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New Computer!

Acer Aspire M3802

Woohoo! I've been waiting for this for some time now, not literally, the delivery took just a couple of days, but I've been waiting to buy a new computer for a much longer time. It used to be the era of hesitation, now, it is the era of consumption. The computer I bought turned out to be a...

Acer Aspire M3802

... and you can see a picture of it to your left. Beautiful, aint it? Now, why did I chose this specific model? Well, after about two days of searching the net for the ultimate balance between good price and good quality in terms of a new multi-functional computer system, this is what I settled for. There was a time when I thought about buying a computer from Conrad, imported from Germany, with an HD on 1,5TB and 4B Ram and dual 2,8 Ghz processors and no OS. The fact that it had no OS was good since it reduces the price greatly. I already have plenty of Operating Systems ready to install. The shipping was free as well, and the fact that no keyboard or mouse was included was not a definite downside. I didn't chose this computer since my buddy Andreas came over and told me that the graphic and video cards amongst other things sucked, so I moved on and searched the net for other options.

I came across quite a few good deals, many were probably much better than my current device, but none of them were perfect. The common flaw that made me keep searching was that Windows Vista came pre-installed. I've never been very supportive of Vista, and the fact that it's been chosen as the biggest technical flop of the year doesn't make me any more positive to it. Logically computers with Vista installed are much cheaper, and computers with 7 installed are much more expensive since the OS is still new and companies try to squeeze out as much profit from this fact as they can. Many computers with much larger Hard Drives and better graphic/video/sound/etc had Vista installed, so I just skipped those. I also read somewhere that 32-Bit systems can't use all resources properly on systems with 3GB RAM, so I decided that I didn't need more than 3GB or a 64 bit system. There were plenty of possibilities, and even some cheap computers with quadruple processors with a slightly more expensive price but still probably cheaper if you look at the bigger picture. This computer may not have been the best choice, and two days is not enough time to logically rinse through all available offers, though it does have a few flaws it is overall much much better than the old family computer. It might not have been the best choice, but it was definitely not a bad choice, so I am happy with it. The things I took into consideration most when selecting this computer was that it had Windows 7, a lot of RAM, good processors, DVD, USB connections, that it was light (eight) and that the Hard Drive was sufficient. I'm not a pro when it comes to graphic/video cards and stuff like that, and it turns out those are in fact the major downsides of this machine.

Acer itself is a cheaper brand. Despite this they have good reviews and it seems not any lack of quality. I ordered the machine above, with a mouse and keyboard included, a Ben QL LED monitor on 18,5 Inches and a sound system with two speakers and a bassy box. I also ordered a camera, a small remote controlled car and a little NAS server with two 1,5TB drives. The NAS server cost as much as the computer above and all in all it turned out to be a pretty expensive buy, and I don't like losing lots of money, even when it's for a good cause. I've been calming myself down by telling myself that I could have paid 10K for just the computer  if I had bought a more well known brand ,so all in all the pricing was good and I have received a worthy amount of bang for buck. It didn't take more than three days for the packages to get to me (though the sound system seems to have been delayed, was thinking the delivery guy might have tricked me and taken it for himself after I signed the papers, but fortunately it seems it just hasn't arrived yet) even though it was Christmas rush and everything. They delivered the stuff right to my front door and I happily unpacked the packages. Everything was much smaller than I expected. The computer is maybe two thirds the size of our old box, the screen was wider than I had expected and not as tall as I had expected, and I had to place it atop a box for it to be in the right eye-height. The mouse and keyboard were just perfect though, with more features than I had expected (volume controls, shortcut keys, etc etc) and so very very soft buttons after having typed on the same keyboard for seven years now. They do get worn out, you know, after a while it's a real exercise session just typing a blog post. ;) They say this one will last about one million clicks on each key, which doesn't sound all too bad, when I've typed that much it'll probably be time to buy a new one anyway.

Specs

For those interested, you'll find the specs on this system, and the older one, and my antique Mac computer, and I'll have some info on that laptop I used back in 2000 as well.... on this page.

Windows 7

I've been cleaning up my room the past few days, trying to get everything sorted out, so I quickly wiped off all materials from my desk and placed my brand new computer on it. Had everything running within ten minutes. The Windows 7 installation procedure took a while, about as long as it took to install XP on the old box, but once it was installed, the computer was faster than I expected it to be. The dual processor is on 2,5 GHz and RAM is at 3GB, not the ultimate specs, but more than enough to install the latest web-design and office software and start working with it with barely any loading times. Acer threw in a few useful tools I've never used before with the installation, along with the default Windows 7 programs that have really gone through a large upgrade since XP, and Vista for that matter. Regular programs like Paint and Notepad are really useful now, and Wordpad looks quite a lot like Word. I don't know if I'll be needing Word at all anymore, maybe for pagination features, but otherwise the regular Wordpad has everything I need to work efficiently with regular documents. I love the varied brushes and tool features added to Paint, the extensive controls added to the Calculator, and the new Paint/Calculator program where you jot down the mathematical equations instead of typing them. I'm sure this would be even better with a tablet!

