I’ve been toying with the idea of re-installing my Windows XP on my notebook, it’s beginning to creak after a year of having software installed & un-installed and I don’t really relish the task, it means two whole days of downtime spent installing, configuring and tweaking to put it back to a usable state. I absolutely loathe the Windows XP interface, it’s definitely the “Small Word, Big Print Choice for People with Learning Difficulties” of the OS world.
During the past week I have also been toying with the idea of obtaining a cheap notebook computer from EBay, something in the range of 400Mhz with 64MB RAM so that I could use it to install all the different web browser versions to test against a web site I am building for my business without fouling up my main development machine with multiple versions of Netscape, IE and Opera. A low powered notebook computer would also be ideal for testing the games on without having lots of QA machines using up valuable office space. Old notebooks of mine that I have outgrown have a tendency to be donated to family.
So I’ve been putting off both of these unpleasant tasks for a while now when the perfect opportunity turned up via FedEx on Wednesday of this week. A new & shiny, albeit shiny black, Alienware 51-m notebook to review. I already have last year’s model and with the OS re-install nagging at the back of my mind I get to install all the software on to the new machine and tweak the settings without any real downtime. I can do it as a side project while I continue the more profitable day-to-day activities. Once I have everything moved over to the new machine I’ll wipe off the hard drive on my current notebook and send it in for repair, it’s acquired a few nagging hardware problems over the past year, a broken catch on the lid, a squeaky fan in the power supply, cracking in the case at one of the hinges. Silly little things that are more annoyance than threatening. Once I get that back I need to figure out how to quickly configure the software on there so that it’s identical to the new notebook.
The new notebook has a 60GB hard drive in it, the older one only a 40GB, and even with all my development tools, artwork, audio and writing the smaller HD is nowhere near full so I just need to investigate software packages that let you migrate your old OS to a new machine, this time going from the new machine to the “old” machine, and from a larger HD to a smaller HD.
Now here’s the exciting part of this new Alienware notebook, and it’s not the 128MB ATI Radeon 9000 graphics solution which I was rather disappointed at because I have the 64MB version in my other notebook. It’s the Intel 3.06 GHz Hyperthreading CPU with the ultra-fast front-side bus that means that it runs considerably faster than my almost identically specced 2.8GHz laptop from the same manufacturer. Far faster than the mere ~9% CPU clock increase would indicate.
No matter how fast the CPU is Microsoft will no doubt bring my productivity to a complete halt within the next five or so days either way. Dungeon Siege : Legends of Aranna is to be released on the 12th of November (no review copy! Damn you Microsoft, what must I do to get this?) And I’ll no doubt waste many productive hours playing that instead.
— Justin Lloyd