz processor, 4 Gb Ram, 160Gb 7200rpm IDE hard drive, with a Nvidia NVS 135 (128Mb) video card with Aero turned on.  It is not slow in the least.  The lowest score I have is a 4.0 for the video, big surprise there.  I use it primarily for business simultaneously running SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008,, and all the other apps like MS Office, Photoshop, etc.  I've only ever seen it use a max of about 3.4Gb of memory.

    If you get the machine listed above, I wouldn't expect any problems unless you're unlucky enough to get a piss poor driver.




  • @snoofle said:

    @Nether said:

    Well, you'll be able to address more RAM, which Vista eats up like a fat lady in a cake shop

    I was actually thinking along the lines of from an application perspective - completely forgot about ram addressibility...

    So you think 8GB is enough, or should I go to 16? 32? I want this thing to scream (and would like to be able to run it for at least 3 years). 

    Anything over 8 is probably going to be useless.  Hell, most apps are still 32-bit so they cannot address more than 2-3GB on their own.  Vista eats up RAM the same reason Linux does, because it caches disk blocks like mad.  This is actually speeds things up but people look and say "oh noes, my RAM is at 90%!" instead of thinking "dammit, I paid top dollar for this and 10% of my RAM is still free." 



  • Thanks all - that saves me a boatload of $$$.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Vista eats up RAM the same reason Linux does, because it caches disk blocks like mad.  This is actually speeds things up but people look and say "oh noes, my RAM is at 90%!" instead of thinking "dammit, I paid top dollar for this and 10% of my RAM is still free." 

    Is there a way to see the "+/- buffers/cache" stats on that? At least the free command in Linux (and other UNIX-based OSes) give me that info.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Vista eats up RAM the same reason Linux does, because it caches disk blocks like mad. 

    And there you get issues of power usage, because filled RAM uses power. RAM, like a CPU cycle, cannot be "wasted" when it's not used.

    But that's a qualitative statement, and I don't know of any documents that tell me exactly how much power a brimmin' RAM module takes, compared to CPU, PSU, videocard, fan, etc.

    Regardless, anything that blithely goes on to require/use more energy than previous incarnations is, at the very least, frowned upon in my book. Until we have that fusion reactor up and running, of course, because then FREE BEER 4 ALL.



  • @dhromed said:

    I don't know of any documents that tell me exactly how much power a brimmin' RAM module takes, compared to CPU, PSU, videocard, fan, etc.

    Chip datasheets would undoubtedly have this information, or enough information for you to calculate it.  It would depend on a ton of factors though (DRAM? access speed/frequency? rewriting huge blocks? etc), the RAM simply being full isn't what causes power consumption.  In fact, RAM "at rest" (be it full or empty) probably uses very close to 0W.  Compared to the CPU, PSU, and GPU though, the RAM is probably the greenest piece of hardware in your computer.



  •  i'm more of a linux person than a windows person, but i've played around with an el cheapo($500) toshiba satellite (2gb ram, 1.8ghz dual core cpu, 'lame' intel graphics, don't know cache etc off-hand) and vista didn't seem slow at all, in fact it seemed much more responsive than xp on comparable hardware.

    it would probably  be terrible for gaming, however.



  • @Voidpointer said:

    Chip datasheets would undoubtedly have this information, or enough information for you to calculate it.  It would depend on a ton of factors though (DRAM? access speed/frequency? rewriting huge blocks? etc), the RAM simply being full isn't what causes power consumption.  In fact, RAM "at rest" (be it full or empty) probably uses very close to 0W.

    Actually, DRAM (which is pretty much the only kind used for main memory nowadays) constantly uses power to "refresh" its contents, which would otherwise get lost - this typically happens a dozen or more times a second. However, I don't know whether that power usage is significant compared to the CPU (probably not, since RAM modules are typically not actively cooled) and whether it's actually possible to save that power by not refreshing unused RAM blocks where you don't care about the contents getting lost.


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