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Video Cards. Help me out here some. :D What's better to do, get one big honking one and run it, or run two slightly smaller ones with SLI?
I'd say get the best single card solution you can afford, e. g. 8800 GTS (640MB), 8800 GTX or 8800 Ultra. The performance of these cards by themselves is very good. Then halfway through the lifecycle of your computer, when the price of your video card is less than half of what it is now, you can add another one for SLI for not much money.

That was my thoughts... (also the same when i bought mine) Maybe put a 2nd GTX in next year depending on requirements. Also you don't have to mess with the drivers (some versions epecially Vista ones can be buggy with SLI currently)

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Video Cards. Help me out here some. :D What's better to do, get one big honking one and run it, or run two slightly smaller ones with SLI?

Thanks again guys.

Here's what I found. I had 2 - BFG GeForce 7950 GT OC 512 cards in SLI. Sold them on ebay and upgraded to 1 EVGA 8800 Ultra 768 card. The single 8800 blows away the 2 7950's. My case is less densely populated now(I have the Thermaltake Armor Full Tower that Roco suggested to you) so it runs a bit cooler without 2 video cards running full bore.

That being said the 7950's took more room top to bottom, constricting a bit of airflow, but the 8800 Ultra, and probably all the 8800's, not 100% sure, are freaking huge!!! I was surprised how long this card was. This being my fist build, I am glad I went with that Large Thermaltake Armor case. I don't know how I would have fit the 8800 Ultra in another case, even though it probably does. Might need a shoe horn, IDK. Plus it happens to run into your next expansion bay pretty much eliminating the bay underneath the one you install it to.

I am happier now with one kickass card over the 2 really good cards. Another note, the 8800 series is DX10 compatible, so you'll be able to see the new DX10 game in all their glory. Provided you run Vista. Does GRAW 2 even utilize SLI?

Guys correct me if anything I said is incorrect.

Converted nOOb to self proclaimed journeyman gaming PC builder, thanks in large part to Roco and the rest of AFZ. :thumbsup:

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ARDelta, after reading, that's exactly what I decided to do, especially seeing as Vista doesn't yet support SLI, but it does support my 4gb of RAM. I figure by the time I'm due for an upgrade, I can double my GPUs and Vista will support SLI by then.

ROCO,

So far, I'm looking at:

-APEVIA X-Cruiser ATX Mid Tower

-EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

-EVGA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB

-OCZ GameXStream 700w PSU

-Intel Core 2 Quad Kentsfield 2.66GHz Processor

-Scythe Ninja w/Fan

-4x1GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 (PC2 6400)

-2x500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s

-2 Lite-On DVD-Rom and DVD-RW w/Lightscribe

-Samsung 226BW 22" WS Monitor

-Windows Vista Ultimate

-660 UPS

-Assorted Preiph. and Games

All told, I'm over my original budget by a lot, but I'm sacrificing something else to do so (not on my orders though).

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ARDelta, after reading, that's exactly what I decided to do, especially seeing as Vista doesn't yet support SLI, but it does support my 4gb of RAM. I figure by the time I'm due for an upgrade, I can double my GPUs and Vista will support SLI by then.

ROCO,

So far, I'm looking at:

-APEVIA X-Cruiser ATX Mid Tower

-EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

-EVGA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB

-OCZ GameXStream 700w PSU

-Intel Core 2 Quad Kentsfield 2.66GHz Processor

-4x1GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 (PC2 6400)

-2x500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s

-2 Lite-On DVD-Rom and DVD-RW w/Lightscribe

-Samsung 226BW 22" WS Monitor

-Windows Vista Ultimate

-660 UPS

-Assorted Preiph. and Games

All told, I'm over my original budget by a lot, but I'm sacrificing something else to do so (not on my orders though).

Nice ... once suggestion though. Go with the asus board. Evga mainly does video cards and doesn't release bios's very often (complaint i have read although i haven't seen there boards) and the Asus uses Heatpipes on the north and south bridges to get the heat out (no failing fans)

Case wise... cell is right on the size of those cards. My GTX is very long. May want to consider a bigger tower (although i haven't looked yours up yet)

I think i have a pic here at work of our full... if not i'll get you one of mine at home with and without side panel so you can see what your dealing with space wise. The GTX took 2 card slots and require power from 2 rails. I can only imagine the ultra.

Other then that... Awesome build!

I only have pics here of work of the one that was for a server. I'll take some tonight at home.

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Sweet. Thanks ROCO.

Mobo is one of those things I was iffy on. I know EVGA GPUs are great, so I assume a mobo would be as well - didn't consider BIOS updates though. Excellent point.

