March 11, 2006 spout

My $366 Vista PC

This morning, I read about a $159 computer from a review on the PC Magazine site:

I called my local Fry’s, and while they were no longer have the $159 sale (apparently quantities are limited”), they would be willing to sell me one for $171. While I was there, I got a 1GB memory upgrade and a 256MB ATI graphics card. Here’s the equipment I went home with:

  • Fry’s Genuine Quality 3131 PC: $170.99
    • 1.67GHz CPU
    • 128MB of RAM
    • 40GB HD
    • 10/100 integrated Ethernet
    • 56KB modem card
    • 52X CD-ROM
    • Stereo speakers
    • Keyboard + Mouse (including roller ball)
  • ATI Radeon 9550, AGP 8x/4x, 256MB DDR RAM: $94.99
  • 1GB RAM SIMM(for a total of 1.1GB of RAM): $99.99

I then added an LCD panel and a DVD drive I had laying around. Total cost $365.97.

When I got the PC, it came pre-installed with Lindows, the Linux distro meant to look and act like Windows. And I gotta say, it wasn’t too bad. Then, because they ship a free CD that runs directly w/o an install, I plugged in Ubuntu, another popular client-side Linux distro which was also surprisingly easy to use. Neither was as familiar as Windows XP, of course, but they were both a lot easier to use then the last time I ran Linux.

At 12:04am, I started the Vista Feb 06 CTP installation. At 12:44am, I was running Vista, it having recognized all of hardware (except the sound device) from my $366 PC, including enabling those cool glass” effects and the nifty animations, integrated search and all the neat things you’ve read about in the Vista reviews.

I know I work for the man,” but even so, I’m seriously impressed. The install was fast and seamless. The performance is way better than I thought it would be. And the little UI tricks are fabulous. I can’t do any media stuff cuz my audio device wasn’t recognized, but it was cool when I tried to play video and a DVD, that the Vista Media Center UI came up (my complete home entertainment needs are served with a coupla TVs, a Media Center PC and an XBox).

I know, I know, I got the OS for free, but come on! It’s still beta and it runs great on my cheapo PC! I don’t know what Vista’s going to go for, but I bet the whole she-bang (including LCD panel and DVD drive) could be had for ~$500 when Vista ships. Plus, I’ve only been playing with it for about an hour, but I already don’t want to go back to my XP boxes…

P.S. This post was composed and posted from visto,” my new Vista PC.