Author Topic: Review/Discussion of economical Laptop and Vista  (Read 465 times)

Offline Carskick

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Review/Discussion of economical Laptop and Vista
« on: Jul 10, 2007, 01:12 PM »
Last weeks, I was summoned for the job of helping someone choose an laptop from Circuit City or Best Buy to allow word processing, web surfing, itunes, e-mail, power point, etc., and still be fast. Well, they all now have vista, so a $400 laptop was out of the question. Then I found this laptop.

It's an Acer with good build quality, a 1.6Ghz Turion X2, 2GB RAM, a 160GB 5400RPM HDD, and a 15.4" screen. Seems like a pretty good setup for only $700 and no rebates. It comes with Vista Premium, and I was given the task of setting it up after helping them find it. Well, I have to say, I am fairly impressed. The computer configured itself and was on the desktop in probably about 20 minutes of plugging it in, and to my surprise, it was quite snappy! Aero worked pretty well despite the Radeon 1100 video card, which strangely reported 256MB dedicated memory, in addition to using over 300MB shared. Somehow I doubt an 1100 can use more the 256MB of VRAM. Anyways, everything worked fairly smoothly, though Acer insisted on installing some management setup junk. I ended up going into the registry to prevent it from booting, which saved some boot up time as well as RAM space.

I set up the computer to work wirelessly with a new router, which was kind of a task. For some reason it kept telling me the wireless settings I had entered were not working with the router, but if I told it to connect, it would, and it worked. I finally got it worked out, and except for that, the new wireless and networking manangement system is pretty good. It allows you to setup manual IP, subnet, DNS, etc settings for each Wireless and wired profile you save, which is very nice, and it has a lot of automatic abilities, but it seems overly complicated for the average user.

Anyways, with the release version and the patches, Vista seems to be comming along. However, with all the drivers and AVG for anti virus, the Acer had a PM usage between 700 and 800MB upon bootup. That is rediculous. I got it down to have processes in the 60s while still maintaing all the features, but it is so rediculous. NEVER buy a vista machine with 512MB, unless you turn off all the features, then you just have bloated XP.

I really want Microsoft to make vista better, as it has a nice feel to it. It feels friendly and warm, and once it boots, IE, office, and many other programs open fairly quickly. I really wish MS could make the PF usage about 400-500MB after drivers etc with all features turned on. I would find that acceptable, about double XP, if not slightly over. But to quadruple XP's PF usage is crazy. MS really needs to clean this up. I know they are assuming with memory getting so cheap, we can just have 2-4GB, and all will be well, but there is no reason the OS needs to take up so much memory. Windows 2000 only required about 45MB, 80-100MB with AVG and drivers. I know XP added built in wireless, many more drivers, and other built ins, but what did vista add that costed so much RAM real estate?

Anyways, if you need a laptop in the sub $1000 range, this Acer is a great setup for someone who doesn't need powerful video abilities. It seems to be great build quality, the screen is quite nice, and they keyboard is friendly. I don't know about battery life, but with vista, I wouldn't expect hours of time without wires. MS is improving vista, but PF usage is still ridiculously high, get 2GB to prevent slowdowns.
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