Posted 14 March 2010 - 10:39 PM
I decided a couple of weeks ago after I bought a new hard drive that I might as well pony up for Win7 64-bit and the extra memory needed to run it. So, after a brief panic attack of my display not detecting the signal after upgrading my computer, I was able to install Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium edition, which I obtained for a very reasonable $100 over at newegg.com (Monitor not detecting a video signal was due to a weird SLI glitch according to EVGA customer support, apparently, that my monitor couldn't resolve - that's a quick heads-up for any SLI users out there considering an upgrade to Win7.)
Here are my specs first of all:
Case: Antec 1200
Power Supply: 700-watt (or was it 750?) CoolMax
Motherboard: EVGA nForce 680i SLI
Video: Two EVGA Superclocked Akimbo 8800GT 512mb in SLI mode
Memory: 6gb Corsair Dominator at rated specs and timings (DDR2 1066)
CPU: E6600 Conroe 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo overclocked to 3.0ghz (could go higher, but prefer to play it safe)
A little stunned but very pleasantly surprised at how lightning quick it went, I believe the entire OS was installed inside of an hour. Updates after that were pretty minimal and quick, and very wise of Microsoft to integrate Windows Update into the control panel instead of through their website. That's much more seamless. The process is a lot more user-friendly than XP was, clearly designed with a typical user in mind (not geeks like us!). I ran into zero problems during installation, no errors, no hang-ups or anything like that. That's HUGE.
Personalizing the OS to my tastes was pretty much a breeze. Instead of a clunky start-up menu that would take up all of the space to the right, they confined it to the window and automatically expanded any folders you clicked on or hovered your mouse pointer over. This makes for a much neater appearance and minimizes the scanning needed done by human eyes to a restricted area. It may not seem like a big deal, but unconsciously for most people, it makes a significant difference. It's less work for our eyes, therefore our brains, to do. I proceeded to install the prerequisite 64-bit drivers and software first, namely the motherboard, sound, and video. Those went without a hitch. After installing the all-important antivirus software (avaast! for me, thankyouverymuch) and other assorted security programs, I went to install the software needed for my wireless USB adapter so I can get online.
Oops, Windows 7 told me that it cannot install it because it's not compatible! Not the greatest news, but I recall reading a review that Windows 7 tended to be very good about installing software needed for various USB devices, regardless of whether or not you have the software. So, fingers crossed, I plugged in my wireless USB adapter and, lo and behold, Windows 7 knew exactly what it was and proceeded to install the necessary software for it and I was online in a matter of minutes. That's perhaps the biggest positive feature of Windows 7 that I've seen thus far. I say that because after being unable to install my old copy of Sidewinder software for my Force Feedback 2 joystick and GamePad Pro, Windows 7 was able to take care of that for me! Wow! This means I can play Freespace 2 or Combat Flight Simulator with my joystick again! (Although it remains to be seen how well it really works, and if the force feedback works well, but somehow I think it'll be just fine). So, missing an old software CD and can't find it online? Take heart, Windows 7 will likely take care of that for you.
In a word, smooth. I like the slick look it presents, although it's not a dealbreaker for me. I can tell Microsoft is trying to compete with Apple's intuitive interface and you know what, it's not bad at all. I have yet to play any games, but I'm certain with the updated DirectX, my copy of Bioshock and Crysis will shine. More than likely that means plunking down another $400 for upgraded video cards...yeesh!
The only knock so far is that it won't install some of my old favorite games, like Grim Fandango or Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance. Also, I tried playing an older game I bought from GOG.com, The Longest Journey, and it appears to have difficulty running the game like it did in XP. While I'm a firm believer in that there's a solution for every problem, the above problem will either take a long time to be resolved or quite possibly never resolved at all, especially now that I went 64-bit.
Starting up the computer with Windows 7 is LIGHTNING fast! I mean, it was a pretty big damn surprise to me, although I must confess that probably has much more to do with the fact that I'm running a 64-bit OS with 6gb for RAM. That makes a very substantial jump in speed and efficiency.
Seriously folks, Windows 7 64-bit is a winner in many ways. The inability to install/run some older programs is really a minor knock because, let's face it, that's kind of inevitable in the presence of progress. Still, however, it'd be nice if they included some kind of emulator for the old games and programs. Forget 32-bit Windows, that's going to go the way of the dodo in a matter of years now, if not sooner. Before you know it, we'll be talking about 128-bit systems.
This early Windows 7 user gives it a rock solid 4.5 out of 5!
UberGeeks of the world...UNITE!
Uh guys? Wanna take your eyes off that screen for a second? Raise the mice? Battle cry?