Am I Crazy?


G

Guest

Every 3 or 4 years I get the opportunity and authorization (from spousal
unit) to build a new computer. So when I do so I try to get the best of what
I can get in the hopes that it isn't too totally outdated in 3 years. With
that in mind I have been reading up on Vista 32 bit vs. Vista 64 bit. It
seems to be somewhat of a consensus that there isn't any current need to go
to 64 bit but it is the wave of the future. I want this machine to be a
powerful game machine but also usable for my development and business needs.
So this is what I was thinking of doing. Please provide any comments if this
isn't doable, or just plain silly.

I will be buying a quad core 64 bit Intel chip and using a RAID 0 disk array
that will have a total capacity of 300GB using 2 Raptor 150's. I was
thinking of partitioning this into three logical drives. One drive would be
used to install 32 bit Vista and be roughly 30GB. The second partition would
be used for Vista 64bit and be roughly 30GB. The third drive would be used
to house all program and data files.

My thought is to install the OS only on the first 2 partitions and then use
the third partition as a shared resource for all of the program files. This
way I could install programs in both operatijg systems using the same
location and then be able to use whichever OS works best for the application.
Obviously this only applies to 32 bit programs.

Based off of the research I have done I would have to install my OEM Vista
Home Premium 32 bit first. Then install the Vista Ultimate 64 bit upgrade,
then come back and reinstall the 32 bit Ultimate from the 64 bit partition in
order to retain drive mappings.

So does this sound doable or have I been eating too many mushrooms? Can you
think of any issues or gatcha's that I need to be on the lookout for?

Thanks,

Bob
 
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D

DanS

I will be buying a quad core 64 bit Intel chip and using a RAID 0 disk
array that will have a total capacity of 300GB using 2 Raptor 150's.

Raid 0 is not a good choice no matter what OS you are using. You are
essentially doubling the chances of a hardware HD issue causing a lot of
headaches.
 
C

Cal Bear '66

If I were you I would wait for AMD's quad core to be released later this year.
Their architecture, to me, seems superior to Intel's, and I would wait for
benchmark tests.

And I would use the third partition only for data files. There is no advantage
in using a separate partition for program files and imaging your system drives
would be useless.
 
A

AJR

Bob - I have not "absorbed" all of your post, however keep in mind that
programs must be written to use 64 bit capability (and multi -core
processors), also 64 bit is much more security enabled than 32 and is very
"touchy" about drivers - in fact all drivers for 64 bit must be signed and
certified - may or not be a problem for games.

DanS's comments about Raid - Microsoft in Bet testing of the new Windows
Home Server recommends using multiple hDs but not in a Raid configuration.
 
G

Guest

You bring up a valid point. I may have to consider going to a RAID 0 + 1
approach.
 
G

Guest

I understand that programs will perform better if written specifically for 64
bit applications. But some 32 bit programs perform better in 64 bit and at
the very least perform the same as in 32 bit when run in a 64 bit
environment. I know that drivers are an issue as well, this is why I am
trying to dream up an hybrid approach that will allow me to easily get back
to 32 bit for those circumstances where 64 bit just plain doesn't work.
Since this is a new build I will have to insure that 64 bit drivers are
available for any of the hardware components I plan on using such as
graphics, sound, etc... Fortunatly the nVidia 8800 series graphic cards from
some of the manufacturers have 64 bit drivers available so I can feed that
gamer craving...
 
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G

Guest

Unfortunatly time is a bit of an enemy here. I have the money to do this
now, I may not in a few months. So I have to make the best choices I can
with the currently available technologies.

I am considering putting actual data files onto a separate hard drive that
is not in a RAID configuration. This way if I do lose my OS drives I at
least have my data and can reinstall software to get back to where I was
before the crash. Not quite sure what you mean by imaging my drives. A RAID
0 approach just uses two drives in an interleaved fashion to increase the IO
rate on reads and writes. The full capacity of both drives is still
available. This is the concern that DanS brought to light that now if either
of the two drives fail I lose my entire system.

My thinking on the separate partition for program files is that both OS's
could use the same directory structure and hence the same configuration
information used for a program. This would, in theory, allow me to run any
32 bit program that I need to run from either OS without losing config
information.
 
C

Cal Bear '66

Imaging your hard drives is the best and easiest way to recover a system that
has gone so far south that even System Restore can not recover your system. An
image of your hard drive creates an "image" of your drive: the OS, your
programs and all your settings. One of the best things that Vista Ultimate
includes is an imaging program "Complete PC Backup". If you were to image a 3
disk setup as you propose the file would be huge and you would have to restore
both OSs to recover. Imaging saves hours and hours of work restoring a system
and should be used by everyone. There are other imaging programs that people in
here highly recommend.

Also, the current Intel quad core is just two dual cores glued on one die.
Their next generation will be a big advancement, much the same way that the Core
2 Duo was a great advancement over the old Intel dual core processor.
 
G

Guest

I see what your saying now, thanks for the clarification. So which would be
better, going to RAID 0+1 or using disk imaging?

Any idea when these new quad cores are going to be released? Are the AMD
quad cores that AJR mentioned going to be equivelent or better? i have
noticed with the introduction of the Duo chips AMD has been steadily losing
market share in the gaming market that they have dominated for some time. I
wonder if the AMD quad core will reverse that trend.

So outside of the imaging issue, are there other points of concern in this
proposed approach?
 
