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Templates let you account for variable item information such as a file path (eg C:\WINNT and C:\WINDOWS where you want to compare both). Templates also let you write compliance rules that does not require a 'master'. In your case, it shouldn't matter, though you might want to think about using rules and not a comparison (audit) for what you want to do, so you don't have to maintain a 'gold master' server.
Thanks, Bill. You've given me what I needed to know.