I'll check into case size. I think that's a fairly large one... but I love the gauges on the front of it. :D Take a look at the pics.

Update once I pick a mobo.

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Ahh, saw a small pic and couldn't tell they were gauges... thought it was just a fromntcover. I'll get some pics of mine up as soon as i wipe it down (black attracks dust)

Zjj's boy also has the same case and i think she has some pics somewhere in here. (the thermaltake)

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ARDelta, after reading, that's exactly what I decided to do, especially seeing as Vista doesn't yet support SLI, but it does support my 4gb of RAM. I figure by the time I'm due for an upgrade, I can double my GPUs and Vista will support SLI by then.

ROCO,

So far, I'm looking at:

-APEVIA X-Cruiser ATX Mid Tower

-EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

-EVGA GeForce 8800 Ultra 768MB

-OCZ GameXStream 700w PSU

-Intel Core 2 Quad Kentsfield 2.66GHz Processor

-Scythe Ninja w/Fan

-4x1GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 (PC2 6400)

-2x500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s

-2 Lite-On DVD-Rom and DVD-RW w/Lightscribe

-Samsung 226BW 22" WS Monitor

-Windows Vista Ultimate

-660 UPS

-Assorted Preiph. and Games

All told, I'm over my original budget by a lot, but I'm sacrificing something else to do so (not on my orders though).

I read most of the thread and:

Memory: Get 4 Gb in 4x 1Gb matched pairs or 2x 2gb matched pair

OS: For best flexibility, Windows XP 32bit

Windows XP 32bit & Vista 32bit have a memory address limit of 4Gb but also reserve the area 3gb - 4gb for system so the OS reports back 3Gb max if you install 4GB. I would install the extra memory to gain the 3rd Gb. The reserved area is for things like GFX memory etc.

Roco's list updated, looks good if your on a high budget, The Quad is the way to go, Dual is ok but the Quad will be in a league of it's own with the new breed of multi thread games. Games like CRYSIS show a 60% increase in performance with dual over single core & 98% increase in performance for quads over single.

Remember Windows XP does NOT and will not ever support DX10 or higher.

But your system is good for expansion to Vista later.

The Graphics card is a must with 500Mb+ and the crop king is Nvidia 8800 GTX

The Motherboard chipset leader is 680 series and is a good choice today.

Best of luck.

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looks like an amazing build. I can't really see anything wrong with it.

Although I would suggest if you are going to buy an after market cooler, get the best out there, a Thermaltake Ultra-120 Extreme. I could provide proof that it is the best, but I dont' want to find the charts right now.

If you don't plan on going SLI I wouldn't suggest a mobo that supports it.

And if you are looking for overclocking ability, I would go with a chipset that isn't made by Nvidia, they aren't known to be the best OCers.

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Thanks all for the support and replies so far.

Current Mobo choice:

-ASUS P5N32-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

Rocky, thanks for the article. Not worth the money apparently.

Just wanted to hit on some points and probably ask more questions to try and rebuild my bit of hardware knowledge.

Remember Windows XP does NOT and will not ever support DX10 or higher.

But your system is good for expansion to Vista later.

I really did think about this, and hard. But the idea of getting accustomed and "moed-in" to 1TB of space, then trying to back things up for a reformat and Windows install seems like more trouble than it's worth. I also plan on doing this in one shot and doing NO work for at least the next two years, when I'll probably have to buy a second GPU.

The Graphics card is a must with 500Mb+ and the crop king is Nvidia 8800 GTX

Even over the 8800Ultra?

If you don't plan on going SLI I wouldn't suggest a mobo that supports it.

And if you are looking for overclocking ability, I would go with a chipset that isn't made by Nvidia, they aren't known to be the best OCers.

I'm curious as to "why?" on both of these (from anyone).

I want a mobo with SLI support as I said earlier: at some point, when Vista supports it, I'll probably go SLI (if I can fit it). For now, I'll just get a new big GPU.

Thanks again everyone.

ETA:

Although I would suggest if you are going to buy an after market cooler, get the best out there, a Thermaltake Ultra-120 Extreme. I could provide proof that it is the best, but I dont' want to find the charts right now.

Really? I've been reading that the Ninja is the best. I'd love to see those charts/proof, I want the best cooling possible. :) Not a challenge, I just want to make the best decison.

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i don't know if this has been said but 4gb can only be recognized my vista 64-bit 32-bit will only recognize 3, does having 3 gb, cause any problems.

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You don't need Vista to go 64 bit. XP comes in 32 and 64 bit versions.

