Building a Windows 7 Primary Machine

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Building a Windows 7 Primary Machine
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OldElmerFudd
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November 21, 2009 - 12:16 pm
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For the first time in quite a while, I'm assembling a primary desktop strictly to run Win 7 Ultimate (32-bit). I acquired the OS when I was a Technet subscriber and hadn't worked with 64-bit systems much, so 32-bit was my first choice. After reflection, I may eventually go the 64-bit Win 7 Professional route, but that's not on the plate yet.

As it sits, I have the following major components:

Gigabyte GA EP45-UD3P mobo (Intel P45 chip)
Powercolor AX 3650 1GBD2-V2 Radeon HD 3650 1GB video card.
Antec Sonata 2 case

Sometime in the next few days, I'm getting these components:
Intel Core2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale CPU
WD Caviar WD1001FALS 1TB Sata drive
4Gb (2x2GB) G.Skill PC2 8500 sticks

Here's my thought: Instead the Core Duo 8500, would it make sense to get the E8400 Quad core on the possibility of switching over to 64-bit Professional. I guess what I'm really asking is a) is it possible to run 64-bit Win 7 on the Core Duo without a serious performance hit? From the other direction, will the Quad core run efficiently with 32-bit Ultimate? This is going to be what i call a "6-year" machine. No significant upgrades, other than more memory with a 64-bit CPU, until it's time to build another primary. (I have machines dedicated to audio, graphic, photo workflow, etc.)

Any thoughts? All input appreciated as to the new build.

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David Hartsock
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November 22, 2009 - 6:48 am
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Ron,

I think the E8500 and E8400 are both dual core. I may be wrong but I think they are both in the dual core family, unless you meant Q8400 or Q9400.

If I'm right the E8500 you are looking at is 3.16GHz dual core and runs around $189(US). The nearest quad core in price is the Q9400 running at 2.66GHz ($189). For $10 more you can get the Corei5 - 750 - (if your motherboard will support the core i5 series).

The main differences between these are:
The dual core E8500 runs 2 cores at 3.16GHz
The quad cores run 4 cores at 2.66GHz
The core i5 uses a different socket and architecture
All run at 1333 FSB

Of the E8500 (dual) and Q9400 (quad) you probably won't see much difference [b:28und1sm]unless[/b:28und1sm] you multi-task. If you are multi-tasking and running several programs at once you have more 'cores' to spread the load. Imagine 4 single threaded programs or 2 multi-threaded programs each having their own core. Surprisingly the quad will probably run a little cooler most of the time.

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OldElmerFudd
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November 22, 2009 - 10:25 am
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Ron,

I think the E8500 and E8400 are both dual core. I may be wrong but I think they are both in the dual core family, unless you meant Q8400 or Q9400.

If I'm right the E8500 you are looking at is 3.16GHz dual core and runs around $189(US). The nearest quad core in price is the Q9400 running at 2.66GHz ($189). For $10 more you can get the Corei5 - 750 - (if your motherboard will support the core i5 series).

The main differences between these are:
The dual core E8500 runs 2 cores at 3.16GHz
The quad cores run 4 cores at 2.66GHz
The core i5 uses a different socket and architecture
All run at 1333 FSB

Of the E8500 (dual) and Q9400 (quad) you probably won't see much difference [b:2ftoo5si]unless[/b:2ftoo5si] you multi-task. If you are multi-tasking and running several programs at once you have more 'cores' to spread the load. Imagine 4 single threaded programs or 2 multi-threaded programs each having their own core. Surprisingly the quad will probably run a little cooler most of the time.[/quote:2ftoo5si]

Thanks for the input, Dave. I've been looking over the specs on both dual and quad cores. The two primary requirements for a CPU are VT (Virtualization Technolgy) and EMT64, which is the ability to emulate 64-bit architecture. My research leads me to believe the dual core is going to be fine for most of the work this machine will do. I agree the quad might run a little cooler, but I suspect that's true mostly under heavy load. The E8500 runs at 65W, while the Q9400 runs at 95W; the dual core should generally be a little cooler, if I understand it correctly. Besides, I'd rather spend the difference in zlotys on another 1TB hd!

