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Windows XP x64

This is where you can ask questions and get and give help about hardware related issues. This Forum will be moderated by Taw with help from some other experts. So feel free to ask any questions you may have about computers.

Post Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:32 am

Windows XP x64

Simple question here, folks- is it worth it? I got my computer back in January, sporting one of thems (at that time) fancy Core 2 Duo's, yet am still running on a 32-bit OS (WinXP). Is there a significant boost in performance to move to the 64 bit version, and if so, is it worth the hassle of a reformat (on a laptop!) and the alleged software incompatibilities I hear about? I'm a bit unknowledgeable on the subject, so I'd appreciate some Taw-wisdom...

Post Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:06 am

x64 doesn't work with anything. Just keep plain old x86. Office doesn't work; Adobe software doesn't work; certain installers don't work; basically nothing important works. Games sometimes work. Nothing uses x64 architecture (exclusively, if at all) so you're just as well off with x86. In fact, you're better off, with all the compatibility issues.

Post Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:23 pm

You could also do a search at MS site and seek a compatability program to see what issues there are.

Post Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:36 pm

HOLY SMOKES!!!!!!!!!

I had a custom PC built with an Athelon64 CPU. I'm sure glad I stuck with
the XP32 instead of upgrading to XP64.

Post Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:26 am

other than supporting 64-bit cpus, it doesn't add much to games. You get a performance increase partially as a result of the processors, and partly as a result of the extra RAM x64 demands, which does mean that you can run the Windows kernel in RAM and turn off paging.* Sadly however it makes no greater improvement in games apart from that than a well-resourced and tuned x86 XP system could do, because (afaik) there are no games that demand multi-processors or take advantage of them properly (although I'm prepared to stand corrected on that one if anyone knows differently)

64-bit XP was intended as an enterprise desktop o/s for higher-end workstations attached to Server 2003 environments.

* which I first did two years ago and haven't bothered with a pagefile since.

Post Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:18 am

Ok, that answers my question. But Taw- you say you haven't bothered with 'virtual memory' on the 32 bit XP? I've got 2 gig's of RAM to toss around in this system, so please tell me more!

On another note, is there any benefit to be gained by assigning the virtual mem. paging file to a flash based drive, or is that a Vista only trait?

Post Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:42 pm


For multi-core in general, almost all modern games are able to take advantage of dual-core CPUs (Supreme Commander being the obvious example) but sadly, not very many use all 4 cores in a quad-core (this is because it is very difficult to program for four cores without the various instructions getting out of sync... or something). You end up with two cores running the game and the other two doing the various... Windows-y things. Sadly, it's as inefficient as it sounds.

I know Valve is really getting into multi-core CPUs (they're rewriting parts of the Source engine) and I believe they have already released an x64 version of Half-Life 2, but I can't find it anywhere.

Sadly, that's pretty much the extent of it.

EDIT: For the less scrupulous amongst us... if you plan on using any sixth-generation console emulator (e.g. PCSX2) then you will need a multi-core CPU (dual-core can barely cope, quad-core is better). There is no way around this. Sorry. Hey, if you don't like it... go use ePSXe and play Final Fantasy IX.

EDIT 2: CryTek also appear to be working with multi-core CPUs for Crysis. In addition, they are selling an x64 version which will supposedly offer 10-15% boost in performance. Hurrah.

Sorry, this post has gotten decidedly off topic.

Edited by - The Evil Thing on 10/13/2007 2:42:42 PM

Edited by - The Evil Thing on 10/13/2007 2:46:40 PM

Post Sun Oct 14, 2007 3:41 am

but Supreme Commander is as buggy as a plague of Esquilax fleas, and it doesn't seem to handle dual-processor requests well at all, although I will admit that I've only seen it on one machine (not Borromir) Most games will cope with the presence of two cpus/cores, but that doesn't mean that they necessarily actually utilise the multiple cores - remember the problems many games (including FL) had with Hyper-Threading a while back? Still, if anyone can do it right, it'd be Valve, so I'll look forward to that.

excellent question JD! one of the few truly excellent features of Vista is it's ability to use flash memory as extra RAM (although it shouldn't really have to given the system specs it demands) Not having a pagefile is as simple as turning off the pagefile in My Computer/Properties/Advanced/Performance/Settings/Advanced/Virtual Memory - change/no paging file. HOWEVER, it's best to support this with some registry changes..

