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Author Topic: What is system overhead cost for various OS  (Read 827 times)
K7NHB
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« on: January 02, 2006, 11:40:03 AM »

I'm trying to choose between OS Win 2000 (free - already have it), OS XP Pro (free - already have it), and XP Home (cost some $).

I have two compaq destop models. One is Pentium II at 350Mhz - it is now running win98SE. The other is Pentium III at 1Ghz Both can only handle up to 512MB RAM. Though they have less now, I plan to upgrade the RAM.

I hear that different operating systems have more or less system overhead. These to machines will be dedicated to ham software and do not have to talk to each other.

So I'm thinking that XP Home for the 1Ghz machine will take the fewest system resources, leaving more power to the the applications. Is there that much difference between XP home and XP Pro to worry about?

I figure I'd keep the Pentium II at Win98SE as I don't think i has the horsepower to push OS XP around.

Thank you and 73,
Paul
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WA9SVD
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2006, 10:55:56 PM »

Most of the Ham software will work with moderate resources, unless you are multi-multi-tasking on the machines at the same time.
   I'd put the XP Pro on the P III machine; it should run fine with 512 MB, but try not to use less; I would definitely add the memory necessary to max it out. For the P II, I'd be tempted to keep it with Win98SE for now, if that works OK.  It's getting old by computer standards, and even XP Home might not like some of the hardware or software you inevitably want to add.
    But again, if you are just running Ham software, the "overhead" probably isn't a major concern.  (And you'll get a gazillion opinions on the matter, I'm sure.)
    After a certain amount of memory, you reach a point of "diminishing return," where additional memory has less and less effect on performance.  512 MB should suffice for most Ham software, and even many "other world" programs, unless you run many programs at once.
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2006, 11:39:08 PM »

Windows 2000, XP home, and XP professional all use essentially the same kernel, so their overhead with comparable application loading will be the same.

Windows 98SE is the last of the Windows 9X family, all of which suffer a terrible architectural flaw: all applications must share fixed-sized pools of resources for graphics and other functions. The size of these pools cannot be increased by adding memory, and Windows becomes progressively slow and more unstable as the available resources decline - hence the need to reboot at least daily. Assuming you have sufficient memory to run XP and XP supports your hardware, the best bang for the buck improvements in both performance and robustness are achieved by upgrading from Windows 9X to XP.

Among the Windows 9X family, 98SE was the most stable; Windows ME and 95 were the least stable.

     73,

         Dave, AA6YQ
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2006, 07:13:04 AM »

But, if you really want the lowest system overhead, the only choice is Linux!

Dennis KG4RUL
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K7NHB
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2006, 10:58:53 AM »

Sorry Dennis, between Mac OS 1.3.9 - waiting for a better Tiger Version to be released - and OS XP, that's enough operationg systems. I'll keep Win98SE on the Pentium II because XP might be a little too much for it to push around. Because previous posts indicated little difference between Win 2K, XP Home and XP Pro, I'll put XP Pro on the Pentium III machine and max it out with 512MB RAM.

My CW and PSK/Olivia disgital software already works fine on the Pentium II, but I do run into the resource limit when also using other rig control software. Between the two computers and 10 serial ports I should be covered.

73,
Paul
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KC2MMI
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2006, 09:48:27 AM »

Paul, as Dave said W2K, XP/Pro, XP/Home use the same core code. W2K is technically NT version 5.0 while XP (both versions) are NT5.1, it is only a "dot one" change to some features in the OS.

XP/Home is called XP/Castrati by some of us because it has had just a few small things taken out. Like features for remote access, networking support (domains), and security (encrypted file system). It is designed for the home user who misses Win9x and wants to play games or do whatever on *one* stand-alone machine that will never be critical, as a way to placate the Win9x users who didn't want to pay the extra cost of upgrading to NT.

As to overhead, with any version of NT, dig around a little online and look into the administrative "SERVICES" settings in the control panel. By disabling the services that you don't need, you lower the overhead and yes, you can make a system substantially faster. If you do this, make Real Damn Sure that you buy a notepad or steno pad and WRITE DOWN all the changes you made in the services, and what they might affect. That's because the services are "presumed" to be on by default, and then forgotten by the user. So maybe in two years you decide you need to send faxes...and the damned fax tool doesn't work. You'll never remember that's because you turned off fax services--unless you make a note.<G>

The web sites that gleefully say "turn off this and that" to speed up an NT box, often don't warn users that can come back to bite you.
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K7NHB
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2006, 06:59:13 PM »

"dig around a little online and look into the administrative "SERVICES" settings in the control panel."
KC2MMI,

Thank you for your post - just want I was looking for. I have my shovel ready, but all the trees seem to have a ribbon wrapped around them. Which one has the pot of gold... If you or others have some recommended "go faster" links, that would be a starting place.

