Vista is fine if...
A little background before I launch in...
I waited until a month ago to bite the Vista Bullet.
I'm waiting for the next gen iPhone to see if it provides the functionality of my Treo.
I been in tech longer than most of you have been out of school.
I once was an early adopter - I no longer have time for that because that equates to being an unpaid member of the QA dept. now.
I learn from smart people like most of you before I invest hard earned dollars into new tech products.
My Vista experience is positive. Very Positive. Thanks to folks like you. Here's what I learned from you all:
1) Get as many cores and as fast a CPU as you can afford. I got a quad core Pentium Q6600 @ 2.4Ghz
2) Get memory. Lot's o' memory. I got 4 Gig's.
3) Get video memory. As much as you can afford. I got 500 Meg of dedicated memory.
4) Get a big, fast hard drive – I got a 7200rpm 500 Gig drive.
The overall system would be a 5.9 on a scale of 1-5.9 except the memory bus only gets a 5.5. (System Experience metric)
I ordered it with Vista Ultimate SP1. It came loaded with XP? Huh? No confidence shown here (Dell). Dell walked me through the Vista load process (it did come with the Vista disk) including loading a half dozen driver patches. The system sings. It dances. It taught me Travolta moves... OK, I exaggerate.
Then I came to the task of loading my day-to-day software. Oh my God! Almost all of my apps needed new versions. However, because I waited this long, every one of the vendors had updated software. Most were free, many expensive ones were not. But, I've been using the system for a month now and have been very satisfied. I do monitor the performance of each of the quad cores. I also run Process Explorer to monitor what app's are pigs.
(What app's are Pig's? Two in particular: Outlook2007 and Zone Alarm Pro Suite. In the correct situation, together they can consume 100% of a core each!)
As for updated drivers for some of my peripherals, I'm a tad disappointed. At least two vendors decided to create a minimum functionality driver for Vista (Logitech for the original diNovo Bluetooth keyboard and Western Digital for a brand new 1TB MyBook Firewire drive). Otherwise, I had to replace my eight year old Wacom tablet because it had a serial interface. The drivers for my printer, card scanner, label printer, card reader, Treo, iPod, etc... all work as good or better than the XP version.
So, what did I lose in the transition? The slowness and pain of my XP system for Video rendering, Outlook lock-ups, slooooow virus scans. And, quite painfully, Spam Bayes for Outlook - I can't get it to work no matter what advice I apply. I know people complain about UAC and the security crap, but I got over that in a day. After running ZoneAlarm in learn mode, UAC is not so bad.
So, what did I gain? Honestly. Not much. I switched from Google desktop to windows sidebar. It’s only different. Not better. I switched from Iron Mountain to Carbonite - it’s cheaper but nearly identical. I very rarely use the much touted Aero interface. It’s showy - but that’s all. Media player is inferior to iTunes. (At least they could copy good features when they see them for goodness sake.) As for Operating System specific functions I now use that I didn’t have with Vista… I can’t name a single one. Even with Vista Ultimate I can’t name a single feature that is Vista specific that I use. I suppose I could still be running XP, but some tell me the optimum use of the quad core comes from Vista not XP. So, if that is true, that’s the only reason to run Vista.
So... Long description, but at least you know how to get a solid Vista system. Oh, and the cost? $1423.93 (including a 20" LCD panel I am selling) for this Dell Vostro 400.
I hope this helps those interested in taking a the exit ramp off XP highway to Vista point… (:-o)