Windows 7 Review

I did it. About a week ago Nils purchased Windows 7 and did a clean install. I purchased the student version, which apparently gave a lot of people trouble during the install. I was able to create an ISO and burn it to DVD so I avoided the troubles. The best part? I was able to upgrade for just $29.99. Nice! The reason I decided to go with a clean install is because I wanted to purchase the 64 bit version and I was running a 32 bit Vista before. You can’t upgrade from 32 bit to 64 bit – you have to do a fresh install. I did and it went smoothly. Here are my observations so far.

  • Drivers? No worries. I didn’t have to install any drivers at all. My sound card, video card, printer, NIC and even my TV Tuner card all worked perfectly with no work on my part.
  • Libraries – Windows 7 now offers Libraries and, while I haven’t taken full advantage just yet, I like the principal. The idea is to keep groups of related material in one easy access point, or library, even if they’re scattered around your hard drive or network.
  • Peformance – I can’t really give an unbiased review on performance because, like I mentioned, I went from 32 bit to 64 bit while upgrading. All I can say is Wow! I have the Adobe Creative Suite installed and Photoshop (a huge memory intensive hog) open is just 3.86 seconds. Seriously. To close it? Less than one second. With my 32 bit Vista, it took a good 10 or 15 seconds to open and 5 or 7 seconds to close. It’s insanely fast now.
  • Hardware – To put things in perspective, I’m running a home brewed custom machine with Intel Quad Core processor at 2.6 Ghz, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM and the OS is installed on a 250 GB 72oo RPM drive. All of my data is stored on my secondary 750GB 7200 RPM drive. I’m also running dual 19″ monitors off an INVIDIA card with 256 MB RAM -nothing too fancy.
  • The Look – I’m a graphic designer so I really appreciate a nice looking digital environment. Windows 7 looks a lot like Vista, just a bit fresher and newer. The Aero theme (the one with the transparent backgrounds) works great and looks great, too.
  • The Task Bar – It’s different. No more tabs down there – just an icon showing what apps are open. If you have more than one window of a certain app open, it puts additional layers underneath the icon to represent multiple windows. Also, when you click to open an app it immediately starts glowing, providing feedback that you actually did click on it – even if it hasn’t opened yet. That was sorely needed. I use a Mac all day so I appreciate these upgrades.Windows 7 Task Bar
  • New Windows Media Center – I love Windows Media Center and it’s even better now. New interface, more features and even easier to browse. We’ll be using that with our new TV but for not it’s a nice DVR. Gotta love Media Center.

So that’s the scoop. This isn’t intended to be an in-depth review but just my impressions based on the last week of use. Keep in mind, I own a Macbook and I work on a Mac Pro all day. I use my PC as my work horse for my home. With my new Switcher app (it’s like Expose but for Windows), I love it even more. As for a comparison of the two, my home PC and my work Mac Pro have nearly identical specs. 4 GB RAM, Quad Core processors, 256 MB Video Cards, Dual 19″ Monitors -all the same. Honestly, my PC kicks my Mac’s butt. And it costs one fourth the price. I really like Macs, I use them all the time and love ’em but I’d be lying if I told you they were so superior to PCs. That’s a debate for another day, and one without conclusion so I’ll just leave it at that.

That’s it for tonight. More to come soon.

-Nils

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