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Windows 7 vs. Windows XP On a Netbook 397

Posted by timothy
from the all-battery-life-claims-are-lies dept.
Justin writes "Many in the industry are counting on Windows 7 to bring the netbook market to the next level. Having netbook manufacturers ship netbooks with 7+ year old Windows XP pre-installed surely deterred some from joining the ranks of households with the small, light and portable netbooks. It seems Microsoft has addressed most of the pitfalls of Windows Vista on a netbook by increasing battery life and performance to be very close to that of the lighter-weight Windows XP. Legit Reviews has the full scoop of battery life and performance tests pitting Windows 7 against Windows XP on the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA Netbook." I'd like to see a follow-up with a few different Netbook-friendly Linux distros, too.
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Windows 7 vs. Windows XP On a Netbook

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  • by lyml (1200795) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:08PM (#28871337)
    The intel atom cpu is 32 Bit. Shipping no 32 bit whatsoever would eliminate you from this very popular market.
  • Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:11PM (#28871383)

    Ok, the article isn't off the scale in terms of inaccuracy, but when you see comments like this, how can you trust anything they do or say?

    Aero is automatically disabled when unplugged in battery saver mode which makes sense

    Aero is NOT disabled when unplugged; instead, translucency is turned off. (The Blur/Glass effect)

    Aero itself remains enabled. I know people confuse 'Glass' and 'Aero' and 'DWM' and what the OS, but come on this is a technical review right, shouldn't they get the basic facts that you find on Wikipedia correct or at least maybe, just maybe have a clue themselves?

    There are other more subtle errors in the article, and even though it basically says Win7 is doing fine. However, do you notice it forgets to mention that Win7 is performing as well as XP while having search, defender and many other 'heavy' features working properly and still performing as well as XP on a very modest CPU and GPU platform.

    Going to leave it here...

  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:18PM (#28871515)

    We're running several RAID configurations, even on many of our notebooks with dual-HD configurations. RAID 0, RAID 1, etc...

    Not sure what issue you are seeing, but maybe you should complain to the HD Controller MFR as this would be the first place to yell, as they not only make the driver, but once the OS passes off HD read/write commands to the driver and then the HD Controller for the RAID, the OS has little to do with what happens then.

    I personally know that some RAID MFRs are crap sadly, but even running Linux, the drivers are and HD controllers are still crap.

    Haven't seen the ATI Black screen, unless it sets your video mode to a native resolution and you havea 1990s monitor, but even then it should pop back or you could reboot and adjust this in safe mode.

  • by dnaumov (453672) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:21PM (#28871565)

    Unfortunately, Windows has been kind of lagging on the 64-bit front. By treating it as sort of a bastard child (like they treated all their non-i386 NT versions), Microsoft managed to ensure that hardware manufacturers wouldn't make an effort to support 64-bit windows in a non-server environment. Which is frustrating as I've started bumping up against that once-awesome 4GB barrier.

    Please, stop spewing bullshit. Just stop. For almost 2 years now, it has been a requirement to provide both 64 and 32 bit Vista drivers if a manufacturer wanted to get the WHQL stamp of approval. And these same Vista drivers install and work just fine on 64bit Windows 2008 Server as well, I know, because I actually run 64bit Win2008 on a rather obscure combination of hardware and haven't had any issues. I am sure some old hardware does exist that still doesn't have 64bit drivers for Vista/2008, but you really really need to try to actually find such hardware.

  • by gravos (912628) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:27PM (#28871663) Homepage
    That's Adobe's problem, not Ubuntu's. Videos in every player other than Flash will work fine.
  • VirtualBox (Score:4, Informative)

    by loudmax (243935) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:37PM (#28871819) Homepage

    VirtualBox is very easy to use and it's GPL. If you use the free-as-in-beer desktop integration tools, then it's quite slick as well. I run a 64-bit Gentoo desktop with 32-bit Windows XP as a guest OS. This gives me all the power of Unix with MS compatibility when I need it. In full screen mode, I might as well be running XP for all you can tell.

    I haven't tried 3D accelerated graphics. I understand that VirtualBox has been making strides in bringing OpenGL to the guest host, but they don't have any expectation of getting DirectX working any time soon if ever.

