Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Vista Trip Report

My old computer, MarkNet, served me well for the three years since I bought it after winning the Golden Nugget's Sunday morning tournament during my first trip to Vegas. After three years though, it was time last week for any upgrade.

So I build a nice new system with an Asus motherboard, a dual-core Intel chip, 4 GB of RAM, a 4GB ReadyBoost drive, two GeForce video cards, 280 GB hard drive and a fresh install of Windows Vista Home Premium. This is my new home computer, MarkNetII, and I'll be using it mostly for poker.

The Good:

This machine can handle everything I've thrown at it so far.

I ran a bunch of applications at the same time with no problem at all: 16 tables on Full Tilt, PokerTracker, PokerAce HUD, Firefox, TMPEnc, Nero, Azureus and iTunes. So basically I was able to datamine the maximum number of tables, play at a few of them, surf the net, encode a video, burn a video, download files and listen to music at the same time, with no noticable slowdown.

This is a distinct improvement over my old computer, which could only handle four of five Full Tilt tables with PokerAce running. Encoding and burning videos were out of the question. Other sites didn't use as many resources as Full Tilt, but I still didn't feel comfortable that my system would stay stable with too much other crap running at the same time.

Vista seems stable, and I also like the feel of the Aero theme. Most XP programs work fine on Vista.

The Bad:

Vista is still a bit clunky. Computers should be easier to use, and we still have a ways to go. In the words of the Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg, "Why shouldn't a PC work like a refrigerator or a toaster?"

Vista has a new layer of security that requires you to run many programs as an Administrator rather than them just working automatically from the start. I'm all for security, but why is it necessary for me to select "Run as Administrator" before PokerTracker, PokerAce and the poker site will work together? And does this really make my computer any safer? Then, after you get everything set to run as an administrator, applications still give you a warning every time you open them saying, "An unidentified program wants to access your computer" before they will run. It's kind of a pain.

When I first set up the computer, I tried to transfer all my files over a USB cable using the new "Windows Easy Transfer," but it didn't work. I attempted it several different times, and an error came up each time. So instead I fell back on Belkin's PCSync software that came with the USB cable, and that did the job.

Still, I thought I wouldn't lose my PokerTracker hand histories if I just copied them directly over to a new hard drive. Apparently I was wrong because I needed to do a separate backup beforehand because I use Postgres, as instructed to in this thread. I know I should have checked the forums first, but is it too much to ask for things to just work? So I lost all my hand histories, which sucks.

Overall, I'd say Vista is a definite upgrade. It's smooth and can do what I want it to. But I wish there were something better, and my understanding is that Linux isn't there yet either.


Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I'm drooling at your new computer's specs. That's good stuff.

JL514 said...

Send me a computer! Kthx

KajaPoker said...

I got my KajaWife a new 17" Dell laptop with Vista and ran into similar issues. Espeically with the synch business. I tried it over my home network and no luck. I eventually dumped her old machine onto and external USB drive and used it for the synch which worked after a few tries and a lot of time.

Two others things annoy me to no end. BitDefender (anti-virus) keeps crashing it's live update every couple of hours and there is no cure yet. iTunes doesn't always recognize the iPhone and the only way to fix that is to uninstall iTunes completely. Only problem with that is that you have to log in as the dreaded Administrator and that account is hidden. So I can't do anything about that until the fix iTunes.

Oh, and Google toolbar crashes IE7 sometimes.

I used to think Macs were like toasters. But I manage to crash those suckers every time I touch them. And now they're running on Intel chips anyway....