So, this is part 1 in what could be at least a 2 part (but potentially a 3 or 4 part) review. In future articles I hope to be talking about Vista and photography, Media Centre in Vista, and well, I have to think about something else. But today I will be talking about Stability, performance and x64.

<font face=Calibri color=#17365d size=4>Stability:</font><p class=MsoNormal>

I have been running windows vista for the last couple of months now on my main work laptop (64bit AMD Turion, 2Gb ram, ATI Radeon Xpress 200M graphics), which I am typing this up on now, and it’s been running on my Dual Opteron workstation (Dual 2Gz Opteron, 2Gb ram, NVidia 6600 Graphics) at home since I got it and 3 months ago. Since then I have had some minor issues with different builds, but the system works without flaw 99% of the time, if not more. There are some driver issues (namely lack of a sound driver and card reader for my laptop, and I think the issues with the noise from the Opterons may be caused by an older system driver), but this is to be expected for beta software. I haven’t had my system Crash fully in a while now with it running. I have had one or 2 graphics driver crashes, but this did not cause an issue because the graphics driver was unloaded and reloaded and the system stayed up, and everything where I left it. </p> <p class=MsoNormal>As I said the system is extremely stable, and I use this for real work every day. The laptop is my main laptop, which I use for reading emails, Developing tools, and general work. I haven’t lost any data using the system, and I am very happy so far.</p>

<font face=Calibri color=#17365d size=4>Performance:</font><p class=MsoNormal>

IE7 is probably the fastest browser I have used in a long time. On my 3mb broadband connection at home on the Opteron machine, everything loads quickly. Email on the same machine is nice and fast too. I am running outlook 2007 on the machine, and it connects to my Exchange server. My email account has about 300,000 emails, and switching from one folder to the next is fairly fast. It’s faster than my dual Athlon workstation (dual 2Gz Athlon, 1 GB ram, XP MCE), and I have started to use the Opteron more and more as my main home machine.  </p> <p class=MsoNormal>Slightly moving into the photography and vista post, I did some benchmarks with an app called Bibble Pro. It’s a multi processor enabled RAW image manipulator. You give it a directory of RAW images, do some changes to them (increase exposure, decrease exposure, change the white balance, straighten the photo, etc) and you can then tell it to convert to JPEG, TIFF, or some other formats. So a few weeks back I was at a wedding, and I took about 330 photos. I wanted to give them to the Bride (a friend of mine) on a CD to see what she thought of them. I wasn’t there as a pro photographer, just a friend with a camera. I did some editing of the photos, and then told Bibble on my Dual Opteron to convert them to JPEGs and full size (8mega pixel). It took it a little over an hour. This wasn’t the big performance thing with Vista. I burned the disk and opened the output directory on both my XP box and my Vista box. The vista box had all the images thumb nailed and details of the photos very quickly. The XP box took about a minute. I could browse though using the built in album a lot quicker, and everything worked perfectly.</p>

<font face=Calibri color=#17365d size=4>X64:</font><p class=MsoNormal>

There is not a lot about x64 I can tell you that you probably don’t already know, but the thing that interests me most about it is the fact that Vista is fully supportive of x64. With Windows XP, x64 did not ship at RTM time, and it was a different kernel to XP. XP was version 5.0 of the kernel, but X64 XP was 5.1, the same kernel as windows 2003 server. This is not a bad thing, as Servers are generally more stable then client machines, but it caused some issues. Also drivers where a problem. Now I know I just said I had driver issues, but if all goes to plan, these will go away. At the moment there are a lot of machines selling with x64 (or EMT64) processors, but a lot of these ship with Windows XP 32 bit edition. I hope that the release of vista will solve this problem and give us some proper support for X64 as a platform. </p> <p class=MsoNormal>Well, hopefully I will get to write another one of these soon. </p>

bk_backup: vista, microsoft