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JustinStacey.x

How my mileage with Vista varied wildly

7 posts in this topic

First off I'd like to say that I don't hate Vista, but have admittedly lost a good bit of faith in it recently after certain happenings that I shall explain here.

This isn't a question, more a short tale of how my experiences with Vista varied wildly from one machine to another and how I came to that conclusion.

I run Windows Vista (upgraded from XP) on my work PC (Pentium 4 3.0GHz HT, 2GB of RAM) and I have pretty much no problems. It's faster than XP on here and just great.

However... my personal experiences with it haven't been so great. Around 6 months ago I got a HP 2133 mini note netbook preloaded with Vista. My initial thought was 'isn't that system rather underpowered for Vista?' and I was pretty much right. (VIA C7 1200MHz processor, 1GB RAM, 667MHz FSB) Although I did use it for the last 6 months with Vista on it as my main computer I can't say that it was without frequent headache. Not only that, but even doing very basic tasks on the computer would often result in the CPU usage to plateau at 100% for long periods of time. The bottlekneck of the system was in fact, the processor. To be honest I was quite happy using it this way, I had pretty much gotten used to the fact that to play music stutter-free I'd have to increase the player's process priority, or to watch a Youtube I'd have to increase the browser's priority. I'd lived with the noisy fan and the fact that the computer is an ergonomic disaster for long enough to become used to it.

Until on Monday, I rebooted and the computer would no longer boot. An endless 'Windows Error Recovery' loop. So I thought 'ah bugger it' and decided to put on Windows XP Pro. I personally dislike XP when compared with Windows 2000. The interface is rubbish, and it seems slower at doing things like opening Explorer Windows (I'm able to spot things like that...) However, I can't fault the OS tbh. Looking back, during periods where I've been using XP, I've had the least problems. Even my die hard favourite, Windows 2000, still seems more problematic than XP.

I also decided to chuck in a spare 7200 RPM hard drive that I had hanging around.

Well, with XP installed and up and running, I can safely say it was the best decision for that computer I've made yet. I don't know how much difference the hard drive has made, but it's FAST. The processor isn't so much of a bottlekneck anymore, in fact I'd say it's 1/2 and 1/2 with the hard drive depending on the task. bootup from 'ON' to the desktop is probably around 45 seconds, the BIOS screen probably taking around 10 seconds to clear. Once I'm in, browsing the web using Opera and listening to music *at the same time* don't immediately drive the CPU usage up to 100%. In fact, the CPU usage plateauing at 100% is now a fairly rare sight.

I've made three partitions: My system/program files partition, then a large partition for all my files, and then a 4GB partition at the end of the disk for the swap file.

So, that's pretty much my story. The gist of the whole message is: don't run Vista on anything slower than a Pentium 4 1.5GHz otherwise expect issues present that wouldn't be in XP. On the flip side, expect faster computers to be given a breath of fresh air with Vista.

Due to the ergonomics of netbooks and me being tall (gave me back pain) I have also had to resign the machine to basically acting as a PC, hooked up permanently to the CRT monitor, external keyboard and mouse. Hell it doesn't even have an internal keyboard anymore, I couldn't be arsed putting it back on after changing the hard drive.

The second moral of the story: netbooks are nothing than just hype. an iPod touch is probably more useful than one... but I still have 1.5 year left on my contract so I'm milking that machine for all its worth.

:hello:

Edited by JustinStacey
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"'isn't that system rather underpowered for Vista?"....

Yes Netbooks generally are - however I have a Dell Mini 9, 8Gb SDD, "Gb RAM running Vista, Office 2007 just fine even with Aero etc. I'd strongly advise you take a look at Vlite for slimming down an install and increasing performance.

I have no knowledge of the HP 2133 but if it came with Vista then there will be drivers for it so you are in a good position!

For general stuff (Dell related anyway) on vLite and improving performance check out these forums: http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/vista/

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If I were to get a Dell Mini 9 the first thing I'd do would be to put Mac OS X on it ;)

Macs are nice too but I don't think the price is justified all that much and in all honesty they don't suit my usage.

:hello:

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VIA C7 1200MHz processor, 1GB RAM

Via C7 CPUs are very, very slow. That thing performs about the same as a mid-class Pentium 3. I've seen C7's that were slower than the faster Pentium 2's even. They're very well known for being quite slow.