Either way, 4 gigs of RAM will require a 64 bit OS to use it properly. There's nothing wrong with trying to run 4 gigs on a 32 bit OS, but you won't get full function. Not a big deal, if you are future proofing.

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Sooo... I could run 64bit XP, get all 4gb of RAM and SLI at the same time?

Hmmnn....

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Sooo... I could run 64bit XP, get all 4gb of RAM and SLI at the same time?

Hmmnn....

Do not get Xp 64 bit. Drivers are limited and (ask 2 of my members) game crashes are frequent.

You can do 4gb with xp if you use the /3gb switch. Problem is getting certified 4gb kits. Kingston certified the 2gb would work (they have a drop down with the board listed). Do not buy memory unless you know. One of our members cell got crucial balistics 2GB. Later he got another 2GB... same part # but with the LEDS. Would not work. Same memory specs.. .only difference was they lit up. Exchanged for 2 new sets before asking for refund.

Do you need the full terabyte immediatly? Load Vista to one drive and XP to the other (i did this for a bit). Instead of messing with the bootloader, when you load at the bios cover screen, press F8 and choose which drive you want. (have to remember though rather drive 1 has xp or vista on it)

Truthfully though i have not had any issues with GRAW2 with my rig whatsover. On my older pc though i did.

AS for chipset... Intel based don't do SLI with the newest chipsets. They have a deal with ATI (which funny enough is now AMD) for crossfire instead (yuck) SLI does work in Vista with some driver releases such as 162.44 beta but can be buggy still in some games.

Ageia physics is only worth it really if you play single player a lot. (and i still can't justify it but ... i'm a MP player)

Currently i am using Vista 32bit and no issues. With 64, all drivers are out with same versions as 32. One issue though with 64bit is you need a 64 bit compatible antivirus. And with 32 or 64bit versions they have to be Vista compliant.

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I made the mistake of buying 4x1GB DDR2 667 RAM for my latest rig (special ordered Corsair sticks so can't return 'em - no big deal as I may end up splitting the 4 sticks over 2 rigs in the future)

So ... like everyone above said, you will only take advantage of 4GB or RAM if you have a 64-bit OS, where you will likely run into driver "issues" like if you have an old webcam etc.

So - just get 2GB of RAM - I have 3 friends now that have gone quad-core and I don't think anyone has noticed any probs just running 2GB RAM.

Roco is right - Make sure you get a bigger size case as those 8800's are long - especially if you want SLI

Make sure you get a SATA DVD burner - likely not a big diff than an IDE one, but just "cooler" and no ugly IDE cable, and possibly theoretically better transfer rate - have you noticed a diff Roco? I got a SATA DVD ROM and SATA DVD burner in my new rig, and Windows installed really fast - but perhaps because it was just the Core 2

Also, do you know if all OCZ PSU's are made by PC Power & Cooling that they recently bought over? Make sure yours is, but I think the popular one is 750W

Finally, if you are not o/c'ing, I don't think it's really that necessary to get a 3rd party fan - the stock Intel fan is pretty good.

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Currently i am using Vista 32bit and no issues. With 64, all drivers are out with same versions as 32. One issue though with 64bit is you need a 64 bit compatible antivirus. And with 32 or 64bit versions they have to be Vista compliant.

The only thing you missed is if you went 64bit on Vista, then all the drivers for ever application have to be Microsoft certified, Vista 64 will not except none certified drivers (security measure of Vista 64). I agree with Roco Vista 32 bit runs well, no issues for me either and you can use none certified drivers.

I have 2.0 Tb of drive storage and it isn't 2x 1Tb drives, always put the OS on a smaller drive like a 250Gb & make the data drives like another 250Gb & a 500Gb, that's your 1Tb. I do what I think Roco said he did, I have XP pro 32bit on 1x250Gb, Vista 32bit on another 250Gb & 2x750Gb data drives. I switch between Vista & XP pro via bios (selecting boot drive). Best of both worlds DX10 Vista (fully compatible DX9) & DX9 Xp pro.

I agree with the other poster, ditch the stock cooler even if you do not over clock and get a good Zalman or other, the stock coolers have fins that are tight and trap dust fast and you'll be cleaning it every few months unless you live in a bubble.

8800 GTX, 8800GTX Ultra, 8800 GTX OC all the same 768Mb get any, I have the 8800GTX OC2 by BFG, excellent.

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Well, I'm getting closer. I've made some serious revisions:

Apevia X-Pleasure Case

Abit IP35 Pro Motherboard

EVGA GeForce 8800Ultra KO 76MB Video Card

Corsair XMS2 4GB Kit DDR2 00 @ PC2 6400

2x Western Digital Cavair SE16 750GB SATA Hard Drive

2x Western Digital Cavair SE16 250GB SATA Hard Drive

OCZ GameXStream 700W PSU

Scythe Ninja HS

Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatality Pro

Okay, so I'm seeing some incompatibility issues with the X-Fi card and Vista 64 (Oh, I've decided to add a partition of XP Pro 64 too - hence the two "smaller" drives). Anyone know anything about this?

