Experience of first dozen hours on Vista

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Spent the last day or so going through the process of Vista rollouts on our development systems and I thought I’d give you an honest take on the changes from RC2 to RTM that went live on MSDN and Connect last night.

The Good: Vista, Aero & Performance

  • Performance: Microsoft really optimized Vista, full Aero runs on entry level video cards. I have so far tested it on the laptop and the PC and with all features enabled the system performs admirably even with the integrated video cards.
  • Laptop: Dell Inspiron 6000 with ATI X300 with Vista Ultimate x32. System “Windows Experience Rating” rated at 1.7 with the graphics performance ranked at 2.4. The system performs very well but can get choppy with full screen video. 
  • Desktop: AMD Athlon x64 3200 with NVIDIA 6100 with Vista Ultimate x64. System “Windows Experience Rating” rated at 2.8 with the graphics performance ranked at 2.8. The processor and memory speed (not capacity) really trump the laptop in terms of Windows Experience rating but the video ranking is almost the same.
  • Stability: Rock solid, 0 blue screens, 0 crashes during setup, 0 crashes in networking setup, 0 timeouts on the core components and flawless integration with the registration site, activation and else.

The desktop has less ram but it is significantly faster ram. The desktop also has an integrated video card with no dedicated memory while the laptop has dedicated video memory. The result: desktop outperforms the laptop handily even under heavy graphics load.

Conclusion: Ever since the famous “640k ought to be enough for anybody” fake quote from Bill Gates one tradition still alive with Vista is: you better get a lot of ram. Initially when we first started testing Vista the general advice was to be prepared to spend a lot of money on the video adapter (get at least 256MB DDR dedicated to video) but as you can tell from the numbers above that is simply not going to be a requirement for business computing. While gamers always live on the edge, businesses will do quite alright with the integrated video controllers even with all the Aero goodness.

So Vista team…. again, congratulations. After about 12 hours of uptime I’m extatic.

The Bad: Microsoft Office 2007

I hate to do this at the launch but Office 2007 appears to have been rushed and so far I am only going to talk about Outlook since thas what I live in. The stability is nowhere near 2003 levels and despite working through several crashes the experience on the laptop and on the desktop is in line with the B2TR (Beta 2 Technical Refresh) code. The configuration and setup are done remarkably well but the overall experience of hanging, crashing, timing out, lack of responsiveness makes this for a very bad experience for a released product.

So right now Vista good, Office Outlook 2007 bad… will update as I make more headway.