October 31, 2007
Anyone have any experience with notebook computers from Asus? I'm seriously considering ordering this one. (Please note: I am not asking for, and do not want, suggestions for alternatives that I "might want to consider".)
My workstation is sitting right here, but it's just too damned loud. I do all my work using a Compaq notebook computer I bought when I first moved here from California. Mostly that was because I was desperate to get something I could use while waiting for my stuff to come north, so I didn't spend a lot on it. It's running something called a "Turion ML-34, 789 MHz" according to the "System Properties" popup. There's some sort of ATI graphics chip in it, and like all cheap laptops of that era, the graphics chip is sharing main memory. So the CPU tosses a lot of waitstates, slowing it even further. It isn't a dual processor, and I got used to that when I was using the workstation. (Which has dual Xeons, both of which were multithreaded. I have all four virtual processors enabled.) Another problem, which surprised me a lot, is that it doesn't have any USB2 ports.
The big complaint about this thing is the screen. It's 14 inch, 1280*768. 768 pixels vertical just doesn't cut it. It's a major headache with a lot of the tools I use on this system. And the single processor doesn't cut it, either. A lot of times things get bogged down and I have to wait as much as 30 seconds for the system to respond even to CTL-ALT-DEL, which is supposed to pop up instantly.
So I want something faster, something dual processor, but most critically of all, something with a lot larger screen in vertical resolution. That ASUS laptop is in the price range I'm willing to spend, and the display is 1920*1200.
So the question is this: Is Asus a lemon manufacturer? Will I regret buying from them?
UPDATE: Fledge has a response. Seems as if this could be a good choice.
UPDATE: The order just went in.
They make great motherboards; I know them more as a parts manufacturer than full computers. Considering that they have a good rep for parts, I'd say it's fairly unlikely that they'd make a bad computer.
Posted by: Wonderduck at October 31, 2007 08:23 PM (fEnUg)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 31, 2007 08:33 PM (+rSRq)
This is very similar to a computer I have (same proc, video card, etc). One of the reasons I love it is because it's delightfully quiet.
I've heard nothing but good about ASUS, although they tend to be aimed at a more computer literate market, which of course should not be a problem for you.
If it has a 5400 disk, I'd recommend getting a 7200 and swapping. The difference is not subtle.
Posted by: Toren at October 31, 2007 08:54 PM (AzW08)
This one looks good, except for running Vista Home Premium and bundling Norton Internet Security 2007 and Nero 7 Essentials. I'd upgrade the OS license to Ultimate ("ask a friend who still has access to the Microsoft Company Store discount, hinthint"), delete Norton completely, and strip out most of the crapware and bogus file associations that Nero installs.
I'll be interested to hear how the new Intel Turbo Memory cache works out, especially with the 7200RPM drive; I haven't had a chance to test that feature out yet.
Posted by: J Greely at November 01, 2007 04:38 AM (2XtN5)
Posted by: madmike at November 01, 2007 07:40 AM (o+iiH)
Posted by: Jim Burdo at November 01, 2007 09:14 PM (XLBNr)
It's coming with "Vista Home Premium". I'm going to try it. I might retreat to XP, but some of the hardware in it isn't supported by XP. There's 1G of something called "Turbo Memory", for instance. It's flash memory and is used something like a non-volatile disk cache.
I'm leery of Vista, but I'll give it a chance before deciding to ditch it. I might also decide to upgrade it to a more advanced version of Vista instead of retreating to XP.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 01, 2007 09:34 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: metaphysician at November 02, 2007 05:44 AM (KVPNK)
I switched to Vista a few months ago, and reports of its problems are greatly overblown. It's a bit tricky to learn the new ins and outs of the OS, but once you do, it's vastly superior to XP. Stability? As good as XP ever got. Don't get too annoyed at all the warnings it pops up while you're getting your software installed and setting the machine up. Once you're beyond that phase, it's scarely noticeable, and a very good security measure.
The problem metaphysician mentions is so rare as to be a non-issue unless you're constantly swapping major parts (like the motherboard). I upgraded the HDs, memory, and sound card and Vista didn't even care.
The Intel Turbo Memory is controversial. There have been credible claims that it does not actually work in Vista SP1. ReadyBoost does, however.
Enjoy your new toy. It's always a combination of fun and annoying to get a new machine.
Posted by: Toren at November 02, 2007 01:09 PM (Wr7+J)
I figure that drivers aren't going to be an issue on a pre-made system. Asus will have taken care of all that.
There are three main things I'm worried about regarding Vista. First, I've heard stories about application backward incompatibility. At least one program I rely on heavily dates back to Win 95, and while I don't think it's doing anything unusual, it's possible that some of the system calls it makes are deprecated, or that there may be other issues with it.
Second, I'm concerned that it will turn out to be a resource hog. The new machine has twice the RAM, twice the HD, and probably 6 times the CPU power -- but will it actually seem slower? Doesn't seem likely, but I've seen stranger things.
Third, Microsoft has spent the last ten years Macifying Windows. Win2K was spartan, clean, usable. WinXP was much too helpful; it did way too many things for me that I damned well didn't want it to do, and tried to make everything much prettier and more obtrusive and distracting than I wanted. I fear that Vista takes that to even greater extremes.
Actually, there was a fourth issue. As a sop to the RIAA and MPAA, word is that Microsoft has built DRM into the system at the level of drivers, and that offends me and concerns me.
In order to make Vista a compelling upgrade, Microsoft has had to find things to add and things to change. I greatly fear that most of those are going to be things I don't want. But I won't know for sure until I've tried it.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 02, 2007 01:59 PM (+rSRq)
First: I've found the backward compatibility astounding. I have one DOS and one Win3.1 program I still use, and both function. In fact, I had only one program freak out, and the problem ended up being my misunderstanding of how Vista deals with certain incompatibilities. (Short version--set a restore point, install the program, and if Vista says it didn't install correctly but Vista can fix that...say yes. It's always been right, in my experience. Seems to be a permissions issue.) That said, anything that digs into the kernel (anti-virus, etc) has been zapped for security reasons, and that's fine by me. It had to be done at some point.
Second: Case by case, I suppose. My computer rates 4.8 on the mysterious Vista Scale, and runs like lightning. Yours is very similar. I doubt you'll notice a slowdown from XP.
Third: This may be a problem for you. Vista has a lot of bling. Fortunately, much of it can be switched off. But despite my cursing while I was learning Vista's new ways of doing things, now that I've got it mastered I'm delighted. It really is better--the instantaneous "word wheel" global search function alone is worth it. But sadly, the days of clean-and-simple W2K are long gone. If you're desperate for a stripped-down look and overhead, the only hope is Linux. Frankly, if all I did was surf and email and similar trivial tasks, I'd be running Linux. But for old geezers like us who have a long history with computers, Linux is really limited, unless you just can't wait to re-learn a dozen or more key programs. The young turks can start from scratch and it seems to work well for them. But I'm not (for example) reentering 20 years of Quicken and Quickbooks data into a Linux program (and no, they do NOT run on the emulators). If you feel motivated, maybe zap the HD on your old machine and try a Linux distro just for fun. I've liked Fedora and Mepis.
Fourth: This is present, I suppose, but end-running it has been so trivial I haven't really noticed it. It's when MS and Intel get together to link software and hardware that real problems will arise. At that point I'll go Linux.
Sorry for the long post.
Posted by: Toren at November 02, 2007 03:29 PM (Wr7+J)
Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
[spoiler]your spoiler here[/spoiler]
Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.
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