The other decisions I've pretty well made is to stay with the 32-bit OS. Not enough activity in my world to demand 64-bit, and there are still too many limitations, imo. That could easily change in future. If circumstances required, I'd just build what I needed, I guess.

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Jim Hillier
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November 22, 2009 - 4:24 pm
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Hey Guys - The dreaded 'time difference' has delayed my input here. Sounds like you already have it sorted Ron but here's my 2 cents worth anyway.

1) E8400 and E8500 are indeed both core 2 duo processors.
2) Both core 2 duo and quad core will run either 32bit or 64bit systems.

Here is a link to a great page which lists all specs of the full range of Intel processors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_In ... processors

Ron - Ironically, my 'new' machine is running the E8500 core 2 duo cpu. I say 'new' but I have had this machine for almost 18 months now. It was custom built to my own specs and the E8500 was the processor I chose.....it is fantastic and runs Vista like the wind.

At the time, I mulled over exactly the same decisions you have mentioned. I decided to go with core 2 duo (over quad core) simply because I did not need the extra multi-tasking facilities....geez, I'm flat out doing one thing at a time!!! Never been sorry on that one, the E8500 is great.

I also decided to stick with 32bit and shall continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I really pondered that one but in the end am certain I made the right decision. I have some mates (who are pretty savvy) who went the 64bit route and lived to rue that decision. They discovered that most of their favourite software was not available in 64bit versions and spent hours (days even) trying to find suitable alternatives, more often that not unsuccessfully. I realise that situation has now improved but not, IMO, to a level of general acceptability.

When one weighs up the pros and cons of 64bit over 32 bit, I believe the negatives still, today, outweigh the positives. 4GB Ram will run everything I need and then some plus I retain the availability of the full gamut of software.

I concede that 64bit is the way of the future and will some day be the norm but not until it is afforded the same sort of software support enjoyed by 32bit.

Cheers....JIM

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David Hartsock
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November 22, 2009 - 6:11 pm
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Ron,

While the quad is a 95watt chip, if you multitask I believe you will see cooler temps as the threads will be split among 4 cores instead of 2 (they won't be chugging along at full bore).

I beg to differ on the 64bit decision. I have a TON of software on this PC. Everything from Photoshop and Dreamweaver to old games from the Win2000 era to a couple web design programs from the Win98 era. Not one single program has given me a problem, nor have I had to find a replacement for a program that would not work!

As long as you have drivers for the hardware, and anything reasonably recent will have them, software is a breeze! Why waste 750MB of RAM and a little speed when you don't have to? I think you should give it a shot (it's free). If you have a problem you can always go back!

Oh, Ron, you'll only see about 2.75GB of RAM with that 1GB video card.

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Jim Hillier
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November 22, 2009 - 6:28 pm
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Dave - I guess it is a matter of 'horses for courses'. You seem to have been lucky to find everything you need/want, I have looked at some of the programs I use regularly and been disappointed.

And, I do agree with you in principle....if all the software you need/want is available in 64bit then yes, go for it...no contest. What I am saying is, do your homework [i:2z1z3wtj]before[/i:2z1z3wtj] making the decision, finding out afterward that some of your favourite software is not supported can be very disappointing.

Cheers....JIM

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OldElmerFudd
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January 15, 2010 - 4:31 am
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Update:

The machine went together without much fuss. In addition to the original specs, I added the following: 2 more 2Gb sticks, a WD 500Gb SATA hd, and a Liteon SATA DVD writer. I really like the Sonata's drive trays; makes switching drives so much easier. Ultimate has more bells and whistles than I need, but I've got it, and it works. Thanks again to everyone for the feedback.

Ron

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David Hartsock
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January 15, 2010 - 9:08 am
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Ultimate has more bells and whistles than I need, but I've got it, and it works.[/quote:3qxqmque]

But the bells and whistles are the fun part!

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