G

Guest

No problems here. Vista is installed on two smallish (and cheap) SATAII
drives using RAID 0. Acronis True Image takes care of the hardware failure
worries. Of the dozens of hard drives I've owned only one or two have had bad
spots that I could work around. RAID 0 is smokin' fast.
 
G

Guest

OS and programs on two disks as RAID0. Data on two disks as RAID1. Image both
to be safe and keep a copy offsite.
 
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S

Synapse Syndrome

Bob said:
I see what your saying now, thanks for the clarification. So which would
be
better, going to RAID 0+1 or using disk imaging?

Any idea when these new quad cores are going to be released? Are the AMD
quad cores that AJR mentioned going to be equivelent or better? i have
noticed with the introduction of the Duo chips AMD has been steadily
losing
market share in the gaming market that they have dominated for some time.
I
wonder if the AMD quad core will reverse that trend.

So outside of the imaging issue, are there other points of concern in this
proposed approach?


If you get a motherboard with an Intel chipset you will get Intel Matrix
Raid.

This will allow you to have both RAID0 and RAID1 partitions on the same two
drives. This is what I do with my two Raptor drives.

ss.
 
D

Dana Cline - MVP

In addition to what others say, I'll throw in my two cents worth...

Instead of a quad core, I'd just go dual core and save the extra money (or
get faster dual cores maybe). Unless you are really a serious power user
(and I do mean Serious), you won't need quad core for a few years.

64-bit Vista I'd skip. I have only heard of a few specialized areas where
running 64-bit Vista is a Good Thing (such as a video artist running a
64-bit app and doing large graphics/video).

The dual-boot would be more headaches than its worth. Especially if they try
to share the same apps. If you must have 64-bit Vista to experiment with,
put your apps in the same partition as Vista.

Games - better check, as I've heard they don't run well at all on 64-bit.

RAID - I share the concerns of others. If it were me, I'd put in two drives
(say a pair of 250 or 320Gb), using the first one for the OS and apps (in
two partitions if you want to play with 64-bit or Linux), then the second
drive for all my data. In addition, I'd use Seagates - they're reasonably
priced, have a 5-year warranty, and I've never had one fail. If you need to
seriously backup your system, I'd add a USB external disk (Seagate has a
250Gb one I got recently for $80).

What is your budget? That's where I'd start first...budget for a mobo,
dual-core fast cpu, 2Gb of RAM. Then see how much else is available for
graphics card and hard disks. Be aware that the new DirectX10 boards are not
cheap, and the nVidias have much better benchmarks than the ATIs right now.

If you get a burner, get a dual-layer LightScribe capable one.

My thoughts are you could build a screaming system for under $1,000 that
would work fine for the next 5 years plus be expandable too...

Oh, one other thought...if you buy Vista, you have the right to install the
32-bit version OR the 64-bit version, but not both on the same license...

Dana Cline - MCE MVP
 
G

Guest

Since I am looking at making a serious gamer I opted to go with the nVidia
680i chip. So I guess this option is out, but thanks for mentioning. I
didn't know you do this.
 
G

Guest

I did decide to go with an E6700 dual core. Just couldn't justify the cost
of the quad, particularly after hearing about architectural changes that are
upcomming. I also think I will skip 64 bit for awhile. I can always use
shrink disk in the future to create room for another partition for
experimentation. I already had the Raptors coming before this post so I will
stick with those. For now I will put them in a RAID 0 and use a single
partition for everything. I will then use imaging or some other backup
process against a larger cheaper drive that I will mount either internal or
external.

I hear ya on the graphics cards, that purchase hurt a bit!! I did get an
nVidia 8800 Ultra (MSI Overclocked) since I am using the nVidia chip set. I
already had a dual layer burner with lightscribe. I also got SLI certified
DDR2 800 RAM (4 Gig, and yes I know only 2.5 gig can be seen in 32 bit). I
did not stay under $1000, or even $2000 thanks to the video card, but I think
I got a good core system. I got a strong 1200 watt power supply (thinking
future SLI here) that should hold me well into the future. And a motherboard
that is capable of handling quad core cpu's, 1200MHz ram, and the 1333 FSB so
that I can easily expand in the future when the cost of those items come
down. I am hoping the extra money spent now will pay dividends in the
future. And if not, well it sounds good at least ;-)

So I guess to answer my original question, probably YES for spending this
kind of money. But it was fun and I can go any direction I want now.

Thanks everyone for your input.
 
D

Dana Cline - MVP

Wow - that's an amazing system. Hopefully you're sending that to a nice 22"
1920x1200 LCD panel or two? My son is a gamer and I know he'd like a system
like that, but he has to limp along now on a single core 2.4Ghz and an ATI
9600. As he's in college, I'm sure he can't afford a new system any time
soon <g>.

Well, please keep us informed on how it goes!

Dana Cline - MCE MVP
 
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G

Guest

i dabble in programming and graphic design so I use a second monitor for
running tutorials and for doing web lookups while in game. I am using a
Gateway 22" as my main display and a NEC 20" as secondary. Im waiting for
the 24" displays to come down to the $350 range before grabbing one of those.


Parts are starting to arrive now so I am getting excited to put this
together. My daughter is also a gamer and is excited because she inherits
the old system! It's using a single core with a 7800GT so its not too bad.
Certainly better than what she uses now.
 

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