Should I hold out for Vista?

Carl Johnson

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My five year old computer that's running Windows ME is dying a slow painful death. Thanks to advice that I've received here at HTF I've decided to select my new system from Dell's refurbished pile. After price important factors on which system to buy are RAM (at least one GB preferably two), video card and processor. The final deciding factor is which version of Windows to use. I was set on holding out for Vista before one of my coworkers told me that I'd be better off using XP. In his spare time this guy builds computers from scratch so his opinion carries some weight.

According to him ME is the worst version of Windows that has ever been released so I figure that a brand new system running Vista equates to the best of the best. I know that there are growing pains associated with using a new version of Windows but those pains are probably easier to deal with than the crashes and slowdowns that I've been dealing with over the past five years.

What do y'all think?
 

Christ Reynolds

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windows ME is the worst version of windows to date. you'd probably be better off with windows XP, and wait for the problems to be sorted out in vista. there's nothing vista has (that you need) that XP doesn't.

CJ
 

Rommel_L

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Yep. Take a look at the Premium version at the least for most bang for the buck among the different flavors...
 

Bryan X

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You might be able to get the both for no extra cost. A lot of times right before a new OS is released, computer manufactuers sell their systems with the current OS and give you a free upgrade coupon to the new OS. So if you buy at the right time you can get your computer installed with XP but also have a free upgrade to Vista.

I'm running Vista right now (RC2) and won't go back to XP.
 

Sami Kallio

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If you're talking about installing release candidate version of Vista on your computer and it is your only machine then go with XP. RC2 is nothing but trouble. Yes, it's pretty but it doesn't work well (of course YMMV depending on what you do and what your system config is). I will wait (after intalling and uninstalling Vista) until the release hits the market and then gets at least SP1.
 

Carl Johnson

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Forgive me for breaking this down to an elementary school level but I want to make sure we're talking about the same thing. By release candidate version do you mean the free trial edition of Vista that's available for download? That's not what I would use. I'll either buy a system within the next month that comes preloaded with XP or I'll wait until Vista's official release date.
 

Rob Gillespie

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Remember though that Vista will do essentially the same thing as XP except that it's more expensive, has higher hardware requirements and will most likely be a buggy insecure mess until the first service pack comes out (going on MS's track record here). It's also infected upto the eyeballs with DRM so don't expect anything to be easier.

I don't really get why people are so hyped up about an OS. It's just there to let you do your work except that with each new incarnation you have to relearn where they've put everything this time. I've yet to see any feature of Vista that will increase efficiency and productivity and this has been the case with all Windows since 98 (i.e. 95 but a bit nicer).
 

PAPutzback

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I'm waiting for vista because of the hardware requirments. Being a gamer I want to make sure I have Direct X 10 hardware and the O.S it is meant to run on. If a PC gets you 3 - 5 years of service and you know the future games will be DX 10 why not wait a month and have the hardware. Otherwise you are looking at buying a new os next year and new video hardware.

But if you can get a coupon for a free upgrade then I'd jump on that if you can't wait and then next year you'd only need a new video card.

And get a dual core no matter what. They're cheap and you'll have no regrets when your system stays responsive when multitasking.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

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Another vote for waiting at least so long that you can get a free upgrade to Vista from XP, and only then buying. It would make no sense to buy a non-freely-upgradable XP now when Vista is right around the corner.

One may not need Vista, but eventually you'll probably want it, and if you've been running Windows ME until now it would be odd to choose to go to XP now with no free upgrade path.
 

Paul Padilla

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First, it's no exaggeration regarding ME. No matter which way you go with your new machine you'll be shocked at the improvement.

As with all computer purchase decisions the first question is (I'm really surprised no one has posed it thus far) what are you planning to use it for?

If your'e like 90% of PC users that means E-mail, Internet, burning a CD or two, some word processing and a whole lot of Freecell. If that's the case or similar, then I see no problem jumping into Vista. I've been using the Beta at home for some time and I have the release candidate DVD sitting at home waiting to be installed. (I've been a network engineer for almost 10 years so the computer at home isn't my first priority after working on them all day long.) There is a lot of new things I think you may appreciate. Yes, they're primarily eye candy, but even little things like enhanced document previews, the side bar & gadgets and even the nice integrated photo screensavers make it a nice interface. Yes (again) you can get essentially everything that is in Vista as a 3rd party add in for XP, but personally, having everything in a package is preferable IMO.

As mentioned above, hardware requirements are intense and I'm glad to see that you're planning not to skimp on RAM and video. (wise no matter what OS) Bear in mind this is the Beta, but 1GB in my system at home is just getting me by.

Now...if you're heavily into ripping CDs, the latest 3D games, maybe some HT work, graphic design, video editing, high horsepower things like that, then you should probably wait.
 

Ken Chan

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If done properly, a new version can make your work easier, sometimes by adding features "you didn't know you were missing". I don't know if Vista qualifies, though.

Yes, ME was the worst. I would make sure the new hardware is Vista-recommended, not just barely low-end Vista-ready, and go with XP for now. Wait for the first service pack before deciding to switch.
 

Paul_Sjordal

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Reasons for Vista:
  • Nifty new purdy interface with lots of transparency effects.
  • Nifty new animated effect when you switch applications.
  • You get to indulge that "I have the latest and greatest" early adopter urge.
  • Side bar with a ripoff of Apple's Widgets (useful small programs made by third party developers).
  • New search features (i.e. for local files and whatnot).
  • Burn DVDs without third party software
  • DirectX 10.

