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1- You should be able to use it, but it won't take advantage of the Quad cores in the way that CS3's multiprocessing would.
2- Windows XP 32-bit's max RAM is 4GB (2 gigs per-process). Install all 4 if you can.
3- I think so? I haven't run Vista yet, so I can't confirm.
Will it take advantage of the quad cores in some way... and what version of AE really started taking advantage of Quad core... Maybe I can get an earlier version that takes full advatage of quad core
Look into Nucleo Pro. Your quadcore computer will benefit from it, similar to CS3 multiprocessing, but with more functionality.
Premiere might be okay under Vista, but don't count on it. Photoshop will probably run without problem. Deal breaker - AE 6.5 won't run under Vista. I think you will have major crashes and won't be able to import anything... Might be worth installing XP, keep your drive relatively clean, and then when you want to upgrade to CS4, backup your data, wipe the drive and install vista (64).
Re 1) No. NucleoPro might, but I believe it is no longer officially supported for 6.5.
Re 2) Install 4GB, but even that will not guarantee maximum performance. If you intend to use multiprocessing, a 32bit OS and quadcores simply don't go together all that well - each core (and thus instance of the MP render) should have 2GB available, summing up to 8GB which you can#t have on a 32bit OS, only on 64bit ones.
Re 3) If you know how to make those apps "behave" on Vista by manually setting all the options for visual effects, program compatibility and UAC, they may be usable - assuming, they don't refuse to install thmeselves in the first place. Most likely you won't be able to capture in Premiere, though, scanners and digital cameras will not be recognized correctly in PS and there will be any number of interface oddities/ garbage like random text, panels not being resizeable and so on.
It will not be a picknick in the park, so you should be ready for some serious frustration moments....
Thanks for all your help,
So if I get xp64bit, will it run AE6.5?
and AE cs3?
and older versions of Premiere and photoshop?
Yes. You might have to dig around for x64 drivers for things, such as capture cards, videocards, soundcards, etc.
Do you think there will be a major speed difference between 4gb and 8gb on a 64bit system
The motherboard I am looking at only has 2 slots ... (hence 4gb)
With 4gig, it's more of a question of whether to go x32 or x64... Do you own any x64 programs?
I guess if I invest in 8gb (2x4gb) and AE cs3 and XP64 bit, it will be much faster using AE?
Will it be much faster than 4gb ram and AE cs3 and XP32 bit?
Also, if I upgrade to xp64 bit, will my 32 bit programs work on this?
Let me clear one big misconception from your mind: XP64 is not faster than its 32bit pendant - it's just different. The main difference is, that each process is launched isolated from each other, so there is no concurrent multitasking and RAM usage - if the system provides enbough physical RAM. This greatly improves overall stability and allows you to launch more applications without them interfering with each other. The real difference is that you can use the full 4GB for a 32bit app to begin with, which is not possible at all on 32bit systems as they will always be truncated to 2/2.5/3GB.
More RAM by itself will not have any impact on the host system's speed, either. In theory (if your motherboard would support that many RAM banks) you could throw 128 GB at XP64, but it wouldn't turn a toaster into a rocket. ;-) There are some 64bit native apps that feel smoother on such systems, but this mostly hinges on the programs having to shuffle less data back and forth. On 32bit systems a lot of time is spent doing just that - swapping memory pages or parking them in the swap file on your hard drive. On a 64 bit system you don't need that as much, you can simply request more RAM.
Pertaining to your programs: Yes, they will run just fine on XP64. I used 6.5 on XP64 until recently myself and the older Photoshop versions never much cared, either. Premiere might be a bit picky, but with a little fiddling should be get to run.
Thanks for the info guys!
I think I am gonna spend about £250 to upgrade to Quad core with 4gb ram and the motherboard which has 4 memory slots (I thought it had two).
That enables me to upgrade from AE6.5 to AEcs3 when I can...about £150 (soon!)
Then later on I can upgrade to 8gb ram and Win XP 64-bit.... about £150
What are your thoughts on this...?
Also... another question... What are your thoughts on graphics cards... I have an old ATI all in wonder VE PCI...
Will this create a bottle neck? If so, what cheapish graphics card would you suggest? How important is the graphics card with AE?
For Adobe apps? In that case you mostly shouldn't care about the graphics card. They all have enough juice for what little AE, Premiere and Photoshop use them. Even CS3 is not using that many acceleration functions, it's just being rather picky. Strangely, there are several issues with top-of-the-line GeForce 8800 and 9200 based cards, so this would not be advisable. It's not an issue with AE 6.5 et al, but it may become one once you upgrade. Therefore settling for an 83xx or something similar may prove more reliable and for the time being, even 7xxx based models that you can find for 30 Euros on eBay would be enough. The latest ATI cards do not seem to cause any problems, AE just does not recognize their OpenGL abilities yet, which may entirely be a matter of ATI providing a newer driver, so it should be sorted out eventually. One last advice: when buying the motherboard, make sure it is certified for XP64/ Vista64. The boot initialization is slightly different and if you e.g. hook up SATA drives to the mobo without the correct setting, boot may fail completely.