More XPS 710 follies…
I’m reaching a point of frustration with the 710. The Internet is full of forum posts and general complaints regarding the 710–from the video card to it’s compatibility with Vista (the Beta drivers surrounding the Creative Labs, nVidia cards and the 4GB memory issue). If I didn’t really want to use Vista, I would have kissed it and the 710 long gone.
I noticed today… it’s ironic that a 720 is already available using a totally different chipset and is supposed to be “faster, better, and more reliable” than the 710. That got my blood boiling and a kind email has been sent to my Dell rep.
Anyway, yesterday’s (this morning’s) post… yeah, ignore that. I didn’t want to delete it, but somewhat add what has happened since then. Overnight, FFXI and EQ2 updated. When attempting to play this afternoon, I noticed a bug–performance was like a 486 with the power cord unplugged. 0-10 FPS and jittery movement in FFXI and Extreme Performance in EQ2 barely made Neriak movable (the zone has LOTS of reflection and glow points). The one that really got me was PlayOnline (FFXI’s loader)… it jittered… once a second, almost like it was hanging and releasing every second… the news scroller would jump rather than scroll. Ehh?
I can’t even recall everything I’ve done to troubleshoot. I went as far as remove the second 8800 GTX to ensure SLI wasn’t causing an issue, disabled the onboard sound card again, took out 2GB of memory (and then the other) to make sure a pair of memory sticks weren’t having issues, and then, much to my dispair… rebuilt again. I installed Vista, then the NVidia video drivers, the NVidia motherboard drivers, then PlayOnline (since it was the smallest install and quickest to troubleshoot). Worked like a champ. Installed FFXI and all expansions–not a problem, everything ran perfectly. Next up, EQ2. Smooth and flawless gameplay in Neriak at High Quality (Extreme Quality still crashes out to memory errors). I left those to update, came back, played a bit of FFXI (read: spent all of my money on two spells, thus walked around moaping), and then left to go read.
When I got back… the system had reboot. Goodie… what now? Oh, Windows Update. It kindly installed a dozen or so new updates that were “critical”. OK, that’s fine. Let’s get into EQ2 and do some questing. Log in.. and boom. It was nothing I could do to get the camera to pan to the ground so I could hit and escape out–back to 0 FPS. What… the… ****? So, pegging Windows Update, I uninstalled ALL of the updates. Still not fixed. GRR.
So, right now, I’m on my laptop and reinstalling again… FFXI is updating, but isn’t jittering and EQ2 (which I did first), plays like a dream. I’m also setting custom restore points after each install and test… just to be safe. Windows Update is also DISABLED for now. I’ll eventually test each update one-by-one and see what it does and … probably Ghost my PC before I even start. But, for now–I’m staying far, far away from Windows Update.
[Update: Everything is installed EXCEPT updates–and not a single hitch. *sigh* ReadyBoost is reactivated, all 4GB of memory (and the needed update, manually installed), FFXI, EQ2, Office, Virtual PC 2007. Now, to start the long and painful process of testing each and every update.]