Reasons for sticking with XP:
  • You're better off waiting for the first patch before purchasing any piece of software. That's not just for Microsoft products either, but any software. Software is often shipped out the door with tons of known bugs, and the first patch usually addresses all the bugs the developers knew about when the product went gold. If you ignore this advice, expect to deal with a few bugs.
  • DirectX 9 (and earlier) games will have worse performance on Windows Vista because of backwards compatibility issues. If you have any DirectX 9 or DirectX 8 games right now, they'll be a bit slower under Vista, and this issue won't be addressed in any future patch.
  • Windows Media Player 11 does something squirrely with copyright verification (I can't recall what, exactly). If you use WMP in Vista, you may find that some of your MP3s and WMAs won't work on other computers anymore.
  • Windows Vista is much more resource-hungry, and even moreso if you install the 64-bit version of Vista. If performance is an issue for you (multimedia work, 3D rendering, gaming, etc.), know that performance will be better under XP than Vista. (A number of people still use Windows 98 for this reason.)
  • Steep hardware requirements (definitely get 2GB RAM if you plan on getting Vista, particularly if you plan to install the 64-bit version).
  • Bewildering number of versions of Vista. This of course is so that Microsoft can milk you for even more money. If you want to get all the bells and whistles (e.g. the nifty new interface stuff), expect to pay more.
  • New license agreement. Under Windows XP, if you upgrade one too many times, Windows thinks you're on a different computer and will refuse to validate. If that happens, you can just call Microsoft up and say "Hey, I just upgraded too much. This is still the same computer" and they'll let you re-activate the Windows XP install. Windows Vista will only let you get away with this once, then you have to pay for a whole new copy of the OS.
 

Chris

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Ridiculous.

Some of the OS upgrades had serious implications on the way you work.

Win9x-2000: Introduction of a stable, fully 32 bit OS that did not rely on MSDOS at it's core. Introduction of NTFS, better data security. Ability to have files larger then 2GB, a MUST for Database and made things like DVD ISO management possible. Also introduced driver conformity, user management, permissions, etc. which all help make an OS a lot easier to deal with.

2k-XP: Introduction of functional DirectX gaming support which ended a lot of people still dual-booting to DOS or Win9x for games. Introduction of single workstation user management. Introduction of WiFi support as base; introduction of accurate battery management and support of ACPI/APM power saving modes which made laptops far more useful..

And so on. There have been some leaps in OS that make serious headway.

Vista -could- be that, but I've had MONTHS to play with it, and I have more things that I dislike then things I like. Minor functional issues that I feel as though MS has simply "missed" in their design. Would I hold out for Vista? No. Hell, Vista SP1 is now promised for next summer in order to comply with guidelines for having software like McAfee/Norton get Kernel code. So, you've already got a major Service Pack announcement made for an OS that isn't shipping.

If that doesn't give you a reason to pause, I don't know what will.
 

Chris

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BTW, Big update:

If you're thinking about holding out DON'T. Time is ticking down (some copies should hit street by Christmas).

But if you buy now, then you've got a monumental advantage: You get Windows XP (NOW) and you get a discount coupon toward Vista, which gets you vista for varying cost (from free to small fee) based on which version you get now and what you go to.

Here's why that's an advantage: You have a LEGAL copy of Windows XP now. You try Vista, which you also have a Legal copy to.. you don't like it you can go back to XP with NO cost involved.

Buy a PC with Vista installed.. decide you don't like it and you want XP.. prepare to PAY for that copy of XP. Why not get both for 1 cost then pay twice???
 

mylan

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Chris, good information, i'm in the wait or no wait boat right now. If I do decide to get an XP system should I get at least 2G of RAM that is supposedly needed to make Vista work to its fullest?
 

Paul_Dunlop

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If you're a gamer, get 2 Gb of RAM now

If you're a regular user, get 1 Gb or 1.5 Gb

Dell usually has some specials on RAM upgrades

RAM is one of the most expensive parts of the computer - but drops in price all the time, when the new type comes out

If you get 1 Gb now, you could upgrade the RAM in 6 or 9 months, when necessary for about half the cost

Oh yeah - original questions- I would get XP, not vista
 

Joe D

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RAM is actually very cheap right now. Newegg.com always have good deals on RAM.
 

Ken Chan

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Make sure you leave empty slots; e.g. if you have four slots get 2x512 instead of 4x256. Also, it seems unlikely that the price of matching RAM will drop 50% in 6 to 9 months.
 

Bryan X

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Gamer or not, get 2GB of RAM. Actually RAM is one of cheapest ways to boost PC performance. There is obviously diminishing returns on additional RAM, but going to 2GB is going to give you a lot of bang for your buck.

Microsoft recommends 1GB minimum for a Windows Vista Ready PC. Do you really want to have the minimum recommended? Get 2GB.

As Chris said, go ahead and buy now to take advantage of getting BOTH XP and Vista. I think you'll be more than pleased with Vista, but atleast you'll have the option to drop back to XP without shelling out $100 for a copy. Additionally, if you get the PC with XP installed and the free upgrade to Vista, you can hold off on actually installing Vista until the inevitable service pack is released to fix initial 'issues'.

BTW, I'm still running Vista (RC2) and will not go back to XP. Vista is very stable and once the final product ships should be even better.
 

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