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My Vista Experience, Part Two

March 5, 2007 4:13 PM | 2 Comments

Vista%20logo.jpg Well, it's been a rather disappointing couple of weeks in Vistaland, as it seems one disappointment (read "performance issue") after another rears it's ugly head.

I've been trolling the message boards to get a sense of Vista-related problems, and it seems most fall into the following categories:

1. Devices (printers, scanners, etc.) that won't work due to lack of updated drivers.

2. Applications that don't run because they haven't been upgraded (for example, I tried to run Second  Life, to no avail -- as of now, it won't run on Vista).

3. Big performance hits to PCs that have been upgraded from XP to Vista. Apparently installing Vista on top of XP produces extra processes or some such situation that causes new core 2 systems to crawl. It seems that this isn't a problem on virgin Vista systems. If I had  purchased an XP-based screamer, that ran  laps around older PCs, and then started behaving like an ancient 486 system after installing Vista, I'd probably be livid.
4. Trouble with all the application nesting -- many tools and apps that were right out in the open in XP are buried behind multiple screens in Vista. Continue Reading...

My Vista Experience, Part One

February 13, 2007 1:11 PM | 2 Comments

Vista%20screen.jpg In dire need of a new laptop, I decided to make the plunge into Vistaland. I shopped around for "the best value for the buck" deal and after  much debate -- and after discovering a 20% off coupon on -- I ordered a new Dell Inspiron E1505.

Actually, when I went looking for a new system, I was going to stick with Windows XP, since it's working for me and I saw no compelling reason to change. But when I placed the order for the E1505 about a week ago, Dell gave me a choice of Vista Premium or Vista Business -- no sign of XP on the configuration screen. Continue Reading...

Registry Redux

January 10, 2007 4:54 PM

Windows Registry optimizer software seems to be in growing demand today. Junk Windows registry entries and a host of other registry errors appear to plague every Wintel-based PC --even brand new ones -- and if you clean them up, your machine will supposedly run faster, smoother, and more reliably -- i.e, with fewer crashes. (Yeh, I've already heard the  "Get a Mac, dummy" refrain -- multiple times)

Registry%20Mechanic.jpg Rich Tehrani recently wrote about his experience with Registry Mechanic, and how it helped speed up a crawling laptop. I've also given Registry Mechanic a try, and really like it's elegant interface and appreciate the rapid speed of the scan it performs. Continue Reading...

Vonage Helps Subsidize $99 Laptop

November 15, 2006 3:13 PM

In an effort to compete with Wal-Mart and other retailers, electronics retailer Circuit City has announced that it is offering a $99 Compaq laptop for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. According to a copy of the Circuit City flyer posted on the bargain-hunting site Black Friday 2006, Circuit City is selling a Compaq notebook for $299 after instant and mail-in rebates, or $99 with rebates and a 12-month subscription to Vonage.

The laptop comes with an Intel Celeron processor, 512MB of memory, a 15.4-inch screen and a 60GB hard drive.

Why Dell is Still Unbeatable

September 23, 2006 6:52 PM | 1 Comment

OK, I know what you're thinking: Doesn't Marc have anything better to do on a Saturday evening than post a blog entry? Well, yes...and no...

You see, I just bought a new PC today, and I felt I just had to share my experience b/4 details started to fade -- and to illustrate why I believe Dell is still a fearsome competitor and should not by any means be counted out of the game despite all the hubbub regarding exploding batteries, spotty customer service, and accounting irregularities.

I was initially looking for a mainstream system that had to incorporate the lastest technology like a Core 2 Duo processor, fast memory, 250 Gb hard drive and a number of other bells and whistles, like a flat panel monitor and a double-layer DVD burner. I didn't need the fastest screamer game system available -- just something relatively fast and capable of supporting Vista down the road. The system will be used mostly for business, but also sometimes for entertainment and various multimedia endeavors. Continue Reading...

Impending Core 2 Duo Desktop Onslaught

September 5, 2006 5:32 PM

The first forays by PC makers into the Core 2 Duo desktop market has mostly consisted of turbo-charged, latest component laden-gaming rigs -- with high price points to match.

However, a few forward-thinking vendors, namely Velocity Micro and HP (and to a lesser extent Dell) have announced new Core 2 Duo Desktops that sell for true budget-PC prices -- and pack impressive power and speed. Velocity Micro's Core 2 Duo-based Vector GX Campus Edition is a true industry pacesetter and currently the best bang for the buck system on the market.

My sense is that in the next couple of months, the budget and mainstream end of the PC market is going to be completely redefined by an onslaught of powerful new Core 2 Duo-equipped models -- power that will be undoubtedly become a requirement in order to handle Microsoft's upcoming Vista operating system and all the countless new apps that will run under it.

In a scant six months or so, it's going to get tough for vendors trying to unload older generation technology (I expect fire-sale pricing on older, Pentium-based systems towards the end of the Q1 2007) Continue Reading...

eMachines Update

June 26, 2006 1:01 PM | 1 Comment

It seems that as soon as I posted my "first take"on the eMachines T6532 PC, the company refreshed their product line and introduced a new "high-end" model, the T6536, and in keeping with their big bang value for the bucks strategy, this replacement is even a better value.

The main difference with the T6536 is the processor has been upgraded to the AMD Athlon 3800+ (from the T6532's 3500+ processor), and the hard drive has been upgraded to 250 GB (from the T6532's 200 GB drive). Looks like all the other components are the same, and the price is even $10 lower at $539 (after a $50 mail-in rebate.)

Lately, I've been on the hunt for a cheap, yet meaty, workhorse PC that could serve as a replacement for a couple of aging PCs at home and work -- a PC that has the chops to do everyday multitasking, can double as a media PC, and has some upgrade options in case I wanted to tinker (like add more graphics umph, etc.). I'm willing to reuse  monitors, possibly speakers and keyboards, so this would also keep the price down.

My research took me to all the likely suspects: Dell, Gateway, HP, etc., and to many other second tier vendors: then I stumbled on eMachines -- the in-store brand that CompuUSA, Circuit City and Best Buy stocks (and, fyi, that is also owned by Gateway), and I came away very impressed by the package:

The T6532 is currently on sale for $549 at CompUSA (with a $50 rebate), and includes what might be the best value out there for the money (if you know of a better deal, please -- I'm all ears!) Notable features include AMD Athlon 64 3500+processor, 1 Gb SDRAM, 200 Gb 7200 RPM HD, double Layer DVD+/-RW Drive, Windows XP Media Edition, nVidiaŽ GeForceŽ 6100 graphics, and 9-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader (no floppy drive), and 5 USB 2.0 ports.

Continue Reading...

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