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View Full Version : Is Windows XP Pro worth the extra money?



mufty
04-29-2003, 07:26 PM
I intend to upgrade to Windows XP from Windows 98 SE, but I'm having a tough time deciding upon which version to go for. I initially thought of the Pro version, but after reading around it seems to be geared towards high-end users. I mainly use my PC for graphics work in LightWave and CorelDraw/PhotoPaint, albeit in a hobbyist capacity.

Does the Pro version offer much of an advantage in terms of performance (in relation to LightWave) over the Home version? I'm attempting to streamline my system, but I know the Home version of XP is rather bloated. Is it the same with the Pro version?

Apologies for dragging up a familiar topic (I know similar topics cropped up on the old forum). I used the search facility, but couldn't really find anything related to my question.

legomanww
04-29-2003, 10:38 PM
I'm also looking at getting XP from 98se. I'm also wondering the same thing, is it worth the extra money for a hobby user? I've only got one processor, and it isn't on a network. I haven't really seen much that would be worth it, but I don't know.

MorituriMax
04-30-2003, 12:19 AM
Well, I heard that dual monitor support is in Pro but not Home..

I have XP Pro and I have to say it's light years better than ME.

Matt
04-30-2003, 03:50 AM
XP Pro has better security and more networking support, but performance wise should be identical.

so unless you need those extra features . . .

having said that Pro seems to ship with less of the dross that Home has which might make it a little leaner.

I'd go for Pro!

mufty
04-30-2003, 03:24 PM
Thanks for the replies. I don't know if this helps legomanww any, but I managed to do an XP test earlier today. I borrowed my father's Win XP Home Edition disc and did a clean install onto my old HD (can't activate it though). The Raytrace benchmark scene rendered in 117 seconds on XP and 127 seconds on Win 98 SE. This was on the following system:

Gigabyte GA-8PE667 motherboard
P4 2.53 GHz (533 FSB)
256 MB 333MHz DDR RAM
ABIT Siluro GF4 Ti 4200 128MB RAM
13 GB ATA-33 HD (Win XP installation)
80 GB ATA-100 HD (Win 98 SE installation) <-- my regular system drive.

I'm inclined to go for XP Pro, but if I go for the Home Edition the money saved will allow me to increase my RAM to 512 MB. Any suggestions about which upgrade option I should go for would be very much appreciated.

MGuerra
04-30-2003, 05:37 PM
Only Windows XP Pro supports dual processors, so if you're running "dual", you'll want to pass on Home.

legomanww
04-30-2003, 05:45 PM
Glad to hear you did a test. I like the fact that it was faster with XP. I'm definitely going to do a clean install, because I got my computer used, and was unable to reinstall windows. Can you do a clean install with the upgrade version, or do you have to get the full one to do a clean install?

My system is similar to yours, a little slower:

ECS L4S8A2 motherboard
P4 2.4 GHz (533 FSB)
256 MB 266MHz DDR RAM
Verto GF4 MX 420 64MB RAM
6 GB ATA-33 HD (Win 98 SE installation)
20 GB ATA-100 HD (everyting else, including lightwave)

Got 148.4 seconds on raytrace, with a few small programs running.

mufty
04-30-2003, 06:21 PM
Yes, you can do a clean install with the upgrade version, but you need your original Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000 disc to verify that you're eligible for the upgrade.

My father upgraded straight over Windows ME and apart from a few teething troubles (largely solved by re-installing certain programs and updating a few drivers), his system is now a lot more stable.

I performed the test with no other programs running in Win 98. I tried the same with XP, but only stopped the programs I recognised...I wasn't sure what would happen if I stopped them all.

After a bit more research I went for the Pro version.

videoblaze
04-30-2003, 08:30 PM
XP Pro gives you dual processor support, file system encryption, remote system management, access to tools for backup, etc. If you buy a backup tool and one other tool you will spend as much or more $$ than the Home - Pro price difference. Some people prefer to buy their own backup and system tools from other vendors, etc. . . it's all about choice and the price of your choices ;-)

I doubt that you'll see much difference in application performance, except for rendering on a dual processor system.

As for the comments on upgrading from 98/Me to Pro, you'll have to reinstall most of your 'big' applications because you're moving to an OS that hails from the NT/2000 lineage. In such circumstances I find it less painful in the long run to use the clean install approach. Using an upgrade approach your feel it will be faster, but as you get deeper into the process finding all the applications and drivers that still need to be reinstalled with their NT/2000/XP compatable counterparts tends to errode any of the time savings.

Again, it's all about choice, your choice.

VWTornado
05-01-2003, 08:43 AM
I upgraded from 98SE to XP Pro quite a while ago and I'm sooo glad I did. XP Pro is a lot more stable...all my programs work on it (except one sound editing program) and everything seems to run great on XP. Even doing the graphics and stuff as a hobby as you say you are, I would really recommend XP Pro. Just because of all the extra features and support it has over Home edition. If you can find someone that is a student (or teacher), you can go to www.journeyed.com and order the XP Pro upgrade for $99. Not bad at all for what you are getting.

mastermesh
05-01-2003, 09:00 AM
The main advantage of xp pro is that it has iis and dual processor support. If you don't plan to have a website on your own pc then go with home as it's cheaper and has a LOT less overhead. You can manually turn off some of the overhead processes in pro, but what's the point in having them if you don't use them?

