We had a chance to try Vista Ultimate edition 64 bit on both Athlon 64 and Athlon FX74 quad core machine. We will tell you some bits and pieces how does Vista Ultimate feels and we plan to keep you updated on the new OS. We won't bother you with the installation process but it goes something like this.
As Quad FX system didn't have RAID driver for Vista and we had to install the system on non Raid Western digital 500 GB drive. You insert the DVD and your key lets you install the right version of the Vista. If you have a Vista ultimate key it will ask you which one would you like 64 or 32 bit. We decided to go for the 64 as we wanted to see the entire 4 GB of memory.
You click few times and twenty minutes after you have Vista on your system. After that we went to Nvidia website and downloaded WHQL drivers for dual Geforce 8800 GTX cards we have inside. The only problem we had was the RAID driver but in the meantime Nvidia finished it, and we updated the system. Well we didn't want to go and install the Vista all over again and we were happy with a single drive. That was our weakest link. The drive scores 5.5 only. The processors, the memory and the graphics scores maximal 5.9. Once we install the Vista on the RAID we might get all five 5.9 scores. It is worth trying.
Quad FX with Vista ultimate
The system specification is rather impressive. We are talking about two dual core FX 74 running at 3GHz or faster, 4x1GB Corsair Dominator 8500 memory clocked at CL 4-4-4-12 T2, Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB SATA II, two Geforce 8800 GTX cards from different vendors and two optical drives from Sony. You can not get much faster than this, at least when it comes to AMD. We will probably take a look at the similar setup with Intel quad core soon enough.
Even the final version of Vista doesn’t recognise the Athlon FX CPU's but I guess you can blame the bios as not even bios can recognise and name them.
Vista is all about the interface. The Vista aero glass looks sexy. It is cool when you flip the screens and in case you play a video in one of them, the video picture will also flip with other screens. It looks good but you get use to it. Whoever saw MAC, saw this years ago.
Sidebars are useful stuff as I can see that currently it is 8 degrees Celsius in Vienna and that it's raining, without necessity to type any URL. I can also make a note to myself to do something and watch a nice analogue clock. I have a currency converter opened as well as CPU load tool, even the pictures can flip once you get the time to watch the desktop.
Windows Outlook is now renamed for Windows mail and it looks a bit better. The ultimate version we tested has a support for multimedia and Media player 11 looks sexy. We talked more about multimedia in separate review. This version also has remote desktop as we know that some other versions dont. We also tried to play some games. Company of Heroes works well on Vista, as well as Lego Star Wars 2. We also installed and played with Rainbow Six Vegas and this baby worked well. We didn’t had any issues and the drivers were drawing stuff the way they should. Good job Nvidia. We will try to do some more proper benchmarketing but we were struggling with the time. 3Dmark 06 didn’t have any issues and scores well. It looks like that Vista even the 64 bit one is not that bad for gaming after all.
We are talking about 64 bit version of the Ultimate operating system as this was the only way to put all of the 4 GB of memory in use. We have to mention that you can now add few more time zones and you can watch what time is it on the other continents, simultaneously. This can be helpful for business people. Rendering under Vista works well. Cinebench 9.5 renders the pictures really fast. Even my favourite antivirus Avast works well under Vista 64 bit. It watches over the Windows and it does the job. You can not even notice it that it uses any memory.
You need to update Power DVD in order to make it work but the 7.2 version works just fine. I didn’t try Nero but I guess that there is a version that can work with Windows Vista ultimate edition 64 bit.
We scored 11101 in 3Dmark06 which is a nice score for the system. It all works nice well and stable and that is what we care the most. It didn’t score much different than it would score under Windows XP. And now one long picture.
Overall I like Vista. I spend a lot of time with it. I am one of the few people that had most of the betas installed in the lab. I tried beta 1, 2, 3 release candidates all the way to RTM and the final version. I have to admit that final and RTM feels the same and I like them both.
I am impressed with Vista and it runs on one of my machines. I would not recommend it for your notebook but your desktop deserves it. As I am the cautious person I would recommend dual boot with both Vista and XP that is the easiest and safest way. I didn’t have any major issues with Vista but I like to play it the safe way.
I have to say that Office 2007 is a must for Vista users as the experience will finally be complete. We will tell you a bit more about it next time but overall we think that vista is a good thing. It reacts a bit faster than the XP it is a bit slower on the same hardware but if you have a beast of a machine you will be able to enjoy this sexy handsome operating system. We will keep you posted how the graphics and more games work under Vista so stay tuned, we have many ideas and please leave us your suggestions on the forum.