Now that I have got your attention.
Well, I finally bought myself a new laptop last friday. It's a Compaq Presario F572US. It comes with a 1.7Ghz Dual Core Athlon 64 X2 processor, 1 gig of DDR2 ram, 80 gig hard drive and Windows Vista Home Premium. I bought the laptop at Staples and paid a lot less than the $625 listed on Amazon. Staples had the laptop on sale for $509 with an additional $30 mail in rebate. This would bring the price down to $479 after the rebate. Unfortunately when I went to buy one of the laptops both stores were completely sold out. One of the stores had a display model left they would sell. Normally I wouldn't consider buying a display model as they tend to get beat to death. Fortunately this one had only been on display for 6 days. So I decided I would buy it only if they gave me a discount. They offered a 10% discount off the sale price and I took it. So this dropped my purchase price down to $458 or $428 after the rebate. Yes, I still get the $30 rebate. So I got a very nice dual core laptop for a very cheap price. It may not be an Intel Core 2 Duo but hell I can't afford a $1000+ laptop right now. If I had that much money I would put it toward a widescreen LCD TV instead.
I have only two complaints about the laptop.
First, the hard drive is SLOW and I would have thought it would be faster since it is a SATA drive. Then again it is only a 5400 RPM drive. That's not that big of a problem except for when the swap file is being used by Windows.
Now the second problem is the big one. Vista Home Premium
Vista Home Premium can make a dual core CPU run like a 300mhz PII if you only have 1 gig of ram. After I removed all of the GarbageWare they load the computer up with, removed all of the HP laptop control software and turned off all the useless services the laptop is still slow if you want to do multiple things. If I load XAMPP, UEEdit and Opera everything slows to a crawl because the hard drive is running almost non-stop because Vista is swapping things out constantly to the drive. It makes it painful to do anything productive.
After Vista boots I checked memory and swap file usage through the Task Manager. I was using 470+ meg of Ram and 750+ meg of swapfile. A FREAKING 750+ MEG OF SWAPFILE. If I loaded only one application all of my free ram would go away and the swap file would jump to 900 meg. No wonder everything slowed to a crawl. Under XP on my desktop with 1 meg of ram I could have 3-4 applications loaded and only use maybe 400+ meg of swap and still have almost half my 1 gig of ram free. So far Windows Vista Home Premium is a steaming pile of bloated dogshit.
Now we get to the other problems with Vista. You can completely destroy your install of Vista by installing just about anything that worked on XP. I had to use the recovery partition to completely restore Vista after I tried to install a Commercial DVD Copying program. Once it was installed the computer went to bluescreen and rebooted. It would then constantly bluescreen during the reboot. There were absolutely NO WARNINGS that the program would destroy Vista during the install. I couldn't even use a restore point because the computer wouldn't even boot far enough for that to work. I couldn't even use SafeMode because that would bluescreen everytime. So I had to completely reinstall Vista from the recovery partition and start over.
If you get a computer with Vista before you do ANYTHING you need to get Acronis True Image 10. It is fantastic and many times better than Norton's Ghost. You can make partition image backups of your C: drive (windows partition) without having to reboot. It will lock drive C: so nothing can access it and make the backup to ANYTHING. When finished it will unlock the drive and you can continue your work. You can backup to DVD, CD, USB devices, hard drives, etc. If you need to restore a backup of your drive C: just insert the ATI 10 CD and boot your computer using the CD. It will use it's own operating system to allow you to reinstall an image backup of your windows partition from any device. It is so freaking simple and easy it is ridiculous. It will even add incremental backups to your initial partition image so you don't need to make new full images. It can even schedule background backups as well. This program saved my ass many times while figuring out what programs would install on Vista without corrupting it to hell.
After I installed and started using ATI 10 things went so much easier. I would just make backups after each install of something. If Vista got screwy, as it it did about 5-6 times, I just restored a previous ATI Backup. I tried using Vistas restore point a couple of times and each time it never worked right. Vistas Restore Point software is just as crappy as the rest of it.
I have to admit that Vista Home Premium LOOKS great. It has all of the nice graphics bells and whistles but you pay for it in memory usage. Windows fade-in and looks like they are tilting in with the bottom of the window coming to the front last. The same thing happens in reverse when you close a window. The edges and titlebar of the windows look like frosted glass and everything behind them looks fuzzy. Just like you are looking at something through a frosted window pane. Things like this will win people over as long as you have the memory to use it.
There are many other annoying things about Vista like ghosting the entire screen and asking if it should do something you clicked on all the damned time. It is one of their so-called security features but I call it a Damned Annoyance Feature. There are many other problems with Vista, too many to enumerate here. Just suffice it to say that many of your games will NOT work under Vista. You can make some work if you download the latest version of DirectX 9.0c. Yes, you can have both DX9 and DX10 installed on Vista. This is about the only way to get some games to work under Vista. There are many application programs that will fail as well so you will have to spend a ton of money upgrading, if there are even Vista versions out yet.
Is Vista worth it? Hell no. All it really offers you is a better graphic desktop but everything else is not worth changing from Windows XP. I am seriously thinking about just wiping the hard drive on the laptop and installing XP to gain back the lost performance. I am going to hold off on that until I see what adding an extra gig of ram will do. I bought 2 gig of ram to replace the two 512meg sticks in the laptop. We shall see if that helps. If it does I may leave Vista on it for testing purposes.
I would recommend to everyone if you are buying a new computer you should ask if you can get it with XP instead of Vista. Many places will sell the computer with XP preinstalled but you have to ask first. If you go to the major laptop sites HP/Compaq, Dell, etc. they will let you pick either XP or Vista. Sometimes you can even get a discount for picking XP.
Overall this is a fantastic laptop and with the $51 I saved by buying the 6 day old display model I was able to afford to buy two gig of ram for it. I am really pleased with it and will probably do what other Pretentious Idiots have been doing lately. Take it to a cafe that has free WIFII and play online while drinking expensive drinks.
Edit: You can turn off those annoying Vista warnings but they hide it. Open the Control Panel as a window. In the seach box enter UAC. You will see a link called Turn User Account Controll (UAC) on or off. Click the link. Then uncheck the checkbox and click OK. You will need to reboot. The annoying warnings are now gone, for the most part.
Entry Edited 9 times - Edited on Jul 16, 2007 - 3:01 pm