It's not very surprising that an OS doesn't run great on a CPU that's a decade behind it in terms of performance (that's like running XP on a 486DX2-50 or Win98 on a 386 @ 16MHz, to put things in perspective), and when paired with less RAM than I used to use with XP (back when I still used it)

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I run Windows Vista (upgraded from XP) on my work PC (Pentium 4 3.0GHz HT, 2GB of RAM) and I have pretty much no problems. It's faster than XP on here and just great.
Well, it is above minimum specs, by a good deal, so I'd expect it did perform admirably. Sounds like your work PC was definitely future-proofed when it was purchased with XP, so good on whomever made the specs and the purchase, as it was wise.
However... my personal experiences with it haven't been so great. Around 6 months ago I got a HP 2133 mini note netbook preloaded with Vista. My initial thought was 'isn't that system rather underpowered for Vista?' and I was pretty much right. (VIA C7 1200MHz processor, 1GB RAM, 667MHz FSB)
Wow. All I can say is that a Via C7 CPU compares to a Pentium 3, maybe at 1GHz. Also, that depends on the job being done - in general the C7 ULV in that HP mininote is designed for low power usage, with performance a (very far) second place goal. It barely runs Vista at all, even in the desktop version, and the -M (mobile) and -ULV (the one in your mininote) are atrocious. The fact you survived on that for 6 months surprises me, as I would have thrown in the towel at about day 5.
The second moral of the story: netbooks are nothing than just hype. an iPod touch is probably more useful than one... but I still have 1.5 year left on my contract so I'm milking that machine for all its worth.
Well, I would respectfully disagree strongly with that statement - I have an Asus Eee 1000HE netbook with a decent Intel Atom 1.6GHz CPU in it running Windows 7, and it does everything a larger laptop can do without significant impact to performance. I don't use it like a desktop and have 15 apps open at once either, but it's definitely not hype. I lug this around to meetings all day, and a machine that performs just as well as my 7lb laptop at ~3lbs, it's a godsend. Also, if nVidia's ION platform is as good as it seems, netbooks will be getting even better (starting with the Lenovo IdeaPad S12, I think, this summer).
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Thanks for your comments. :thumbup

Yeah, after installing XP on that with the 7200 RPM hard drive it made me realise how slow Vista was on that and what I'd been missing. Still, I could play Quake III on it...

Speaking of Quake III, it detects the C7 processor as a Pentium III, so I agree with the comments regarding its performance - yes, it is horribly slow. This also helps to show XP's age now, given it runs pretty well it. I did a benchmark with Dr. Hardware and it reckoned my Via C7 was roughly as fast as a PIII 800. (I have the 1.2GHz version) The only other thing is, something kinda went a bit wrong in the XP installation (I think the CD is scratched or something) so a file or two didn't register, and my installation is a little... handicapped. Sigh, I don't really care, my stuff works fine so I'll keep it at that.

The only reason I am saying that I think netbooks are hype is because for a tall person like me, such small screens and high resolutions ultimately equals back pain (1280x768 on the mini notes 8.9 inch is beyond ridiculous) - the ergonomics of the machine pretty much dictates that, because one has to hunch over to see what is on the screen. With the iPod touch I can hold it as close to as my face as I want, now I just need to get the sodding thing working on wifi...

The design of the HP Mini note is absolutely horrible as well. It looks nice, but it gets way too hot - which can't be good for the components. And since the battery is rubbish, I have resigned to sitting the netbook on top of an old monitor stand (so it can get a good airflow) right next to a CRT monitor with external mouse and keyboard, and just using it as a PC. In fact, I haven't even put the internal keyboard back on since I replaced the HD, seems to help with the cooling a bit.

The reason I have become very skeptical about netbooks is that I feel they are trying to take over the embedded mobile device market (like HTCs and iPhones, which do a perfectly good job) while also trying to take over the laptop market. The result is computers with far too much software on them for their own good, cheap, slow components that ultimately just cause a recipe for problems.

Funnily enough, now I have XP on the mini note, I actually can use it like a desktop.

Yeah my work PC is great. One of the guys here in the office built it. Apart from a PSU that buggered up (I since replaced with an Antec one I think) it's really great.

:hello:

Edited by JustinStacey
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I don't think I'd be able to handle Q3 on a netbook. The screen is way too small!

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