Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

Windows Vista: A Quick Review

November 9, 2007 4 comments

The System

Processor 2xIntel Xeon 5150 Dual Core 2.66GHz (4CPUs)
RAM 3GB DDR PC5300 667MHz
Video ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB Ram
Hard Drive Maxtor 140GB Partition

For anyone not keeping up, this is actually an Apple computer which I used bootcamp to install Windows Vista. I did a clean install of Windows Vista Business edition. Keep in mind bootcamp is NOT emulation software. It turns the computer into a full-fledged Windows machine. The two operating systems never interact. Vista Business edition is missing features mostly related to entertainment. Heaven forbid if I can’t make high def movies in Vista. I do, after all, have OSX running on the other side. Let’s get on with it shall we?

This is by far the easiest installation of Windows I have ever done. Excluding the time to set up bootcamp, it clocked in at just under 1 hour and I had to do very little in between. As soon as Windows installed and I added the Apple drivers for video card and keyboard support, I did a Windows update. It was so nice to not have to restart between every single update per Windows XP. However a restart for Windows still takes forever. I’ll have exact time for you in the near future. It is nice how the desktop loads in the background and everything is ready to go once it’s presented to you unlike having to watch individual parts load like in previous iterations.

I’ll dive more into this later when I launch my Vista and Leopard comparison, but Vista does look pretty for the most part. Although Flip 3D is by no means 3D. It’s like taking a few pieces of paper and offsetting them to see what’s written on each one. It could easily look a lot better though OpenGL, but the window designs are nice. I will be sticking with the stock theme instead of reverting back to a Window Classic look.

Big red flag coming up: Check my system stats again…3 Gigs of RAM. Under my system info in Vista…2Gigs of RAM, whaaaaaat? After scouring some forums, it appears the 32bit version of Vista only supports 2GB RAM. I hope this is something remedied in Service Pack 1. I found this in a mac forum to be exact so if you’re a PC user and do not have this issue, let me know. With games having a 1GB minimum these days and Vista occupying 600MB to run, things could get a little choppy over time.

Most annoying part of Windows Vista, all the permission Windows needed to do anything…ANYTHING! I understand this is to protect people from themselves, but if you’re so prone to problems like this you probably shouldn’t be using a computer in the first place.

Stability-wise, I was able to stop and switch between Gears of War and Civilization IV pretty easily without too much of a performance hit. Speaking of performance, I did add the system info gadget. When I installed XP through bootcamp, XP only saw 1 of my 4 CPU’s. Thank god Vista sees them all. However, it does a really poor job of distributing the work across the CPU’s. One will shoot up to 100% while others remain quiet. The Maxtor HD I have is extremely loud in the first place, but I will be doing nothing in Windows, and it will still be searching for something for minutes on end so I don’t know what it’s trying to find.

Windows Vista is definitely a visual departure from previous versions, but the underlying principle is still the same for how you move around. A few more bells and whistles while moving some stuff around that I’m having trouble finding. The new Start menu is a nice touch removing the annoying scroll lists of program files. How it maintains the games in a file is a neat idea but when I was trying to explain to my girlfriend about how to load Civ IV, I stopped and said forget it. It’s definitely not set up for someone new to Windows. I’m sure the folder can be moved but it shouldn’t have to be.

I am looking forward to Service Pack 1, assuming Apple says it’s ok to go ahead with the install. Hopefully it will take care of the RAM issue and CPU throttling. So a little longer than a short review but now I can bring my Leopard and Vista comparison to you.