I’m now officially™ on the market for buying a new computer system, ever since the Saunders’ household Director of Finance gave the thumbs up to my application last week. The thing is now is not necessarily the best time to be looking for new hardware. Not because there isn’t any cool gear out there just now (see Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, Creative X-Fi soundcard, and the latest graphics card chipsets from nVidia and ATi for details); it’s not the hardware that’s the problem, it’s the software.
On January 30 Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows Vista, was released to the public (it having already gone live to businesses at the back-end of 2006). But I don’t want it. I don’t want to ‘upgrade’ to this massively bloated, unnecessarily resource-hungry operating system. It might look glitzy and shiny, packed with Web 2.0-esque gradients, rounded corners and reflections but I don’t want it. I’m happy with Windows XP, thank you very much.
The above image was shown to me by a friend earlier today. It just about sums up the problem with Vista. It’s from the Dell website and explains simply what different hardware configurations can achieve under Windows Vista. Dell have defined three categories depending on your hardware:
- Good: Windows Vista Capable
- Better: Windows Vista Premium Ready
- Best: Dell Recommended (in other words, more than enough)
And as is says:
Windows Vista Capable is great for … booting the Operating System, without running applications or games.
Hmmm … so if my hardware is Windows Vista Capable then that means I can boot into Windows but won’t necessarily be able to run anything on it! Which is a bit like having a car that you can sit in but won’t actually go anywhere. A bit like a sofa.
So, I’m looking for a new system any recommendations on companies that I might try? I’d like roughly the following spec:
- Having always used AMD CPUs, I wouldn’t be adverse to an Intel Core 2 Duo
- 2 GB RAM (at least — I wouldn’t turn my nose up at 3 or 4 GB)
- Powerful graphics card — I’d prefer an ATi rather than nVidia — enough to run modern games on it. By which I really mean Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142, and which can support two monitors (CRT or LCD).
- At least 500 GB hard drive — SATA
- Dual Layer DVD writer
- Space on the motherboard to install my Creative Soundblaster X-Fi soundcard
- If possible, one old-school COM/Serial port for my beloved Psion PDA.
Any thoughts? So far I’ve been looking at PC Specialist and Cube 247. If you were to buy something today where would you go? (I’m hoping to buy sometime in the next month or two.)