How to build a NEW FAST XP box

Discussion in 'Windows XP General Discussion' started by mact37, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. mact37

    mact37

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    I use a number of old applications which were written for W2K and updated for XP. but have since vanished from the commercial world.

    One, Corel Ventura Publisher with it's database publishing module shines in this area and can do what no other app, from Adobe or anyone else, can do> it can pull in raw data from a database, link photos referenced in the records and display them locked to the correct data entry, handles footers and headers based on page content, and can impose the final pages in a vast array of different arrangements. ID cannot do this, not even with help from many hundreds of dollars of plugins.

    W10 has "advanced" enough now that it is not letting this application work properly.

    So my first choice is to build a new XP-only box that is as fast as I can get. Maybe even using SATA 3 SSDs or AHCI M2 drives via a pci-e interface. I know I'd be limited to 4G ram.

    I have on hand an old MoBo with Core2Dup chips...ASUS P5G41T-M LX which has an ATA drive socket as well as several sata (spec unkown)

    But I wonder if there is a way with new components to build somethign quicker thasn a Core2Dup 3.2 chip can power.
     
    mact37, Apr 28, 2019
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  2. mact37

    Jody Thornton

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    My HP xw8600 uses dual Quad-Core Xeons. It smokes - but I've graduated to 2012 and I use Windows 8. But it does support XP.
     
    Jody Thornton, Apr 28, 2019
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  3. mact37

    mact37

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    Yes, that's about like my 2008 Mac Pro. twin 2.8 processors, etc.. Dead end, hardware wise.

    Thanks for the suggestion as it is an economical solution. <G>
     
    mact37, Apr 29, 2019
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  4. mact37

    mact37

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    I think the solution is a pci-e card (that seems to use that pesky little pci-e slot that has an internal ATA 133 pin connector as well as esata external plugs. For $30. New from Amazon. As of 4/29/19, the item is apparently still available. I will order one unless some alert individual warns me off in the next day or so.

    https://www.amazon.com/Syba-SD-PEX5...nd+sata+ports&qid=1556499013&s=gateway&sr=8-3

    I plan to be re-missioning my main W10 using its Z77 LGA1155 mobo with an unlocked i7-2600K chip (currently my W10 work machine, but there have been mysterious problems in the last week that suggest to me that MS is no longer as "respectful" of "legacy" application as they once claimed to be).

    Other attributes of this box are a pair of AHCI "blade drives" which the bios sees and boots from, that are about 3x as fast as a regular SSD. (but only about half as fast as the latest nVME blade drives. Oh well, suffering is part of my job description I suppose<G> ). I don't expect XP to boot from them, but I do have several IDE ATA 133 drives suitable as a boot drive while applications can load off onto the other drives.

    I think. Please correct my thinking if you feel it is not going to work.

    Can someone find the flaw in my plan? I know there MUST be at least one, after all LIFE is what it is and all does not usually turn out well at the end. My cats know this, and they sleep about 20 hours a day. While we feed and pet them and ....<G>
     
    mact37, Apr 29, 2019
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  5. mact37

    Sixthofmay

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    You can build new- the gamers know hardware that's compatible (search Youtube and Google).

    Or speed up your used gear. I choose the latter as it's cheaper and fast enough for my needs. Most brutal CPU task I do is 1080p H264 encoding on a Core3Quad 3GHz and it's fast enough for my needs. What I've mainly had to optimize is the the virtual memory system on two of my XP boxes, and 1 of my Windows 7 boxes.

    If your commit charge ever goes over 1.5GB, you'll have minor to major delays from page faults. It depends on what you are doing on the box. In my case I had HUGE delays when finished editing mpeg2 HDTV video with multiple instances of VideoRedo (v2.5.7.600 lets you run multinstance). Every weekend, I may have 10 to 20 instances of VRD running, each loaded with a different 4 to 20GB mpg video file, all reading/writing at the same time, and a commit charge around 4GB. Yet I have zero paging delays in other apps. How? I put my 5GB pagefile.sys on a 5GB Superspeed RAMDisk. So other apps may be page faulting like crazy, but it doesn't matter when you have a blazing fast pagefile.sys.

    A fundamental misunderstanding most folks have is about how Windows uses RAM. It's designed around a virtual memory system. Your apps (including Windows Explorer) don't run in RAM. They run in 4KB sized spaces (pages) allocated by Windows in the pagefile.sys on your harddisk. RAM is used to cache the pages for faster access. Linux and Mac are similarly designed.

    Restated- Windows runs applications from the harddisk, and caches that harddisk space in 4KB sized pages in RAM. The most recently used pages are the ones that stay in RAM. When your app runs, each page is checked to see where it is. If it's in RAM, great, your app runs fast. If the page hasn't been accessed in a while, Windows says wait, I have to read it off the disk into RAM before the app can continue running.

