I've been too busy to deal with that Alienware notebook computer sitting over there on my office coffee table. (Tea table, I drink tea, not coffee.) Last nite I finished up "AutoCAD LT 2006: Ultimate Guide" for WordWare Publishing.
My daughters use the hulking Alienware as a spare Microsoft Messenger communicator, for when another sibling is already on the "kid's" computer. (Well, one of them; the other daughter is on a France exchange trip with her French 11/12 class -- a 2.5-week school trip to Paris/Lyon may be the only good thing to come out of Canada's enforced bilingualism policy.)
So, for the last two weeks, it's been up to my son to check out the monster machine. This is, when he's home from college (across town). I put a piece of paper beside him, provided him with the pen (uncapped), and waited for him to express on paper what he had been vocalizing. After a week, his scrawl appeared on my desk. See Exhibit "A."
His notes [with my comments in square brackets]:
* Scroll duzn't work. [True. None of my kids can get the scroll wheel on the Alienware by Microsoft Mouse (perhaps that's the reason) working reliabibly. Sometimes they get it to work by holding down the scroll wheel, sometimes by moving the mouse at the same time. This is in contrast to the Logitech mouse all our computers use, which are reliable.]
* Keyboard seems small. [Notebook keyboards lack the travel of desktop keyboards. This keyboard is bigger than most, in that it includes the numeric keypad on the right.]
* Half-life 2 runs smoothly on the highest graphic settings. [I don't care for the game, but the opening sequence is kewl, maybe because it reminds me of European train travel.]
* Impressive how computer comes pre-loaded with user name already set, and screensaver name. [I mentioned this in an earlier post. upFront.eZine is the login name and the name that apperas in the 3D screensaver. I've explained to my kids that this is Shameless Pandering.]
* Resolution is _really_ good, install screen for Doom 3 was better than mine. [You need to understand that my son custom built hiz own desktop computer, but that was a year ago, and there were some budget limitations. Oh, and Doom 3 is another game I disapprove of.]
* Load time for Half Life 2 is faster. [... than on his 3GHz desktop.]
* Need for Speed U2 is worse. [That's a car driving game. Perhaps the code is not optimized for the nVidia graphics board. Just a guess.]
* It has XP :( [Fortunately, it takes but three seconds to rid the user interface of the hideous candy UI, and get back to the sensible Windows 2000 look.]
* CD drive makes funny noises. [Probably the read-write head moving or something rubbing. It's hard to examine CD drives operating, enclosed as they are.]
* Camera is cool but kinda creepy. [That would be camera that's integrated into the lid, and the one my wife doesn't want watching her heading for the shower.]
* Xtras are impressive. (mousepad, shirt, and binder). [He gets the shirt with the Alien logo.]
So, if I disaprove of the games, why do I let my son play them? He's 18, and I figure that's the age where he starts making decisions on his own.
A reader was wondering if hyperthreading can be turned off this computer. Apparently, that is needed for running Autodesk's Inventor. My son looked it up, and found that (1) yes, hyperthreading can be turned off; and (2) the OS may need to be reinstalled afterwards.
I had been whinging about the size of this machine (more about the size in the next post), but another reader notes that this should be considered a transportable desktop computer: powerful enuf to run any CAD software (or, ahem, game), yet can be lugged to the client's site. Point taken.