I have one pc with dual boot xp pro, Windows 98, and Mandrake and another with xp home. The xp Home holds Lightwave and I purposefully formated it to be that way so that I don't overrun the pc with a lot of wasted space that the xp pro would have used up that I can now use for saving more lwo files and renders :)

VWTornado
05-01-2003, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by mastermesh
The xp Home holds Lightwave and I purposefully formated it to be that way so that I don't overrun the pc with a lot of wasted space that the xp pro would have used up that I can now use for saving more lwo files and renders :)

Thats why I have 150 Gigs of hard drive space. ;)

legomanww
05-01-2003, 09:32 AM
I am a student, and that is also where I got Lightwave.

Sounds like XP pro is a good choice, especially since it is the same price for the upgrade with the discount.

I'm going to have to get another hard drive anyways, to replace the current 6 GB ATA/33.

Thanks for the advice!

VWTornado
05-01-2003, 09:40 AM
Originally posted by legomanww
I'm going to have to get another hard drive anyways, to replace the current 6 GB ATA/33.

Thanks for the advice!

No problem. Also, www.tigerdirect.com has 70 GB hard drives for like $99 if you wanna check those out.

MorituriMax
05-01-2003, 12:00 PM
I think if you are going for a new hard drive as well, try www.newegg.com

You can get the full XP Pro SP1 for 143$ when you buy hardware with the order, like a hard drive. Was a pretty good deal and they may still have it going.

mastermesh
05-02-2003, 01:14 PM
Get an external hd with usb connection. I have one of those from Maxtor for saving the permanant stuff on. If your os crashes, your main hd goes dead and stuff is deleted, but your nice little external hd is still there holding all the goodies that you stored on it, even if you have to reinstall the entire os! :) You can get a nice external 40 gig for about 150.00 if you know where to look or a 200 gb one for about 250.00 - 300.00.

VWTornado
05-02-2003, 02:13 PM
why would you lose the data just cause the os crashes? couldn't you just pop that HD into a new setup and copy the files off it? i lost a bunch just recently, but that was because the HD failed, not the OS. :(

videoblaze
05-02-2003, 03:07 PM
Why lose any data, do a backup. If you hate backups, use a drive imaging tool like Drive Image from PowerQuest, or Ghost from Symantec.

As for USB, unless it's USB 2.0, forget it. USB 1.0/1.1 is way to slow for practical HD use, almost as slow as a floppy or parallel port drive. Yes, it is external data storage but so is burning copies of your data CD-R. Point is there are a lot of ways to save your data and bacon, but if you don't use them, you lose.

As for external storage, I prefer to FireWire on my PC's, all the speed of USB2.0 (before it was available) and the traffic is handled by the interface and not all routed through the CPU (sorry Intel, I don't buy into your scheme). You can save files, etc, and still use your PC for LW work.

VWTornado
05-02-2003, 04:24 PM
Originally posted by videoblaze
As for external storage, I prefer to FireWire on my PC's, all the speed of USB2.0 (before it was available) and the traffic is handled by the interface and not all routed through the CPU (sorry Intel, I don't buy into your scheme). You can save files, etc, and still use your PC for LW work.

We have a bunch of Firewire drives on the MACs here at work and they are all JUNK. Id say 50% of them have had fatal crashes and are paper weights now. Both by the same company too. :( After all the issues with the Firewire here at work, I refuse to use a Firewire HD on my home PC.

videoblaze
05-02-2003, 08:57 PM
Sorry to hear you had such bad luck with the drives. Me and my colleagues live by the things, so I guess mileage varies.:rolleyes:

If the problem was the drive mechanism crashing, then blame the HDD manufacturer, not FireWire (IEEE 1394). If the FireWire interface chip-set bit the dust, then blame the maker. Either way it's up to the user to decide how much CPU horsepower they want involved in file transfers.

I'm biased towards PCs, but admit that the Intel idea of running everything they can through the CPU is too rudamentory of an architecture -- it harkens back to the days of the Radio Shack TRS-80 computer where the CPU was used to de-bounce the keyboard! I surprised they didn't use it to regulate the power supply too :D

-- OandO

legomanww
05-05-2003, 12:00 AM
Well, I went ahead and bought XP Home Full. I reformatted my hard drive, and installed it fresh.

It runs great, and freezes less, I don't think that there is a whole lot in pro that would be of any use to me.

Thanks for the advice.

MorituriMax
05-05-2003, 12:48 AM
Heathen!

Heheheh, I'm glad the Home version works good for you..

VWTornado
05-05-2003, 09:09 AM
Originally posted by legomanww
Well, I went ahead and bought XP Home Full. It runs great, and freezes less, I don't think that there is a whole lot in pro that would be of any use to me.

Thanks for the advice.

Home or Pro, XP is way better than 98 or 2000. :cool: Glad XP is working well for you.

mufty
05-05-2003, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by legomanww
Well, I went ahead and bought XP Home Full. I reformatted my hard drive, and installed it fresh.

It runs great, and freezes less, I don't think that there is a whole lot in pro that would be of any use to me.

Thanks for the advice.

Good to hear, especially about the freezing issue :-) That's one of the main reasons for my upgrade to XP.