Pulling together left over parts and a few Craig’s List purchases, I have a “box” now up and running on the Microsoft Windows 7 “Release Candidate 1.” I’m using the 64bit version of the operating system so I can take advantage of more memory for the computer to use while working.
Pentium D 3.4Ghz processor, ECS PX1 Socket 775 motherboard, 4GBs of Kingston DDR2 PC6400 RAM, 2 x 74GB Western Digital “Raptor” (10K RPM) hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration, a DVDRW all in an ANTEC Sonata II Case. Video is and XFX 8800GTX with 768M or DDR3 RAM on board.
Pretty healthy box….
Note: On night 1, I had a single 1GB stick of DDR2 PC6400 RAM, with known errors, but I went ahead and used it because I was impatient.
Impressions: Loads fast, runs fast, faster than my Quad core 3.6Ghz Pentium Extreme with 4GBs of RAM and WinXP Professional, which also has a RAID 0 hard drive set up, but has an ATI 4870X2 graphics card with 2GBs of DDR5 video RAM on board.
The install went smoothly, once I got a floppy (yes, a floppy) made with the RAID drives for the motherboard. I could have used a USB drive to handle the extra requirement to load those drivers, but I went the tried and true route, since I had a USB 3.5″ floppy drive sitting nearby, and a boatload of brand new 3.5″ floppies from a friend recently moving (if you need one for a rainy day, or to show your kids how tough we had it back in the day, I’ll provide one (you come get it) for free!). If I hadn’t been putting my two drives in the system to act like one, then this wouldn’t have been an issue, so don’t sweat it if you’re building a system with a single boot drive.
There were some updates to do (and there had been almost daily), and the system alerted me and quickly had them in. I began my “routine” of installing my normal use programs so I can get a feel for the difference in performance. All routine, except one of my favorite Free! tools to keep my system safe, PCTools Firewall is oly written to support a 32 bit operating system, so I was on the hunt. A quick search got me to the Komodo free firewall and it’s working fine.
Side note: The interesting thing was I was able to get the system loaded up on the 1G of RAM and things went well,, until…I began adding more utilities, that would constantly run on top of the operating system, such as the firewall and anti-virus/anti-spyware applications. The computer would work…then freeze. I grabbed a single stick of DDR2 PC5300, which was only 512MBs and tried it. It worked OK, and I was actually surprised it ran. It was locking up when I tried to start programs, but they said the minimum as 1GB of memory for Win7…
The 4GBs got installed on Saturday afternoon and I installed a game that drives the system hard (on the ones I use now), both on the CPU and the graphics. I put the options for the display near the top of the capabilities and everything ran fine. I have a “widgets” (like the ones that came out for Vista) that shows the use of the CPU and the memory. I was’t hitting the top end of either while the game was running.
I should have some video/graphics and sound editing programs loaded later this week, so I can see how those compare to my current machines.
You can’t download copies of Win7 from Microsoft now, but you can get the key. I do have the files to make the DVD to do the install, but you’ll have to go to Microsoft and get a key of your own (they are free). You can also pre-order Windows 7 right now for an upgrade or full product (for a new system install) right now. Release date is scheduled for Oct 22nd.
I have previously placed an upgrade on a friend’s system, that had XP Home on it. The upgrade was as smooth as my new install and she’s been usiing Windows 7 for several months now…longer than I have! It’s running just fine on an eMachine with a single core 1.6Ghz processor and 2GBs of RAM.
I believe Microsoft has recovered from the issues of Vista. I hope so…
If you’re holding off on buying that new system, waiting until after 10/22, you don’t have to. You’ll get the ability to upgrade from the operating system installed when Win7 comes out.