About one month ago, I purchased two new laptops (don’t even go there on why I purchased two; however, it’s sufficient to say that I travel a lot and I believe in redundancy…my machines are usually setup so that either machine can do demos, etc. Yes, road warrior HA :) but heavy as heck and the airlines HATE me. Again, don’t go there). Anyway, the machines are Compaq Presario R3000Z latops with AMD Athlon 3700 64bit chips, 2GB of memory (yeah!), widescreen and a few other gadgets (like DVDRW, 64B NVIDIA GeForce). Overall, I found the prices MUCH better than the equivalently equiped 32bit machines. But – before I get to why I chose 64bit let me say a few things about a couple of the features:
What about the widescreen… I’m kind of on the fence about this one. I certainly like the fullsize keyboard but when it comes to presentations (considering presentations are rarely widescreen), this means the far left and right edges are black bars and I can’t really get the same large square 1600×1200 that I used to get on my old high res laptops. This runs 1680×1050 – which is very nice but again, a bit weird when I present. In fact, it took me a couple of presentations to really figure out how to configure the screen to not just display on a little tiny 1024×768 window centered on this big screen (wow did that stink). If you get one of these make sure you figure out how to project the primary image with “aspect ratio scaling” turned on. This makes a big difference if you’re displaying 1024×768 on a high res monitor… Having said all of that however, MOVIES are great and certain applications can VERY nicely use this extra space like Outlook with preview pane, SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Visual Studio (VS), etc… So, not really completely on the fence but what I get used to doing with tools (like VS and SSMS) look very different when I switch to 1078×768 so that throws me off a bit when I’m presenting.
What about the touchpad… well, I was used to the track point (I think that’s what it is called) which is the little tiny mouse that’s the size of an eraser and sits in the middle of the keyboard (I think between HJ) and I have to admit… I’m still not used to the touchpad. On my old machine I used to always turn off the touchpad and now I’m finding that I’m almost useless without an external mouse. OK, this will just take me time. I’m told that I will eventually LOVE the touchpad but…. well, I’m just not there yet :)
And finally, what about the chip… am I running an x64 OS… Well, not yet. I have to admit that so far, I’ve stuck with the shipping OS which is Windows XP SP2 and so far things have been running well.
However, THIS week I’m going to install the RC2 x64 release of Windows and so far, I haven’t decided if I should go with x64 XP or x64 2003. I’ll certainly let you know. BUT – part of why I’m writing this blog is… Will your application run on x64? Well, that I don’t know either. I’ll be maily running SQL Server 2005 and in this press release SQL announced support of the AMD64 chip. What I plan to do is blog a bit about what I will gain in doing this on the desktop as well as why you might consider 64bit – either now or in the future for your machines – personal or enterprise server (and there are clearly quite a few reasons to do this). In the interim, you might want to check out the SQL Server site for 64bit computing here.
In the interim – you should DEFINITELY check out the new Windows Server Division Weblog and if you’re an ISV, I want your application to work (and you should too :). For all ISVs, you should get involved and even let the Windows Server team help promote your app. They’re looking for information about your application in this blog entry titled: Will your ISV App support Windows Server 2003 x64?
Feel free to post comments. What will I gain? What will I lose? Is there anything I should be aware of? Do any of you have this machine? Stay tuned!