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A new Vista… x86 style

September 15, 2006

 Well, after the excitement of today, the ISO managed to throughout the day and finish during our raids tonight (another beautiful Labs run), so now I wait and wonder.  As earlier, as the system installs, I’ll keep things up to date here on the Blog via my laptop.  Oh, and I’m harvesting too.  Me loves me some Xegonberries.

Summary: Was this a success?  Yes!  Read the details!

Base system:  Dell XPS Gen 4 (heh, yeah…)

  • Processor: Intel Extreme Edition 3.73Ghz
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Media: DVD-RW+/-
  • Video: ATI x850 PE 256Mb PCIe
  • Hard Drives: RAID 0 160GB 10k x2, RAID 0 320GB x2
  • Monitor: 20″ Dell DVI Monitor

Not the almighty system that the XPS 700s are, but a kickass gaming machine for the fact that it’s getting a bit up there in years. What do I run at home?

  • Office 2007 Beta2
  • Visual Studio 2005
  • EverQuest 2
  • Macromedia Fireworks MX
  • Ventrilo
  • Quicken 2006
  • WinAmp for my iPod and music
  • Watch DVDs (Windows Media Player)

Yeahh… that’s it.  ROFL. Now, I’m upgrading, well, fresh installing, from Windows Media Center 2005, the Dell version from their OEM CDs.  We’ll see how the components function.

15 Sept 2006

  1. 11:50 PM – Compatibility analysis – My SATA Raid adapter failed, as expected.  I’ll need to grab that from the web.

16 Sept 2006 (EARRRLY!)

1. 12:15 AM – Setup, drive selection, file copying – Flawless.  Had to find my SATA RAID driver on Dell’s website (and a floppy disk drive… thank god for USB!) to load that up… no biggie there.  I noticed, though I’m sure it’s drive performance as well, but the x86 edition seems a bit more bloated than the x64… at least it’s took about 3 more minutes from “expanding files” to “installing features”.  To the first reboot was about 10 minutes.

2. 12:22 AM – First reboot and “starting for the first time” – Boot to second boot was quite short… if it follows as earlier, I should get the login prompt on the next run through.  System doesn’t appear to be grinding any more than with XP MCE 2005.  I do notice that BIOS to Login is ~15-20 less, at this point… however, I’m assuming this is due to the fact of setup processes.

3. 12:25 AM – Name, address, and performance checks – Well, no video issue here… I can move windows around (well, the login screen) without a coffee break.  I have my ATI card in though… curious.  I still lean to an x64 issue.  Anyway, checking performance and we’ll go frm there.  Next entry should be from the Vista desktop.

4. 12:36 AM – From Vista, the view is great! – Well, beautiful.  Wow.  A much better experience, so far, than earlier today.  As you can see below, the rating is a BIT better on this machine, in spite of the fact that the hardware is LESS than the machine at work.  Hmm.  Live Writer also flawlessly installed, since I’m writing from it. 😉

I find it funny, or scary, that an Intel Extreme Edition 3.73Ghz is my SLOWEST component.  /sigh.

Devices it couldn’t install:

  • SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZX, most likely due to the Dell-version issue.  No issues, my Logitech USB headphones were plugged in and automatically detected.  Hah.
  • 3 “Unknown devices” that appear to be USB devices; however, I’m not sure which.
  • 1 “PCI Input Device”… again, not quite sure what this one is… I do not have any PCI cards in my box adn all of the system-built-on components are working.
  • My Konica Minolta P1350W was detected, but appears to need additional drivers. The online search resolved this by automatically downloading the drivers, installing the printer, and setting it as my default.  SLICK.
  • It appears that DIVX drivers are STILL not included in the base Windows Media Player.  A trip to Divx.com will resolve this.

Onward ho to games, an upgraded video driver, a Creative Labs sound driver, and more.

5. 1:30 AM – Gaming and more. – EQ2 and WoW (heh, yeah, I have a 30day license to dink with… wow Druids are so boring in that game!) are working beautifully, GuildWars wants to redownload itself, so screw that.  Ventrilo appears to work, but the Text to Speech isn’t working.  No reinstall necessary for EQ2 and WoW.  I didn’t format those drives, so the applications ran in place.  Very nice.

NOTE FOR USING EQ2 AND VISTA with UAC! – To get EQ2 to work, I HAD to disable User Account Control (UAC) in the User Accounts control panel applet.  Why?  It appears to want to write files off and on (makes sense), but Windows denies this and it crashes out.  I’m sure I could screw with permissions on the files and get this to work–and I’m sure Sony is already planning for this… but disabling this makes me a happy camper RIGHT NOW.

I also updated Windows Defender to the latest and greatest definitions and installed Windows Live Messenger.  WLM is… horrible.  How do people use this?  It’s like Windows Malware with Microsoft’s logo.  Ads, pop-up windows, etc… I’ll immediately remove it and toss Trillian on tomorrow  later this morning.

Time for sleep.  Tomorrow I’ll tackle the work side: Visual Studio, ensuring that Cisco WebVPN works (a requirement), and that I can RDP into my office computers/servers.  I’ll also check up with GuildWars and test performance in EQ2 (I just logged in and ran around Qeynos Harbor a bit at High Quality–we’ll see what a raid of Deathtoll does to it).

 6. 1:17 PM – Sleep and a new day. – All of the games are up and going, Quicken 2006, Visual Studio, and things are working like a champ.  I did disable the Windows Defenders real-time inspections and noticed a HUGE performance increase.  I’ll dink with those settings here in a bit.  I played a couple DVDs and the Media Center worked like a champ–beautiful sound and I LOVE the new interface.  My Logitech ClickSmart 510 was automatically detected and appears as a photo device OOTB… clicked on to it and have a live view (eww… that was scary).

Random cool things:

  • The “games” menu automatically detected EQ2, GuildWars, WoW, etc… downloaded the cover art, and added them to the menu.  Haha, while my privacy is questioned, it’s sorta cool.  Same concept as downloading album art for my music.
  • When playing EQ2, I can hover over “EverQuest 2” in the task bar and it pops up a window that is like a preview of EQ2… WHILE EQ2 is maximized… and it’s LIVE… so as I run, I can see myself run in the big window and the preview.  Haha, so easily entertained.
  • The DVD Maker application is SWEET.  My parents have been asking for a DVD of family photos I’ve taken over the years… threw one together, tossed some of the Vista default music,  a nice jazz piece, and it burned like a champ.  It worked in my JVC DVD player and was badass… they’ll be stoked.

 Was this a success?  Yes!  I’m very happy with how it’s running so far…

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  1. February 26, 2007 at 10:21 am
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