    Sounds crazy, but this was designed when RAM was much more scarce than harddisk space. Plus there are some poorly written apps that request way more RAM than they actually need, and a virtual memory system handles them just fine.

    The way you FORCE Windows to always use RAM for your apps is to brute force it by having your pagefile.sys on a RAMDisk. Yes there's some minor overhead from the virtual memory system but paged out apps run almost as fast had they been in the main system RAM (copying 4KB pages of RAM to RAM is thousands of times faster than copying the same from disk to RAM).

    I was the first to post about this technique in 2002 (on 2CPU.com and Storagereview forums), using Windows 2000 and Cenatek's RAMDiskNT. I got the idea to try it from the Commodore 64 GEOS graphical OS, which used the same technique- a virtual memory system paging to a RAMDisk. The test case was opening Notepad while copying like 5GB of files. 20 seconds when pagefile.sys was on a spinning disk. 1/2 second when pagefile.sys was on a RAMDisk. Keep in mind I had a Pentium III and 768MB to work with.

    On XP, in 2011 I started seeing a commit charge over 1.5GB, and everything was having paging delays when ever I'd move/copy 2 or more GB of files (I do this all day with HDTV recordings). I knew immediately what the issue and solution was, but RAMDiskNT didn't load soon enough to put the pagefile.sys on it. A Google search showed the gamers discovered the trick around 2008 but the RAMDisk that worked on XP was by Superspeed:

    This thread will get you started:
    https://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/612086-xp-pagefile-on-a-ram-disk/page/4/

    It is not a trivial mod. You'll need 8GB to try. I have to study the docs and files for days before implementing. You'll need Superspeed RAMDiskPlus v11.5.390.0 32bit. The latest version doesn't work with the mod (Superspeed claims it does). There are 1 or 2 other RAMDisks that may work with the mod. Those program names escape me at the moment. I was able to buy a license for v11.5.390.0 3 years ago. They didn't understand why I'd want to use an older version (idiot logic of newer is always better) and it took some digging on their part to produce a working license file.

    I've used the mod on my main XP32 box since 2011, and not a single OS crash. I only reboot about once a month when GDI leaks force me to.

    I also use it on an XP32 box I call DXP with 6 spinning RAID1 arrays and 3 SSDs (one is 2TB), for analog audio and video recording. It has a M-Audio Delta1010 rackmount soundcard and a Hauppauge HDTV/analog card (I'm only using the analog portion). I also run 2 XP VMs on the box. Commit charge is usually around 4GB but recordings are always perfect.

    About your CPU- Get a Core2Quad 3GHz CPU from eBay. AFAIK, all Core2Duo boards support the Quad. Make sure to get the correct socket CPU for your system (there are several variations, study the Wiki page).

    With my DC7900 boxes, I've been able to inexpensively upgrade to a 3GHz Quad by buying a non-working Core2Quad DC7900 from eBay and swapping the CPUs. The HP DC7900 comes in several case styles, but all use the same motherboard and CPU socket. The most I paid was about $40 (with shipping).

    If the pagefile on a RAMDisk mod doesn't work for you, your next best option is a dedicated 500GB or larger SSD. Run only a single pagefile.sys and put that on your dedicated SSD. The faster the better (M2 SSDs). Anything smaller than 500GB, and the drive may not last long due to the limited write cycles on MLC SSD drives.

    I have yet to figure out the pagefile RAMDisk mod on Win7 so I use a dedicated SSD (SATA) for the pagefile on my main file server. SnapRAID is brutal during a sync with 24 drives and even 16GB RAM isn't enough. Some days were taking longer than 24 hours to sync. I moved the pagefile to a dedicated SSD and syncs are now done in under 6 hours. Keep in mind it was on the boot SSD previously. and the only difference now was that it was on a dedicated I/O channel (yes there's tons of overhead with 4KB read/writes).

    Make sure to optimize the sector alignment on all your SSDs as XP doesn't have that feature (I use Paragon's Align tool).

    AHCI is ok if your system is stable with it. The Intel ICH9H chipset can have random BSOD issues with AHCI enabled. After suffering that issue for 2 years despite trying every driver Intel released, I now run all my Core2Duo and Core2Quad XP boxes in legacy IDE mode. With SSD drives, I don't see any performance difference. Windows 7 is a different story- definitely faster with AHCI enabled and I've never had stability issues on ICH9H systems (Win7 is using a different driver than XP).
     
    Sixthofmay, May 15, 2019
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  6. mact37

    mact37

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    I have an i7-3770K box with 24GB ram running W7. And XP mode, but I find XP mode VM too confusing for my 77-year-old mind.<G>

    Though I ought to delve more into it and understand.

    So I set up a dual boot. W7 and XP. I loaded XP (sp3 with sata included) onto a separate rotating HDD on this machine. Used EasyBCD to manage the dual boot. After considerably more hassle than I expected (the OS wouldn't install properly time after time until it did, none of the device drivers on the base system were available when it is off! (Duh!). B3coming extremely adept at rebooting one to load the other, I managed to get it up and running with a kludged network connection. (to be fixed, I hope, tomorrow).