The traditional things such as the Run, the CMD and the dxdiag and all of those little nifty functions here and there seem to be intact, as are the regular programs, and that's great. It's nice to see that the good features haven' t been removed. It's also nice to see that at times they've been improved, and at times there are new features that provide plenty of extensible uses. It's now easy to connect to a projector or to a remote desk through just a few clicks (not that I'll eer have any use for those). The little tool to cut out certain sections of the screen is a real hit. The synchronizer tool is a nice addition, the defrag seems to have undergone a great function/usability overhaul, the audio recording device, the file explorer itself (this is probably the function that has been improved the most of all), The zoom tool is pretty handy, and very smooth, allowing you to quickly zoom in and out and navigate all around the zoomed image easily. The automatic speaker tool, that tells you what buttons you press, amongst other things, could have been more useful but is generally a pretty neat addition. I just wish it had the function to speak up text you highlight, or in mirrored functionality, type in text you speak. Oh wait, it has that too! OH YEAH! :D Seems like Swedish isn't a supported language though, unfortunately, but hopefully it will be soon.

The Stickies are also useful addition, giving you the ability to painlessly jot down notes on screen. No need to jot down large To-Do lists or things like "go meet sister at train 19:00", that's just a waste of time, but writing quick notes like "19" or "SF" can be a real pain reliever. It's easy to forget about things you aren't focused on or really care about. The gadgets might be useful too, but most of them aren't really needed. Gadgets like the clock or the puzzle are pretty useless, but it's still fun to have them there. Third-party gadgets such as small online radio stations and schedules of varied sort may be useful, but having multiple useful gadgets on the desktop kind of makes the desktop a bit cluttered and the gadgets no longer seem of such big use. It's easier to save an online radio station in the bookmarks and start listening through a click than adding the gadget each time you want to listen to some good tunes, and just as easy as clicking the play button on an existing gadget. With the nifty new folder features of Windows 7, and the virtual libraries (folders which aren't really folders, more like lists of shortcuts and collected references of similar sort) it's easy to set up a system that much more efficiently do the job these gadgets could have done. Gadgets can be both good and bad, depends on how you use them, the feature in itself is a great edition, though.

The on screen keypad looks much better than before, and is much easier to type on. There's been a bunch of new additions in the System tools folder, like the Cron manager, the Resource Monitor, the Reports on File movement, Hex Editor, Character Viewer, Tablet PC support, Windows Journal (manily made for Tablet use, I suppose, but it can be used with mouse as well, it's like a mixture of Paint and WordPad) . The PowerShell seems like a new edition too, doubt I'll be using it, but it looks professional, haha. The Control Panel, System Info, etcetc, is also in this folder now, which is a good placement. Overall things are much easier to find, everything is categorized neatly, and configuring the start menu, desktop, folders, etcetc is also much easier than before. The background images have the function of rotation at specified intervals, screen-savers, resolution, icon size, everything is much much easier to configure. It seems like the options aren't as many as in XP, but you still have all the control you need, everything has been sorted out. It no longer turns into the same mess as it would so easily turn into when you were using XP, not with the system files anyway, you can easily mess things up with heaps of your own files, but the system itself will be clean as a baby's butt. the search feature is much quicker, the task manager, the tray, everything looks great. The things that make the biggest difference between 7 and XP are the new anti aliased fonts and window graphics, otherwise things are pretty much the same, functionality itself taken out of the context, obviously.

Gaming

First thing I did after installing this OS was exploring all the nice features that came with it, took quite some time, there are a lot of nice features that come with it. After that I tried some of Acers pre-installed games and services, and after that I started uninstalling everything I know I won't be needing. Windows Live is first on the list, I'm a loyal gMail follower, even if their OS is so far no more than a small pile of horse shit. Anyway, when all the useless ingredients were out and done with I installed a game, and then another one, and then a third. GTA IV is one game I've been dying to play for a long time, and since I couldn't get the game to install (no image mounting software) at first, I installed it third.

GTA IV installed fine, and met all the system requirements, but it seems the graphic and video cards aren't the best in the world (3,9 according to the built in Windows PC performance test... or whatever it's called). GTA SA doesn't run well either. It does have better graphical quality than when I played it on my old PC, but anti-aliasing can't be enabled, and it actually lags (all due to the graphics card), so I suppose that despite the new computer I won't be modding GTA SA anymore, it's a dead project, feel free to take over the Master Mod if you have the time! Maybe this is the way things should be, I shouldn't keep playing games all my life, at least for the time being I should take into consideration all of the other important tasks I have and should do ASAP. On the other hand, Doom 3 works perfectly, even with the Ultra High graphical settings, and it's a game the old computer couldn't handle, so - haha. I suppose different games work differently, and I suppose I'll be playing a few different games on this box then. :) Doom 3 is a good start. It was the game I installed first, and I played until a couple of hours after midnight before going to sleep.

