Always, always there is the quest for more speed from my computer. I admit it ... I'm impatient and I like to have a fast computer. What geek doesn't?
So ... with that in mind, I went down the path of my yearly system upgrade. It's not as radical as last years (when I got a new processor, motherboard and memory), but the performance improvements are still dramatic.
You see, I've always wanted to have a dual processor system. More processor ... more power ... more speed. And, while many average computer users really wouldn't be able to take advantage of a dual proc system, I always knew that I'd find a way. Actually, there have been many times that I've wanted dual proc ... like when I'm doing something that's CPU-intensive (like compressing or decompressing large VPC's) and it ate all the processor cycles. When that happens, you can't do much until the operation finishes. Not a lot of fun.
So ... when I bought my motherboard last year, I did so quite deliberately ... and I chose a Socket939 board so that I could upgrade to the promised AMD Athlon 64 Dual Core processors when they released ... with only a BIOS update. And that's exactly what I did. I hooked myself up with an AMD Athlon64 X2 Dual Core Processor ... the Athlon64 X2 4400+ with 2 2.2 GHz cores. If you remember, last year I got an Athlon64 3500+, which as 1 core running at 2.2 Ghz. The new one also has 2 1 MB L2 Caches, compared to 1 512 KB L2 cache on the 3500+.
So what's the result? I've been running the new processor for about 2 weeks now and I have to say that I'm just tickled by it. Not only is it just plain fast ... I can more effectively multi-task when doing CPU intensive operations (yes, I specifically tried that!) The only thing that has been an issue has been Virtual PC ... and this caused me quite a bit of consternation as I run a LOT of VPC's and this was certainly a big reason to get the dual core (not that the VPC could use them, but so I can do other things at the same time). Certain VPC's would BSOD with an issue in Processr.sys ... DRIVER_UNLOADED_WITHOUT_CANCELING_PENDING_OPERATIONS. Now, I agree, this doesn't seem like a very nice thing for a driver to do, to unload wihtout taking care of it's pending operations, but I was somewhat disappointed. I did, howver, find a solution. There are 2 things that you can do:
1. Boot in safe mode and let the processor driver update. This worked ... but I didn't try re-running the VPC on my laptop, where I fear I'd have to do the same thing.
2. Disable the driver. This is described at http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2005/10/24/484461.aspx ... this works as well and is now the solution that I use on all of my VPC's.