    I have never seen XP run this fast. And I've used computers since CPM, W3 the day it came out officially, and updated each opportunity: 10 seconds to boot. Even after installing drivers for everything I could identify. I used to see 2-5 minutes! Don't know if it is the CPU or the general lack of clutter in the system. Either way, I'll take it.

    And I effing LOVE that hillside photo…which doesn't look like that now, with vineyards all over it…and MS paid the photog 2 Mil for all rights.

    The apps I plan to use are from the W2k or just new XP era. They run like a bat! (out of...)

    The system seems to utilize all 8 cores in the i7 (4 physical, 4 logical…even with the CPU boosted to 4.2GHz form 3.4 -- courtesy the ASUS mobo) but the apps probably don't because that concept was well after they were hatched.

    Because this is an "insurance" or backup system should my main system stutter (as it did earlier in the month) I am contemplating building an only XP box from available parts as a still 'nother backup system.
     
    mact37, May 23, 2019
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  7. mact37

    mact37

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    I am using a dataram ram disk which sets the RD at 4GB (max in the "discontinued" freebie version, and was set up for an XP box with 8GB ram). Have not tried tweaking anything.

    The dataram ramdisk works really well on W10 (but using as paid version) and W7. I use it mostly for PDF creation (printing a file to Acrobat, or to Postscript then distilling it to PDF, etc) and as a Windows print spooler location. That really speeds up printing! Even the freebie version.

    I have decided that my final level backup will be my old Sony laptop which came with Vista and now is running W10. It has 4GB ram and a 250 SSD, and I have an XP installer with SATA included along with SP3. Cheaper than buying a new case and such to build a new box...solely to be used in case my W10 installation of the important software craps out, and then the XP system on the dual boot box ALSO craps out (don't know why it would, but...) then the laptop could rescue the project.
     
    mact37, May 24, 2019
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  8. mact37

    Katie Boundary

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    The very best, most badass, ultimate platform for which XP drivers exist was Intel's X79 chipset, coupled with LGA 2011 (original, NOT v3) and the Ivy Bridge architecture. The most advanced graphics architecture for which XP drivers exist is Maxwell, and the most powerful Maxwell-based card was the Geforce Titan X (the Titan, Titan Black, and Titan Z were all Kepler-based). Ergo, here is your ultimate badass world-ending XP machine:

    Motherboard: www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813131804
    CPU: www.newegg.com/intel-core-i7-4th-gen-core-i7-4960x/p/N82E16819116938
    RAM: four of these www.newegg.com/adata-1gb-240-pin-ddr3-sdram/p/N82E16820211449
    Graphics: www.newegg.com/zotac-geforce-gtx-titan-x-zt-90401-10p/p/1FT-000M-001J7

    Chassis, power supply, hard drives, and other bullshit: whatever you want. It's not like driver compatibility is a huge issue for any of these components. If you opt for SATA components, just set your SATA controller from AHCI mode to IDE mode in BIOS and you're good to go.
     
    Katie Boundary, May 29, 2019
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  9. mact37

    Chiron

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    I gave it a try but...

    "This item is currently out of stock and it may or may not be restocked
    OUT OF STOCK"
    (for everything but the graphic card)

    Not really encouraging, isn't it? :(
     
    Chiron, May 29, 2019
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  10. mact37

    Elizabeth23

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    Elizabeth23, May 29, 2019
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  11. mact37

    Katie Boundary

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    Katie Boundary, May 30, 2019
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  12. mact37

    trimis

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    Not exactly what you are asking, but if you use XPlite (https://www.litepc.com/xplite.html) to jettison some or all of the bloatware/crapware in XP, that should also speed things up.
     
    trimis, Jun 25, 2019
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  13. mact37

    trimis

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    I'm gradually starting to rethink my AMD-based custom build, but not familiar with the intricacies of Intel components. Are there any XP Pro friendly Intel architecture motherboards without the TPM module...if so, which would you recommend as the best? I don't have big needs: video streaming sans the buffering, occasional GIMP or Photoshop work, two or three browsers open at once to surf the internet, and so on.

    About my only hangup is I definitely do not like the 'Trusted Computing' crap, DRM/HDCP, etc., and designed my build to avoid that rot. I went for the Biostar V6803GS52 Geoforce 6800 and ViewEra V151HV-B specifically to reject compliance.
     
    trimis, Jun 25, 2019
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  14. mact37

    Computer semi-expert

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    The quickest, cheapest way to get this done is to upgrade the RAM in your main PC (i.e. add as much extra RAM as you would use in a new XP system), make sure you have enough disk space free, and install VirtualBox, VMware, or something similar. I realize that this is not your first choice, but it will likely cost you under $50 instead of the thousand(s) of dollars to build a new PC.
     
    Computer semi-expert, Jun 25, 2019
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