Placement

When I then went to sleep I couldn't sleep. Maybe it was the exciting fact that I had my own computer. Maybe it was the toxic fumes from this new computer in this small confined space I could not ventilate due to the air outside being ice cold and the temperature inside already being as low as -13C. Maybe it was me being a bit nervous over the speakers not having arrived. Maybe it was me being a bit disappointed in the tiny LED screen that I paid 1290 SEK for. Maybe it was just the fact that I had a computer in my room and that I could use the computer instead of sleeping that made it so hard to sleep.

Which matter it was doesn't matter, the fact remains that it's not a good idea to have a PC in your bedroom. Bedrooms should be for sleeping only, it has a psychological effect when you use them for other things, and computers give out bad energy.

So, I moved the computer over the same room as the other computer. It got way too crammed though, so I decided to take all files from the old computer to the new computer, plugin the new computer to the old screen (which is still waaay better than the new one, bigger, brighter, everything) and the old set of speakers until my new ones arrive, and the DSL modem in the same room, and then let the entire family use my computer when they feel like it. There are three bedrooms on the top floor, three people in our family, one guest room with a double bed and not much room left over and an open lower floor with no real space for a computer, so this was the only logical outcome. I had preferred having the PC all to myself, but I'm the one who uses it most anyway, so it won't be that big a difference. The difference will be that I won't be able to have sexy desktop wallpapers or leave all kinds of files all over the place knowing that only I will be accessing them, and I won't have complete and total control over all installed programs and apps, but that doesn't really matter much anyway.

Conclusions

All in all I'm mighty happy over the new system, compared to the old computer it runs extremely fast, I don't have to wait more than a few seconds to reach the login screen, and not more than a few seconds after that for everything to load. I don't know if this is thanks to the OS or the PC, I think it's a bit of both. When surfing the web everything runs with lightning speed as well, I can open GIF after GIF at 4chan and have them all load immediately, I can open submission after submission on NG and vote on them all consequentially without having to wait a second. When right clicking on the desktop or any other folder the system doesn't wait a while before the menu pops up. I had gotten a bit accustomed to all these tasks taking a whole, not to mention booting up Photoshop or Illustrator, so it feels a bit like a dream still. Everything happens so fast that at times it seems nothing is happening at all. There's no reaction, all the bordries between In Process & Done have been wiped out. maybe I'm focusing a bit too much on this aspect of the system, but jumping seven years in time will do that to you. And not just that, my sisters much newer laptop with Vista is as as slow as our old computer, so is my brothers three/four year old HP, the old computer wasn't slow at all, this is just much faster.

There's a big blue light blinking on the box where the power button is. It gets annoying when the room gets dark and only the screen and the blue light light the room. That's the only downside I can think of. Right now I can't hear the computer at all, the fan sounds like a breeze when there is no wind, IOW, doesn't sound at all. I'm happy. I'm in bliss. GTA IV didn't work, but everything else does. Suddenly the future seems brighter than it has done the past two months, or maybe that's because the sun has been shining all day today? Anyhow, that's about all I have to say and this is a longasspost so I think I'll just leave and go away for a while now. As a final note, note that I have used all past six Windows operating systems earlier (95, 98, 2000, NT, XP, Vista) when reviewing this one, it's a good OS, has everything XP had and then some.

Things may look a bit different, but you won't get lost if you're still young and able to move along with time and evolution. As for compatibility issues, the only one I've noticed is one with Daemon Tools Lite. Otherwise, all programs are working fine, and I've dragged along a bunch of them from XP. I've installed a few new programs as well, ones that the old box couldn't quite handle, and they work just fine too. If you have the chance to upgrade from XP to 7, I'd recommend it, you don't need to, but it probably won't be anything else than beneficial. Just make sure you check out the compatibility list on programs if you use real expensive stuff like Steinberg Cubase or Flash or other things, because you won't be happy if they suddenly don't work anymore.

Graphically the Windows interface has undeniably improved a lot. There's transparency on the menus, the start button really lights up when you hover over it, transitions between locations are much swifter and anything you can click has had an overhaul in graphical quality. It looks quite a bit like Vista, polished, improved. True Type font is clearer, but it takes time getting used to, not the same sharpness as earlier (though all text does appear much bolder, when typing this I would think I had formatted the text with <b> if I worked on XP. Eh, didn't I just say that I was done speaking? I promise, I'm not getting paid to write this, even if it does sound like a big commercial, haha, cheers to the New Years peers! :D

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