It was a laptop with XP. I paid more to downgrade from Vista - that is still a good decision. I had a mobile machine with an older stable operating system. Quick processor, decent RAM, slower HDD.
This time I bought an off lease desktop. Yeah. A desktop. The processor is old - an Intel Core Duo. Not Core2 Duo. This is several generations back. Think i3/i5/i7 > Core2 Solo and Duo > Core Solo and Duo. This is just after the Centrino days. Thing is, with a 3MhZ frontside bus, this super high-end processor from a few years ago benchmarks nicely against newer processors.
But that's just keeping up with the jones's. This is a new machine and has to fly, and it does. How? SDD. I paid an extra $100 and upgraded the $350 machine with a 64GB SDD and it just zooms. Windows 7 startup - 20 seconds. Opening Office - instantaneous. Photoshop - 2 seconds. Seriously.
The old HDD is in an external enclosure and holds all my files. Performance hit = 0. The internal drive holds the OS and Program files. 64GB is plenty to hold all my programs, including graphic design and web development tools. 250GB is plenty to hold everything else and setting the download, documents, and dropbox directories for an external drive is a cinch.
Right, so I haven't even started into Windows 7. I was skeptical. This is, after all, a rethinking of Vista with even more bubble gum graphics and the same convoluted security and administration windows. All true. When I have needed to be the Admin user, I have hated Windows 7. But for the day to day stuff, there are some wonderful fixes:
- Start menu: No more huge start menus. Just type the program you are looking for and it pops up.
- Folder Search works. Remember XP Search? It's that thing you tried once and ditched because it sucked. It works and it is wonderful. I used to have to open Dropbox.com to search my dropbox and then find the file on my local machine using the path. No more.
- Multi-window: When you hover over an open program in the toolbar, it will dim all the other windows and show you the one you are pointing at. Can be nice if you have a lot of windows open. I sometimes do.
These might seem simple, but these are things that (a) didn't exist or work in XP and (b) never materialized in Vista, an OS so bad that - like I said before - people paid NOT to use.