Recently, after having poor first impressions of Windows Vista which came pre-installed on my new HP Compaq 6715b laptop, I wrote a post asking the question should Windows Vista get another chance. I posed this question not just on this blog, but to Windows Vista discussion groups and anyone who was willing to answer. Overall I didn’t get any response that made me feel, yes, lets stick at it for a while, and out came my old laptop’s Windows XP disc and the reinstall began.
Since then I’ve been quite happy with XP on this HP laptop, and everything feels as springy as it should on a decent system like this. The 6715b is a decent spec machine after all:
- AMD Turion X2 TL-60 – Dual Core @ 2.00GHz
- 2Gb DDR2 RAM @ 667MHz
- ATI Radeon Xpress 1250 (using shared memory)
- 160Gb Hard Drive
Actual Performance Situation
Outside of a general impression of improved speed with the laptop running XP, I had a real example of the performance benefit of XP over Vista last weekend playing a gig in Belfast. Using Propellerheads Reason software as my live music tool, I had a chance to see how well it performed on the downgraded machine.
Ultimately I was very happy. Playing the same tracks which I had attempted to play on Windows Vista at two gigs before, I found that XP ran perfectly smoothly with no glitches. Previously using Vista, the set had maxed out the CPU at about 3 or 4 points. In this situation Reason just stops dead in its tracks – which is not a good thing to have happen when you’re in the middle of playing music to a crowd of people.
As you can see from the screen shot I’ve taken here (click on it to get a larger version), I have Windows Task Manager open displaying the performance of the HP6715b dual-core processor, and to the left of that are two fairly intensive Reason songs, both of which are playing with all tracks active (something that wouldn’t usually happen at a gig). This was impossible on Vista, and though I don’t have a screen shot to back this up with (it’s something I could only get by re-installing Vista, something on which I am not currently inclined to waste time.
Vista is more resource intensive, it looks like there’s no way around that. Perhaps things will improve somewhat with Service Pack 1 for Vista, but it will not be out until sometime early in 2008 and I’d need to hear reports of things having substantially improved before I’d consider switching back.
As a result I would have to recommend that if you are buying a HP6715b, get the XP pro version whilst you can. It’s a solid laptop with an excellent screen and loads of resources for you to run all you want, except maybe Vista.