    I hope Oracle decides to keep VirtualBox alive. As it is, VirtualBox is great for desktops, but the server side tools aren't in the same league as VMware. With Oracle backing, VirtualBox could become a serious contender.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by lukas84 (912874) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:41PM (#28871899) Homepage

    Actually, no.

    ASLR, Internet Explorer's Protected stuff (which not one of the competitors has), Bitlocker, the new Firewall (which finally has a nice group policy settings), service hardening using restricted accounts, NAP inclusion, kernel patch protection, etc. etc.

  • by PRMan (959735) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:48PM (#28872029)

    Actually, many open-source drivers do not have hardware support for playing video on the graphics chip.

    Regardless of the reason for this (and it may be impossible to fix if they are closed up), Ubuntu is very poor at playing Flash video depending on the chip. On one machine at home, they emulate hardware speedup in the driver using software, but Flash actually does better with it turned off.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:49PM (#28872055)

    I thought the point of netbooks was to have a computer for accessing the internet and that's about it. Last I checked, XP could access the internet. I don't see the point in putting Windows 7 on your netbook at all.

    Well, let me play devil's advocate and throw out some ideas for you...

    1) Security, there truly is a major level of security between XP and Win7. This goes from the built in malware tools, to even IE running in protected mode so it is technically more secure than running Firefox or Chrome, as the browser doesn't even user level rights. (This is why the Flash and recent IE exploits you have read about (that can even affect OS X and Linux are IMMUNE on Vista or Win7 when running IE.) - I know, this is hard to hear and I hate saying it myself, but is true.

    2) Network features. Running through the airport and having the new Win7/Vista networking stack features is freaking awesome, as it not only does really good at just hooking into the WiFi, but also remembers. So that if go back through Denver it knows not only how to connect (which all OSes should do), but it also knows how to classify the network and flips on the Firewall on the fly and correctly sets all sharing settings based on the profile of the network there.

    3) 3G features - Networking Again - 3G if you have the latest drivers from most manufacturers, and you have a 3G netbook, or even a 3G phone that you are tethering, the Network connection is treated more like a WiFi connection, and gives you instant information from the same interface, with Bars, Speed, etc, and again automatically just hooks you into the network and again applies the level of firewall security and sharing crackdown that you have specified.

    4) Resume from Standby or Hibernate - Set your Power Button to hibernate and you can flip the netbook on and off as fast as you can open your phone. The speed differences in resume from standby are good, but the hibernate resume features are fast, and when you are trying to rebook flights running through an airport, you appreciate these little things.

    5) Then add in 1000 other new features over XP, from better application boot times via Superfetch, to pulling up tons of information from a simple search. There are also the nice corporate features that work better and are handy from newer ways it deals with Offline files and access remote servers, to even NTFS features that do a bit extra to keep previous versions of your documents with you at all times, without even having to back them up every hour.

    And this could go on and on and on, as the full list of several thousand features were contrasted between Win7 and XP that really do make things easier and work better than an 8 year old OS. (From bluetooth to even having the right printers appear based on what network I'm roaming on at the moment, just little things that are nice.)

    ----

    Finally, netbooks are NOT ONLY for just browsing the internet. They are low power computers, and you seem to discount that there are users running Office, and Photoshop, and Corel, and Illustrator, and even playing games on these computers. There is a difference between getting a crap Web inteface to my documents when at the airport, and actually opening the application they were created in and just editing them.

    You can also find 'geeks' like myself playing an MMO on netbooks, and sure it isn't 60fps, but 20-30fps on a device isn't bad, and ironically, most of the games that the Netbooks can actually run, hold their own and often run faster under Win7, as it does a better job of silencing background processes.

    There are also the times, I just want to read an eBook, watch a movie, listen to a book, or listen to music, and then the Netbook becomes the ultimate PMP, and you will find me with headphones on and my Netbook is shoved in my briefcase. (Oh and on flights where space is tight, again, they work quire well for movie viewing, you are getting a 8-10" screen for you and anyone you travel with and about the same battery life as a generic brand or iPod touch when playing Video content.

    So when it gets back to 'more than the internet', I say ya, and hell ya. I was one of the last people around to get a netbook, and by circumstance had to grab a 3G one on a trip because II was out in the middle of 'Internet is a facy word ville'.