I've also been told to reconsider my PSU and HS choice. I'm still working on those. :)

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I'll be honest with you, the hardware is sweet, but the choice of Vista or XP pro 64bit, it a waste, I'm well versed in the OS apps etc. and everyone I know dislikes Vista/ XP 64bit, always driver issues, always dll issues. till the whole thing is sorted, I'd stay away, but if you want to try it, go ahead.

I'd read this first ;)

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/6...ploringx64.mspx

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Well, I'm getting closer. I've made some serious revisions:

Apevia X-Pleasure Case

Abit IP35 Pro Motherboard

EVGA GeForce 8800Ultra KO 76MB Video Card

Corsair XMS2 4GB Kit DDR2 00 @ PC2 6400

2x Western Digital Cavair SE16 750GB SATA Hard Drive

2x Western Digital Cavair SE16 250GB SATA Hard Drive

OCZ GameXStream 700W PSU

Scythe Ninja HS

Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatality Pro

Okay, so I'm seeing some incompatibility issues with the X-Fi card and Vista 64 (Oh, I've decided to add a partition of XP Pro 64 too - hence the two "smaller" drives). Anyone know anything about this?

I've also been told to reconsider my PSU and HS choice. I'm still working on those. :)

X-fi vista drivers work great on my X-FI music. New cards also now come with Vista drivers. Abit? not really a fan of but maybe more of a personal opinion. Had 2 squadmates have issues with there Prescott versions that mis represented the temps... and was never fixed though confirmed by abit. They would shut off due to heat even though they were not close to the thresh hold.

Check WD's warranty. I haven't in a bit but was for a bit 1 year. Seagates running 5 year on theres.

btw nice case. I like that full tower better.

Currently i am using Vista 32bit and no issues. With 64, all drivers are out with same versions as 32. One issue though with 64bit is you need a 64 bit compatible antivirus. And with 32 or 64bit versions they have to be Vista compliant.

The only thing you missed is if you went 64bit on Vista, then all the drivers for ever application have to be Microsoft certified, Vista 64 will not except none certified drivers (security measure of Vista 64). I agree with Roco Vista 32 bit runs well, no issues for me either and you can use none certified drivers.

I have 2.0 Tb of drive storage and it isn't 2x 1Tb drives, always put the OS on a smaller drive like a 250Gb & make the data drives like another 250Gb & a 500Gb, that's your 1Tb. I do what I think Roco said he did, I have XP pro 32bit on 1x250Gb, Vista 32bit on another 250Gb & 2x750Gb data drives. I switch between Vista & XP pro via bios (selecting boot drive). Best of both worlds DX10 Vista (fully compatible DX9) & DX9 Xp pro.

I agree with the other poster, ditch the stock cooler even if you do not over clock and get a good Zalman or other, the stock coolers have fins that are tight and trap dust fast and you'll be cleaning it every few months unless you live in a bubble.

8800 GTX, 8800GTX Ultra, 8800 GTX OC all the same 768Mb get any, I have the 8800GTX OC2 by BFG, excellent.

Note also Viiper... vista will except non certified even if 64bit. Nvidia's beta drivers 162.44 are not certified and vista tells you but has an install anyway option.

Just tested it here at the shop.

Found Waranty info for the WD

Parts Warranty 3 years

Labor Warranty 3 years

Warranty Details Limited Warranty

For that model.

Seagate 750

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetai...ductCode=101447

5 years

LOL just realized you changed it to 4 drives!

Make sure you have enough SATA connections on your mainboard

The Asus i quoted has 6. If you do 2 SATA Burners, and 4 drives, your maxed.

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Viiiper,

So it would make more sense for me to have a dual-boot with XP Pro (32bit) and Vista (64bit - because I want it :) ) that will allow me to transition?

Roco,

I know Abit isn't as popular as ASUS or others. But, the reviews for this board are great, and it suits my needs perfectly. It seems like it should be just fine for my needs. But, who knows, things might (will) change between now and when I go to buy.

