A tale of two Vista systems

Summary:I've upgraded two systems to Windows Vista over the past few months, with vastly different results. The first was a nice ultraportable ThinkPad X60, with 512MB of RAM and integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics.

I've upgraded two systems to Windows Vista over the past few months, with vastly different results. The first was a nice ultraportable ThinkPad X60, with 512MB of RAM and integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics. This ran Windows XP perfectly happily, and became a favourite for its light weight, useful docking base and exemplary build quality.

Then I bunged Vista Business on it, instantly rendering it unusably slow (don't try Vista with less than 1GB of RAM, it's not worth it), and running into a number of driver problems — in particular, I could no longer use my Orange Option Globetrotter Fusion 3G datacard (see my previous posting). This once-cherished notebook has languished for a while, and is now awaiting a new lease of life courtesy of Ubuntu Linux. Not, I imagine, what Microsoft had in mind when unleashing Vista on the market.

The other system is a dual quad-core Xeon workstation with 4GB of RAM and an ATI Radeon X1800 graphics card, which again initially ran Windows XP. This, funnily enough, shows off Vista very nicely — especially as it's attached to a massive 30in. monitor. In fact, this beast barely draws breath running Vista, so I'm planning to install VMware and run a whole bunch of OSs, just for fun.

For most people, of course, Vista's inability to run on low-spec hardware (at least with all the bells and whistles that make it worth running Vista at all) will be the biggest turn-off. This, and the increasing maturity of desktop Linux, could make 2007 something of a 'tipping point' in the desktop OS market.

If you can get your hands on a 'f**k-off' Xeon workstation with 4GB of RAM and a 30in. display, Vista does look quite nice though.

Topics: Reviews

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Hello, I'm the Reviews Editor at ZDNet UK. My experience with computers started at London's Imperial College, where I studied Zoology and then Environmental Technology. This was sufficiently long ago (mid-1970s) that Fortran, IBM punched-card machines and mainframes were involved, followed by green-screen terminals and eventually the pers... Full Bio

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