    After a few weeks of ok XP performance, Win7 was installed and haven't looked back. Also it is amazing that with 3G on the device and even with the tiny 3Cell battery, it is surprising how much I use the netbook at times and places I never even considered. Messaging with friends and take the computer to the kitchen and fix dinner, or garage, etc.

    Heck I grab my bluetooth headset and walk and jog with it in my pack because I started a messenger conversation with a friend in Europe and it was just easier to grab the netbook and throw it in, have Win7 flip from WiFi to the 3G network seamlessly just go. Let alone saving on Cell costs and I had my photos, music to share with my friend and a webcam. It was like hanging out with them sitting in a park, and ya I got a good 2-3hrs battery life on the generic 3cell.

    But this secondary part is more about why netbooks are more than just internet devices... If I was force to pick between the cooleset HTC or iPhone or a $50 netbook, I would still go with the netbook, and keep a tiny cheap cell phone for calls.

  • Re:So what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ground.zero.612 (1563557) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:51PM (#28872083)

    If Windows 7 catches on, it won't be long before you run across software that refuses to run on XP.

    Which is necessary to Microsoft's survival, being their own biggest competitor and all.

    It could be necessary for progress in general. Although, maybe I'm mistaken and you'd prefer to retro fit your gasoline engine powered vehicle with a pair of oxen? I'm just sayin, at some point the past "version" becomes so obsolete you may no longer wish to support it. It may also be that the costs of maintaining support for said obsolescence is simply higher than abandoning it.

  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @04:50PM (#28873229) Homepage

    Well, Microsoft reports that the minimum disk space required for Windows XP (32bit) is 1.5 GB (but as others have pointed out, can be reduced to ~500MB).

    The minimum disk space required for Windows 7?

    16 (Yes, SIXTEEN) gigabytes.
    Or 20 for the 64-bit version.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Microsoft_Windows_versions#Hardware_requirements [wikipedia.org]

    Oh, and you are required to have a 128MB video card... to run your so-called "OPERATING SYSTEM."

    But hey - it comes with built-in handwriting recognition, so take my money and sign me up!

  • Re:So what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:02PM (#28873463)

    Win 7 has better battery life then XP pro or OSx on the SSD based mini 9 that I have. For regular hard drive based netbooks, XP pro should still rule. XP pro is slower then win 7 on the SSD based netbook that I have. The SSD in this mini looks more like RAM then a hard drive. The slot looks more like a mini PCI/E slot then a RAM or SATA connection. Which may have a lot to do with why XP pro on this netbook. XP loaded slower and ran sluggish on this netbook. It worked but for me it was not running correctly. I do not have and did not try XP home.

    Battery life for me was OSX: 3 hours 20 minutes. XP: 3 hours 30 minutes. win 7: 5 hours. Ubuntu linux: 6 hours.

    I charged the netbook to a full charge then used it (readign email, writing some docs, nothing really crazy) on the power saver settings for each OS. Linux got the best average time after 5 chrages. Win 7 did beat XP pro and OSX for my not official test.

  • by ground.zero.612 (1563557) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:18PM (#28873733)

    Isn't "Slackware" a slang, meaning "My time is worth no more than US$ 0.01/hour, which is why I can waste it so" ?

    Slackware is great if you want to know HOW Linux works. Otherwise, it is just a waste of time.

    (For reference: I don't use either Ubuntu or Slackware)

    Slack is what we in the Church of the SubGenius are trying to accumulate in life.

  • by bonch (38532) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:25PM (#28873859)

    Arstechnica has an amusing fact [arstechnica.com] about Microsoft's devotion to backwards compatibility:

    This gives rise to particularly stupid things like the name of the "system" folder, where all the Windows libraries and programs are kept. In 16-bit Windows, it was called system. In 32-bit Windows, it was called system32. In 64-bit Windows it's called, er, system32 again. Because although there's an API call that programs can make to find out the name of the folder, there are enough programs that don't bother using it and just blindly assume that it's called system32 (even when compiled as 64-bit) that it was better for backwards compatibility to leave it, even though it's chock full of 64-bit files.

    32-bit files in turn go into a directory named syswow64. Right, it has 64 in the name, because it contains 32-bit libraries. Make sense? Only in Redmond. All these strange behaviors and clumsy APIs that they've built up over the years have just been plonked wholesale into 64-bit Windows. There's no escape from them.