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\Disable Paging Executive - REG_DWORD 0x00000001 (1)

where the value 1 = disable (0) to enable)

it would also be a good idea to set/change the registry keys for using LargeSystemCache, increase the IoPageLockLimit, and (possibly) SecondLevelDataCache, depending on your cpu. Bear in mind that as far as you're concerned, you can only SUCCESSFULLY run without a paging file if you have 2Gb of RAM, which you say you have. I knew someone who said he'd done it with a gig but I think he was lying.

the advantages of running without a paging file are quicker response times and a lot less chuntering on the hard drive. It infuriates me when a process has run away and the hard disk is sat paging for ten minutes. OK, as soon as Windows can grab some free RAM the kernel should go back into RAM and not be paged, but Windows isn't exactly efficient at letting the pagefile go, is it? x64 does do this a lot better than 32-bit x86, giving 20-30% better perfromance if you use enough good RAM (and not that cheap stuff Eskwilurx buys)

But be warned, a lot of programs are expecting a pagefile to be there, so don't be surpised if stuff doesn't work when it always used to. A good compromise that I use (sometimes) is to have my system partition unpaged on that partition but a pagefile on another partition (pref dynamic) where it can expand and contract as it sees fit with no restrictions. With today's hardware, an o/s shouldn't really need a pagefile at all, but sadly we're still stuck with the M$ way of doing things. Having it on a flash drive is a good idea, although I worry about the lag between the high-speed internal bus and the slower USB throughput. I wouldn't necessarily do it myself, partially because of that, but also because the pagefile contains everything that you've been doing in that session - hence why I clear my pagefile down when I turn my pc off.

Edited by - Tawakalna on 10/14/2007 6:39:17 AM

Post Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:09 am

Oh,joy, I linked to "Mastertech"s site and didn't know he was an annoying little asshat.

Let's try Ars Technica instead.

(I tend to stick to just turning off the eye candy interface and if necessary, disabling some of the more annoying "transition effects"

Edited by - Hahukum Konn on 10/14/2007 9:20:27 AM

Post Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:01 am

I've been toying with the idea of getting an Expresscard SSD (just a small one, 4-8G since my slot has been sitting empty all this time. Perhaps that would solve the bandwidth issue by not utilizing a USB connection.

Post Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:03 am

I thought about using a USB stick as a swap drive, but then I considered the likelihood of USB failure owing to the limit of something like ten thousand or a hundred thousand reads and writes to flash memory, and didn't feel comfortable risking breaking the OS if the drive failed - I'm not sure how well XP takes to being unable to swap to a given drive.

Edited by - Hahukum Konn on 10/14/2007 12:04:13 PM

Post Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:15 pm

Given that some manufacturers are sending out SSD only systems without much trouble, I wouldn't worry about it too much, though it is kind of early to tell. There is supposed to be a newer type of flash on the way that is more durable, at least three or four orders of magnitude moreso.

EDIT- @ Taw

I've reduced the prefetch like you suggested, and also turned off the paging file. I've got a teeny file (512mb) mapped to an SD card (since I have an SD slot I'm not using for anything else...). After a couple bluescreens, things do seem to be running a bit swifter. You mentioned something about making some registry changes to accompany the lack of a pagefile- what are the correct values for these?

System specs:

HP dv6000 laptop:

2gigs RAM
Intel Core 2 Duo 'Merom' T7200- @2.0ghz

Edited by - J Dawg on 10/16/2007 12:01:30 PM

Post Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:43 pm

the only one that you really need is the one I posted above. Modify the end value to 1 from 0.

then reboot to recovery console (press F8 at boot) log onto your default Windows (you may have to type in your local admin password) and delete (or rename) the file c:\pagefile.sys, reboot again to Vindoze, and you're done.

but remember that some apps may be looking for a pagefile, and they may well be wanting a fair old chunk of virtual memory, so be warned, and if you've got something running that eats up RAM, and a lot of badly written code does suffer from memory leaks, then when your RAM is used up there's nowhere for Windows to get extra memory from. That is after all what the pagefile is for.

You'll immediately notice faster boot times and a LOT less hard drive activity both at boot and during operation or idle states - no paging to the hard drive, see? but you need 2gb of RAM to get away with this. The default Windows pagefile is up to 1.5gb so you need to have more than that available, but you get a significant increase in performance. I have 4gb so that I can be certain that I won't need to page to disk again unless an app needs it, in which case I specify a pagefile on a striped drive, which is faster anyway.

Post Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:39 pm

Taw- I was only able to access the recovery console by booting to cd (no option for it in the startup menu gained by F8'ing). When I attempted to 'repair the installation' It said I had no hard drive, (which is, of course, a bunch of rot!). How can I get at this file to can it?

I also tried getting after it from the various safe modes, but the file is always in use.

And, I'm a bit rusty on my DOS commands for rename or even delete to boot.

Edited by - J Dawg on 10/16/2007 9:39:48 PM

Post Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:51 am

F8, safe mode with command prompt. it briefly brings up Windows splash, a logonui, then takes you to a command prompt windows. type "del c:\pagefile.sys" or "ren c:\pagefile.sys c:\pagefile.old" (or whatever) and then "exit" then reboot.

I've just done it again on my work pc to prove it works, and it does. if you've set the system applet advanced properties to "no paging file" and you've made the registry that I mentioned earlier, then your pagefile will be history. I just grabbed back nearly 2gb of space that the gwaggy pagefile was using.

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