As far as the warranty. If anything is going to go wrong with a HD, it will do it soon and do it fast. By the time my return policy is over at NewEgg, I've already added my irreplacable data to it. Bottom line, after the 1year warranty is gone, if anything happens to that HD, I lose my data anyway. Unless the warranty covers data replacement, no sense in fretting over it. If it does however, please let me know. :)

Yeah, I doubled my space. :) The Abit Board has 6 SATAs, 2 e-SATAs and an IDE and FDD controller. So, with my parts... I still have room for two more internal HDs and two more... whatevers externally. Both my DVD drives are IDE. Why? I use them so infrequently I figured I'd stick with my tried and true method of good ole IDE. Seems to work just fine the few times I use them. Actually, on this laptop, the other day was the first time (in a year of ownership) I burned a CD.

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Viiiper,

So it would make more sense for me to have a dual-boot with XP Pro (32bit) and Vista (64bit - because I want it :) ) that will allow me to transition?

Roco,

I know Abit isn't as popular as ASUS or others. But, the reviews for this board are great, and it suits my needs perfectly. It seems like it should be just fine for my needs. But, who knows, things might (will) change between now and when I go to buy.

As far as the warranty. If anything is going to go wrong with a HD, it will do it soon and do it fast. By the time my return policy is over at NewEgg, I've already added my irreplacable data to it. Bottom line, after the 1year warranty is gone, if anything happens to that HD, I lose my data anyway. Unless the warranty covers data replacement, no sense in fretting over it. If it does however, please let me know. :)

Yeah, I doubled my space. :) The Abit Board has 6 SATAs, 2 e-SATAs and an IDE and FDD controller. So, with my parts... I still have room for two more internal HDs and two more... whatevers externally. Both my DVD drives are IDE. Why? I use them so infrequently I figured I'd stick with my tried and true method of good ole IDE. Seems to work just fine the few times I use them. Actually, on this laptop, the other day was the first time (in a year of ownership) I burned a CD.

I can answer VIIPERS... yes it would as i was doing that on my previous pc, as long as abit has a boot choice menu. (i would think that it does).

I have yet to see a e-sata drive lol... although i have seen many boards have the connector and i know they are available. Remember e-sata is not the same connector as a sata.

For the IDE... get yourself a 24" rounded cable. This will give you enough room to get to the top of the full tower plus restrict less airflow. If you are throwing a floppy in also get one for it. Get a UV activated so it looks cool in the lights. Only cost you about 30$ max for both.

I stated the warranty because it usually means reliability also. ;)

There are 2 drives we use here at work.. neither are maxtor

Seagate and WD. We sell less WD and the techs prefer the Seagates do to ...

Returns. We return about the same amount of both drives. But for evey 15 seagates we sell, we may sell 1 wd in a pc.

we however see more maxtors then anything come in from hp's or branded pc's with hard drive failures then any other drive.

Oh, the reviews on the abit look good from what i saw also... like i said part of it is personal preference and what i have heard.

We use asus here at work. HP's workstations are mainly asus boards (not the cheap ones) but special editions made for them.

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Note also Viiper... vista will except non certified even if 64bit. Nvidia's beta drivers 162.44 are not certified and vista tells you but has an install anyway option.

Just tested it here at the shop.

You can install uncertified drivers on Vista 64bit. but not for long

http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000...39288393,00.htm

http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsvistasecurity...ing-update.aspx

http://www.symantec.com/enterprise/securit..._on_window.html

P.s. I add

http://technologyexpert.blogspot.com/2007/...ertificate.html

This is new behavior for Microsoft OSes, in that you can only load digitally signed code into the kernel. No ifs, ands or buts. Theory was this would prevent rootkits from proliferating.

http://www.linchpinlabs.com/resources/atsiv/usage-design.htm

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I know we don't work for Microsoft but I think you can see as well as I, that a big company like MS wants to protect it's reputation and Product, they are mad as hell that the Digital certification can be circumvented. It will not be too long till MS puts a big boot into companies that allow things to happen to the premium baby (Vista 64bit).

All I'm saying is 64bit is there security flagship and they will go to any lengths to stop none certified DLL's or Drivers running through the kernel and that means Beta's Pirate hacks & the likes. I don't disagee that 64bit OS like Vista is not a joy but it will be with Ms permissions that their kernel (under a licence to the end user) gets to be able to run anything but what they consider valid.

For now I am staying away from OS 64bit and the joy of Vista & XP Pro on the 32bit OS is all I need to work (and Linux too). What I'm saying is placing 64bit OS Vista on your drive will be a means to an end, The end MS wants. ;)

P.s. On the subject of Hard drives, as I read in Roco's post, I'm with him, I only buy Seagate Barracuda's (I use to buy Western Digital, part of Quantum but too many failures) now only Diamond Max.

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