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Which OS Do I Need For A Quad Core System?

By Dr_Seuss
Feb 24, 2008
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  1. Im making the jump to a quad core system, ive done my research and found the CPU, Motherboard, RAM and Graphics Card i want but to my surprise its the OS which is causing me the biggest problems.
    Which OS will let me take full advantage of a Quad core system with 4-8Gb of DDR2 RAM?

    Many Thanks

    Dr_Seuss
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,539   +301

    XP64 or Vista64 if you are looking for a Windows OS.
  3. Dr_Seuss

    Dr_Seuss TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    im worried about software compatibility problems with the 64bit OS's does it have to be 64bit?
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,539   +301

    If you want 4+ gigs of RAM, then yes.

    Any app that you think you need that kind of horsepower for, well it HAS a 64 bit version. If it doesn't, then it does not require that kind of hardware and you can run it in a virtual machine.
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    That's not entirely true, sngx. But for practical purposes, I would agree.

    Intel added memory address extension support (IA-32) support for 32-bit processors. This is accessible using the PAE extension in your boot.ini for all Windows server products. Windows Vista 32-bit can use the PAE extension as well, so it does technically support more than 4GB... but that's not the whole tale. We used to use this in the lab at Intel while validating platforms on Windows. AMD also adopted Intel's address extension, so it exists on Athlon 64s as well (Probably not the first generation).

    The drawback is instability. Drivers and devices aren't expecting to be within the realm of 4GB+, so you can have some unexpectedly expected issues. In short, it isn't worth it, but that's just a little FYI for anyone who cares. Details on PAE are pretty well documented on Microsoft's website.
  6. Dr_Seuss

    Dr_Seuss TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    so if i just had 4Gb of RAM (which should be plenty) i should have no problems with a 32bit OS?
    but which ones the best? im looking at Vista Home Premium, XP Pro or XP Home (but im not sure if it supports the quad core processor...
  7. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 5,899

    Windows XP (or even Vista) Home Edition supports one physical CPU socket no matter how many CPU cores are connected to that socket so yes your quad core CPU will work on Home too.

    If you stick with a 32-bit desktop OS (as opposed to a server version), only about 3.2GB of your 4GB will be usable.
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,344   +49

    The only OS's I know which REALLY use as many processors as are thrown at them are Unix, Linux and Netware. Then there is Sun, IBM mainframes. Get the idea ? Multi-processors cannot be fully used unless the operating system has multiple synchronous threads built into it's design, and that is FAR from easy.

    I'm not running down Windows in this respect, but Windows XP/Vista on a multi-processor is just window dressing, not the real thing, and nobody really gains anything yet. Plus......

    As Rick hints but does not say outright, Windows 64 is presently under-developed, unreliable, and lacking in drivers, which MUST be signed, as 64-bit decided not to accept unsigned drivers like 32-bit does (or rather, did prior to Vista). Plus there will probably NEVER be 64-bit drivers for any peice of kit more than 18 months old.
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