Many thanks to VIRGE and ARKADREL.
That pretty much makes it simple for moving this project forward.
With -- say -- "20 years working with Windows [3.0 through VISTA-64]" -- you pick up a lot of information which then gets lost, delayed or obscured in your [I mean MY] deteriorating senior mind. This is one feature of the Sandy Bridgers I should've been on top of from the git-go.
And -- like all those enhanced instruction-set features at the time of "Pentium MMX" or whenever they were added -- yeah -- the most extant Operating System would enable those, and anything earlier? S--- Outta Luck. No Cigar! Stop [my] dreamin'!!
As for ARKADEL's very thoughtful comments hinged in frugality, I already order Win-7-64 Pro -- should arrive in the mail Wednesday. Meanwhile awaiting an RMA "Exchange" on a hard-disk -- a week or so away. If I were on the verge of food-stamps, I'd certainly avoid buying the newer OS unless I could afford it. But it just doesn't make sense to run an OS which: (a) doesn't allow IntelBurnTest to "do its stuff," (b) doesn't even allow for graphics heterogeneity and independent multi-monitor off the different cards.
Quoting from ViRGE:
Vista: Nothing. You can use either the iGPU or the dGPU, but that's it.
Win7: Without Virtu you can run a multimonitor setup where one monitor is connected to the dGPU and one connected to the iGPU. This only works for desktop usage; under games and such you'd be using just the dGPU.
I want HDTV capture and viewing off a second monitor, which could either be the iGPU or the dGPU. My "gaming" needs are driven mostly from "enthusiast-tinkering" -- I don't collect a lot of Crysis/Call-of-Duty and other software -- just a few . . . But I think having a different monitor for the "HTPC" capability will be much better. Then there's the encoding or rendering factor. I don't particularly like the idea, though, that there's an extra feature of the Sandy Bridge that would be unused given my short-term OS choice on this [comfort-level notwithstanding, budget, or even ambivalence I've had from hands-on observations about Win 7 when I had the RC and helping others with their PC's down the hill. Heck. It's gone into SP 1 now. Time to dump my "comfort level."]
Looking into the ISRT thing (other threads per the ASUS Z68 mobo on other forums), we'd observed that the speed of the HDD is less significant than that of the SDD for the cached performance improvement. I'd hoped that I could put a "fast" HDD on SATA-III with the very fast SATA-III SSD, but it wouldn't much matter. If the SDD sustained or sequential throughput was rated at ~520 MB/s and the HDD sustained throughput at 145 MB/s, the "2nd-pass" or "3rd pass" performance of the ISRT acceleration would be close to 400 -- even a tad more for certain things. It's likely going to be close to 400 even with an SATA-II drive on the same controller!!
So the fast drive is better off running on the Auxiliary Marvel SATa-III. And THEN -- for the Win-7 installation issue and the RMA return -- no need to wait. I'll stick with the Caviar Black for the OS install. Heck -- I can even pull a swap later by using Acronis to clone . . .
At least it was a VISTA-64 retail version that I already installed, and we can re-install it on another machine in the household -- maybe an LGA-775 system with at least 4GB RAM.