Thursday, June 3, 2010

Windows 7 - The inevitable upgrade

Several months ago I updated the graphics card in my home PC, among other things.  On Sunday, I stayed home from Church because a couple of my kids were sick.  So I upgraded my ATI 5770 based graphics card with the latest version (Catalyst 10.5 drivers) of video card drivers......  Well, let's just say the upgrade didn't go very smoothly...

So I reinstalled Windows XP.  And I was looking at the task of reinstalling everything.  And I was not happy.  Because I knew sooner or later, I'd have to do the exact same thing when I upgraded to Windows 7.  I even installed Novell's OpenSuSE 11.2 64-bit and just wasn't impressed...

So Tuesday I asked for permission to do the Windows 7 upgrade.  The appropriations committee (my wife) green lighted the upgrade and I immediately purchased before the spending authority got revoked.  I also bought another 4GB of RAM for the system, which brings my quad core Q9550 CPU based motherboard to a total of 8GB of RAM, the absolute maximum amount of RAM the motherboard can handle.  32-bit systems really can only use 3GB of RAM, so even though I had 4GB installed, XP was only using 75% of the installed memory.

So I went to the local computer store and purchased an OEM version of Windows 7 64-bit (and accompanying 4GB of RAM) and installed.  One word explains the process:  WOW.  The install took place in about 20 minutes.  And within a few more minutes, I had installed many other programs, drivers and such.  The whole system seems faster.  It boots up faster.  It isn't a dog when after you logon to Windows and everything, including the kitchen sink gets loaded.  I've used Vista and been unimpressed with it.  Windows 7 is a different animal.

The system has been operational for only a few days so we'll see how it goes.  But so far, so good.  I'm sure over time performance will degrade, or I'll get used to the performance and I'll want something faster.  That always happens in tech.  But for the time being, I'm pleasantly surprised and impressed.

NOTE:  I don't work for Microsoft and this isn't any kind of paid endorsement.  And quite frankly, to make Windows 7 haul, you have to put in speedy hard drives, speedy graphics card, and fast CPU, and install LOTS and LOTS of memory.  Or at least that's my opinion.  If the whole system wasn't already fairly beefy, I think I could have had a totally different experience.  So when you upgrade, you need to seriously think about upgrade.  RAM is crucial for these kinds of upgrades and so is your hard drive and video card.  Any one of those three components can have a serious drag on system performance.

1 comment:

A Paperback Writer said...

We had to switch over to Windows 7 a few months ago at school. sigh. Just when I learn where everything is, they upgrade on me.
Still, I'm glad I didn't have to install it myself; we have a computer guru for that.
At home I use a Mac. It's much simpler than any of the Windows programs I've used in the past 10 years at school.
Still, I"m glad things went well for you.