EvilDonut wrote:I don't know if it's because HP fine-tuned it to perfection, Vista, or the 4 gigs - but it is truly unbelievable.
Well... not trying to be an ass here, but... it DEFINITELY has more to do with the fact that you have a quad-core and 4 GB of RAM. HP most definitely didn't "fine-tune it to perfection," because they most likely did the exact opposite.
Sadly, such is the state of the PC OEM industry -- in order to lower the prices of the computers they sell, the big-name OEM's (like Dell, HP, Sony, Gateway, Acer, etc) accept little monetary kickbacks from software companies if the OEM agrees to pre-install trial-versions of their software onto the pre-made machines. The idea is, people who purchase a new computer will start using all of this free software "included" with their purchase, become endeared and familiar with the software, and then purchase it when the trial-period ends.
Unfortunately, while this looks good on paper, reality tells a much different story. All of this pre-installed trialware is typically useless, often mimicking or replicating a function found in free or built-in applications. This results in software that is, at best... a nuisance, and at worst... a security risk. Either way, it typically reduces performance (because these trial softwares often start up with your computer whether they asked you or not) and generally reduces system stability.
I know HP's come with the Yahoo Toolbar installed for Internet Explorer 7. Get rid of it -- that's some of the most useless, cluttering software that's available. Really, just about ANY software that comes from Yahoo's labs can be considered borderline malware -- it's useless, reduces performance, is often incompatible with certain settings in Windows, and doesn't give you any perceivable benefit in usability. You know that little Yahoo search bar on your taskbar in Windows? Uninstall that, too. There's no need to be able to search a crappy search engine right from the desktop, and if you absolutely
want and/or need that functionality, grab a Google search gadget
for your Vista Sidebar from the Windows Vista Gadget Gallery
. Or snatch an OpenSearch plugin, compatible with the search field in the top-right of both Internet Explorer 7 AND Firefox 2.
Removing these, and any other bloat/trialware software from your system will improve it's stability, speed, and responsiveness. Trust me, by removing this crap... you won't hate your computer in about two months, when all your trial software starts "reminding you" (in the most obnoxious way possible) that you need to pay to continue using it.
Also, get some good security software. McAfee and Norton are NOT good security packages -- they suck, they're pretty overweight programs (ie, they eat CPU and RAM like it's going out of style) and they cost money. Get Free AVG
(a fantastic, lightweight, self-updating anti-virus program) and Free ZoneAlarm
(a free firewall that can be fairly annoying when you FIRST start using it, but otherwise REALLY improves security after you teach it the basic rules). Also, there's a program out there called CCleaner
, it cleans out temporary program files and your registry, which should also speed up your system and make it more stable. CCleaner should be on EVERY Windows computer out there, so long as third-party software companies with little regard to quality continue to exist.
Vista comes with Windows Defender, which is a really good anti-spyware application. It scores very high marks in spyware/adware detection and removal, it's pretty surprising for a built-in Windows security application.
EvilDonut wrote:In fact, i launch an application - before I can even sip my Mountain Dew - it's already up and rearing to go. Wow. Just Wow.
That's, undoubtedly, Vista's SuperFetch feature at work.
You mentioned that you have a 24" monitor... which probably means you're running it at a display resolution of 1920x1200. That's EXTRAORDINARILY wide, and gives you ample room for like... anything. I'd recommend running your Windows Sidebar on top of other windows -- it's really pretty handy to have all of your gadgets right there, ready to use without having to... oh... you know... strike a keyboard shortcut or something like that. There are some nice gadgets out there, such as an Uptime gadget (tells you how long it's been since your last reboot), a Recycle Bin
gadget (allows you to empty your Recycle Bin even with maximized windows), Sphere Timer
(a clock, alarm clock, countdown, and stopwatch all-in-one) and the Multi-Meter
(monitors CPU core and RAM usage -- and yes, they have one for quad-cores).
Also, if you like Mac OS X's window management system like Expose, you should consider getting and playing around with Switcher
, which basically lets you do the same thing with Windows Vista's Aero interface... only with a FAR greater degree of control.
Oh yeah. And Firefox 2
. Give it a try... because it rocks Internet Explorer 7 back into the... immediately Post-Industrial Age. It rocked IE 6 back to the Stone Age, but IE 7 doesn't suck too badly. I still think Firefox 2 is vastly superior, though. Also, Apple released their Safari
browser for Windows -- it's... actually not sucky. Early betas were, but... Safari is REALLY fast and features some very nice, Mac-like font rendering. I rather like that, but Safari lacks Firefox extensions and customizeable searches.
Hope I've been helpful.
EvilDonut wrote:yeah i wanna get the nvidia 8800. apparently it's a huge upgrade from the 8500.
But i'm still researching whether the extra 265mb and circuitry will really make a diff in my rendering, etc.
It won't help in rendering times -- rendering is all done by the CPU. Having a good amount of RAM helps reduce render times, too.
Where high-end graphics cards really matter is in real-time 3D... for example, in your viewports in 3dsmax, or in a full-3D game like Call of Duty 4. CPU's are terrible at rendering complicated, high-polygon, high-texture scenes at frame rates in excess of 30 frames per second (that's about how fast you want your games running in order to look smooth to your eye). This is where graphics cards help.
And, if you want, they can also assist in doing real-time post-processing of video and whatnot. ATI cards these days come with AVIVO HD when you purchase the card, and it helps with video playback on your screen. ATI cards are ideal choices for Media Center or Home Theatre PC's for this very purpose -- Nvidia cards can do the same, but require a $50 after-card purchase of their video-enhancement software called "PureVideo HD."