But I know Mr. Google and I will be careful to record my changes. I already learned that lesson when I forgot the id/password to my router. Yes - it was written down, but apparently not inside the user guide.

73,
Paul
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KC2MMI
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2006, 07:49:45 PM »

Paul-
 Offhand...I couldn't point you to any particular services. Check on the web, then look at each one, see if it seems relevant to you. For instance, if a computer really will be "stand alone" you can kill networking and fax services. The event log may be unnecessary if you have a stable system and aren't interested in the logs. Hibernation services aren't needed if you eaither leave the machine on or shut it down hard. The print spooler, QOS (internet connection bandwidth sharing), remote access, telephony...you can kill a lot of things if you don't need them.

They'll still be there, or you can set them to a "manual" startup instead of default enabling them, or "automatic" to let them start up only when something calls them. You can shut, say, one or two per week, see if anything objects, so if something starts having problems you only have one or two places to look.

Just as long as you remember what you've done. Which is why a memo pad on a chain hanging on the monitor isn't as extreme as it might sound.<G>
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K7VO
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2006, 03:11:04 PM »

> But, if you really want the lowest system overhead, the > only choice is Linux!

Dennis, I'm going to disagree.  I think the system overhead cost of FreeBSD is very comparable to Linux.  Either one is good.  Windows, OTOH, is not, at least not in any recent incarnation.

72,
Caity
K7VO/9
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N6PSE
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2006, 01:06:50 PM »

Linux may have low system overhead, but it is not for beginners. If someone does not know any form of UNIX and just wants to do things out of the box, Windows XP is the way to go. If they want to learn UNIX and experience the challenges of getting UNIX to recognize their hardware, Linux is a good place to start.

Paul N6PSE
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K7VO
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2006, 08:30:28 PM »

Paul, N6PSE:

The way you describe Linux was true five or ten years ago, but it is certainly NOT true today.  I've recently done installs of Ubuntu Breezy Badger and Fedora Core 4, both on desktop and laptop systems.  Ubuntu on my Toshiba  laptop was a breeze.  Everything was recognized by the installer.  Even wireless worked after installation with no configuration by me.  Fedora was almost as good.  Wireless required downloading a driver (that happens on Windows too, BTW) and didn't correctly identify my Epson Stylus C66 printer (very current model) but I was able to select my printer from a list and it worked from that moment on.

Linux isn't UNIX.  It's a completely separate code base.  The progress it has made in the last few years is truly amazing.  Even in the GUI I find KDE and Gnome to both be ahead of Windows.  Some of the "innovations" Microsoft has touted for Vista have been available to MacOS and Linux users for quite some time.

Linux also passed the Mom test.  My mother is a retired college professor and is decidedly non-technical.  She's in her late 60s.  She finds nothing difficult about it at all.  Of course she absolutely never touches the command line.  She just points and clicks much as she would in Windows.

Again, I think your criticism was valid once upon a time, but not today.

73,
Caity
K7VO/9
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2006, 04:50:24 AM »

As far as SUSE Linux, all I did was to make the CD-ROM drive bootable in the BIOS, insert the SUSE Disk and sit back.  The system detected and installed SMP for my dual Pentium CPU's. It also correctly setup my soundcard, modem, CD-RW disk, video card and streaming tape drive with no drama at all.

Dennis KG4RUL
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VK2ICJ
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2006, 09:11:53 PM »

Another vote for Linux here.   I have Suse 10.0 installed on an old IBM netvista.  SuSe correctly found my video card, sound card, aftermarket DVDburner, wireless card, and even my monitor.  SuSe (as with other Distros) has the complete office suite in it that rivals if not beats MS office products.  I switched because I was tired of forking out $$$$ for virus definitions and firewalls  all to find my laptop decimated still by a sneaky bug that got inside and wrecked havoc.  My Mac has run since 1999 with no system crashes and never a need to reboot.  I feel Linux has the same if not better stable platform.  The new linux Distros are easy to install and even easier to use.  I can't believe I didn't switch earlier for my PC's.  Get one of the live CD's   they can boot the whole OS without touching your HD.  When your done you just close out and remove the CD.  Your HD wasn't touched and your windows is still there.  Try it out.  

http://hamshack-hack.sourceforge.net/

Here is a live CD you can download that is preloaded with a bunch of Ham software already installed.  

Best of all as with most things Linux  it's  FREE.

73

Chris VK2ICJ
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