I’ve now installed Windows 7, despite an early snafu about not being able to make a system partition on the SSD when it’s not on the primary SATA channel for some reason.
Overall, I’m not sure what the big deal is. It’s a decent incremental improvement from a UI perspective, in that the task bar is more like OS X. Okay. That’s nice, if still a bit confused about when it wants to tile previews, and when it wants to synthesize and aggregate. Worth $100? Um. About that. I feel like the Apple updates cost less and deliver more. But, the install was easy, quick, and “just worked” for the most part, and there’s something to be said about pulling that off on far more heterogeneous hardware.
Audio is still a mess. Especially if you’re trying to get bit-perfect DTS off a blu-ray. Why this stuff isn’t baked in is beyond me, but really, it all comes down to DRM, software audio, and the legacy of the evil kmixer. I’d really hoped that hardware audio would just magically work again in 7.
Other stuff seems to work, though I’m not noticing things are faster, per se. Games don’t seem to have somehow regained the XP advantage and overcome Vista’s shortcomings. Versus Vista, I’m not sure the upgrade is “worth it.” We’ll see over time. WHQL certified drives are still crashing my machine. 7 is not a silver bullet. Most stuff is still 32-bit, despite now having 64-bit readily available for a while (no surprise there, either, just dreaming now).
Alright, enough pretending. It makes for a nice service pack to Vista. That’s about the extent of it. It feels a bit like Windows Vista Plus. If you’re old enough to even remember what that means.
The Intel SSD, on the other hand, is a work of art. I can’t imagine having a computer without one now. Boot time and application startup are excellent, and applications (by which I mean games) are quite responsive. At $4/GB, they’re still not really “affordable” yet, but I’m looking forward to when these are commodity parts. For now I’m running the Intel G2 as a boot/game drive, and a pair of WD Black drives in a stripe for data, and it seems to be working pretty well. With both of the network cards, the stripe, the SSD, and another disk lit up, I was seeing about 400 MB/sec sustained across all interfaces for I/O, which was sort of novel.