  • by MrHanky (141717) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:35PM (#28874011) Homepage Journal

    I've tried a stripped-down pirate version (called XP JACKed Edition, IIRC) that would boot and run in a virtual machine limited to 20 MB RAM. It worked fairly well, I even used it to play games like Oblivion for a while (not in a VM, though). XP can be remarkably lightweight.

  • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:50PM (#28874227)

    And also a doubling of the size of every pointer, meaning an inflation in the size of every instruction, causing an increase in the number of cache misses and an increase in the size of application binaries which means greater memory usage.

    64-bit is *not* a panacea. It's better in some cases, worse in others, and which is better, 32-or 64-bit, depends entirely on workload.

    While true, on x86-64, the the positives tend to outweigh the negatives [pcstats.com]. However, on architectures where 64-bit was not an afterthought, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives [osnews.com].

  • Re:So what? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:54PM (#28874287)
    *sigh* Then maybe you should just go ahead and try that, so you can get over your silly belief.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:55PM (#28874305)

    This is not actually true - the open source drivers (and also ATI's closed source drivers) have support for hardware acceleration. The problem is that Adobe's method of detecting hardware acceleration only detects the Nvidia driver. All other drivers are assumed to be unaccelerated.

    http://blogs.adobe.com/penguin.swf/2008/05/flash_uses_the_gpu.html

    (read the comments from users where they discuss how "hey, I've got a Radeon and the method of detection you're using says I'm not accelerated!")

    Hopefully this will change in a future version now that they're aware of the problem, but even so, WTF. Didn't they test that shit on anything other than Nvidia??

  • Re:So what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Vexorian (959249) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:04PM (#28874445)

    On my netbook I can browse the internet, write an essay in OpenOffice, watch 720p movies, run an FTP client, play CS:S. Upgrading to Windows 7 makes all of these things faster.

    Nope. See the numbers in the article, everything is really quite the same performance-wise. So '7 it is a huge improvement since vista, but not that much since XP (In fact in many places XP is still faster, slightly faster, but there we go, speed is not a good reason...)

  • Re:What a Joke! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Absolut187 (816431) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:17PM (#28874621) Homepage

    LOL. Irrational hating?

    The Infoworld article that you cited said this about Windows 7:

    But for the rest of us (that is, veteran Windows users who can see through the hype), Windows 7 is really just Windows Vista with some performance tweaks and an updated Explorer shell. It's a modest update that may or may not swing the public-perception pendulum back in Microsoft's favor.

    It should come as no surprise that Windows 7 performs very much like its predecessor. In fact, during extensive multiprocess benchmark testing, Windows 7 essentially mirrored Vista in almost every scenario. Database tasks? Roughly 118 percent slower than XP on dual-core (Vista was 92 percent slower) and 19 percent slower than XP on quad-core (identical to Vista). Workflow? A respectable 38 percent slower than XP on dual-core (Vista was 98 percent slower) and 59 percent slower on quad-core (Vista was 66 percent slower).

    Even on a quad-core CPU, its 19 percent ***SLOWER*** than XP. At DATABASE tasks - tasks that require litte or no graphics (and presumably aren't using Aero)..

    You can only say it "takes advantage" of multiple cores because it gets *less slower than XP* as you add more CPU cores. THIS IS NOT PROGRESS.

    Hating? Yes.
    Irrational? Hardly.

  • by Shados (741919) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:14PM (#28875277)

    I just tried for kicks... if I move a folder to another that contains a folder with the same name, it pops the message asking me what I want to do, and then at the bottom there's a tick box "Do this for the following X conflicts". Click that, popup doesnt happen again.

    Thats with a folder with a very complex directory tree and thousands of files (I tried with a backup, basically)

    The source folder does stay behind (though empty), however.

    You're right about the file copy progress though. It gives you the entire path up to the containing folder, but not the file itself. On the upside, the progress dialog is a lot more precise.

  • Re:So what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Arker (91948) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @12:30AM (#28877629) Homepage Journal

    IE is no more "integrated into the OS" than any other application that has been chopped up and hidden inside system libraries.

    Fixed that for you.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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