James/Roger/Jeff/et all,

I'm also in general agreement that NT 4.0 WS is a better choice than
Win 9x unless you need the few things 98 can do over NT:

 - Supports more legacy 16-bit applications than NT
 - Supports more legacy hardware than NT
 - Plug-N-Pray helps configure resources (sometimes)
 - Supports multiple monitors

The first two are non-issues in my book for someone in Jeff's case
looking at new hardware anyway and using all 32-bit applications.
Even the Plug-N-Pray is not a big deal when looking at a single
machine versus an entire organizational switch.  These come into play
in my book when looking at what the primary corporate platform should
be for existing PC's, but I don't see that they make as much
difference in Jeff's one machine scenario.

The last advantage, multi-monitor support, is pretty slick.  It will
be in the next version of NT (now renamed Windows 2000), but does not
exist in NT 4 without using real expensive special video cards.  As a
developer, I love having multiple monitors active.  I use two 17" plus
one 15" on a regular basis.  It lets me view multiple sessions
concurrently, or keep one maximized on my editor while I still have a
couple of sessions in full view.  Or I can spread the editor across my
two 17" monitors and have multiple RPGLE source members open
side-by-side for drag-and-drop while still seeing the full width of
each member.  (Or multiple sections of the same member.)

Its not something the average user needs, but as a developer I love
it.

>> 5. Memory! Win9X reaches diminishing returns past 64MB, not NT. With NT, get
>> 128MB!
>
>True, for some reason you will actually degrade a Win95 box if you have
>more than 64k.  For NT, the more the better.  OS/2 will run is 32mb a
>whole lot better than NT.  IMHO, 64k for NT is a start point.

I assume you mean performance degrades after 64MB, not 64K... :)

The reason performance degrades (for some people) is because of how MS
allocates memory and the hardware limitations of most motherboards
prior to the Pentium II (Slot 1) or Super Socket 7 ones.  The problem
is that MS allocates memory from the top down, and only fairly recent
motherboard chipsets can utilize cache for memory above 64MB.  So if
you have a > 64MB machine, all of the tasks (including system tasks)
loaded until you work down to the lower 64MB operate without cache.
In most cases this is noticeably slower than running 64MB cached and
using the swap file for additional virtual memory.  There are
exceptions, such as when one program would overcommit the 64MB but fit
within the constraints of available physical memory.  Large
high-resolution graphics or sound files can fall in this camp.  But
these are the exceptions not the norm.

More recent chipsets can cache the entire memory space, and even Win
9x will be happier with > 64MB unless you aren't overcommitting 64MB
to begin with.

Since Jeff is talking about a new machine, it will surely use at least
the 440BX chipset, if not newer, and will therefore cache all
available memory.  As I recall, the 440TX chipset was the last of the
Intel series to limit cacheability to the lower 64MB.

The only reason NT seems like it improves over 64MB even with older
chipsets is that it needs so much more memory than 9x.  It still
doesn't cache above 64MB (due to chipset design); you have alot more
swapping going on with a NT 64MB system than a 9x system running the
same application mix.

>> One other thought, MS has backed off its NT-on-the-desktop strategy. There
>> is a wave of discontent building for very fat desktops and MS has seen the
>> light. Don't be bullied into thinking Win9X goes away anytime soon).
>> 
>> Having said all that, if you can live within its constraints, I agree with
>> Bob that NT is the way to go.
>
>I believe that MS has made it clear that 95/98 is a consumer product and
>NT is a commercial product.  IMHO, pick accordingly.

MS until recently insisted the consumer follow-on to 9x would be based
on the NT kernal.  But a few weeks ago they admitted that there would
be "at least one" more consumer version based on the 9x kernal instead
of the NT kernal.  Outside speculation is that you'll never see the
consumer version based on NT.  There are just too many compatilbility
problems with legacy hardware and software.

Like others, in general I agree that NT is the better, and certainly
more robust, choice for corporate use.  I have it on one desktop in my
office, but I run 98 on my primary desktop for the sole purpose of
multiple monitor support.  I'll gladly switch to Windows 2000 if and
when MS finally ships it.  At this point, NT 5 beta still stands for
"Not There".

It always amazes me when I consisder how many OS releases IBM has put
out since MS released Win 95 and NT4.  And all the OS/400 releases
have had significant improvements.  And they worked.  Contrast that to
MS, which has only released Win 98 which is little more than 95B with
a few more bug fixes and IE4 pre-installed.  (To be fair, they have
also updated some of the Back Office and Small Business Server stuff,
but I think it still pales in comparison to what IBM has done.)

Doug

PS - Win 98 includes a FTP server on the CD, but it is not installed
by default.  You need to install the "Personal Web Server" under
"Internet Tools" in the Windows Setup, or run the Setup.exe from the
\add-ons\pws subdirectory of the CD.
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