Over the last few days, I’ve purchased a new desktop computer and, today, a printer. Both are HP and are of good, not great, quality. The computer, an HP Pavilion a6750f, I purchased at Circuit City. Because of the liquidation sale, I got the computer at a decent price. The computer came equipped with an AMD Phenom x64 (quad core), 8gb of RAM, 750gb HDD (sata) and has Windows Vista SP1 (64bit). I have to say, setting it up was a snap. It took about thirty minutes for it download all of the updates and configure itself. This thing screams. I knew it was going to perform better than the machine it is replacing, I just didn’t realize how much better it would be. The old was starting to feel a bit on slow side, but only because it is choked with an underperforming video card and 2gb of RAM. Oh, the hard disk is REALLY sluggish.
The 6750 has a wonky DVD drive, or, rather, the door is wonky. When you eject a disk or open the disk door, the tray comes out as it should. But when you close the drive, the door gets in the way of the tray. You have hold the door down just a bit so the tray can retract. It is not broken, just poorly designed.
Vista 64 is awesome. I knew it was better, more stable, than Vista 32 as I had installed it on a separate partition on the old machine and my son’s HP laptop is Vista 64. His laptop has 4gb and the thing is fast. It has yet to blue screen or freeze or mess up. And he plays all of his games on the thing. Vista 64 just works.
Of course, I wanted to transfer some things from the old machine to the new. So I tried to use the Windows Easy Transfer utility that comes with Vista. It started out working fine, but about halfway through, the old machine started dropping the connection. I restarted the computer and tried again. This time, WET kept telling me that the file had invalid data. I finally gave up and just set up shares and did it the old fashioned way: drag and drop. Worked great. Oh, file copy over the network SEEMS faster than copying to another internal drive or a USB connected drive. Maybe it was just me.
The printer, an OfficeJet J6450, features wireless, two sided printing and has a sheet feeder. Unboxing the thing was worse than setting it up. HP uses more bloody tape and plastic sheets than I’ve ever seen. Naturally, it uses different print cartridges than my old printer, so those last two carts I overpaid for are now useless. Well, I will probably include them with the printer when I get rid of it.
I wanted to use the printer in a wireless configuration so everyone in the house can use it and I don’t have to worry about what my desktop is doing. This way, everyone can print directly to the printer. Setting it up was easy. Install the software first, connect a USB cable, go through the ‘wizard’ so the printer can join your network, enter the network name and, if you have security (and I hope you do) you have to enter the passkey. Unplug the USB and you are done. You do have to install HP’s printer driver on each computer that is to access the printer.
Overall, this has been a relatively painless and somewhat pleasant experience. The last time I did this-about three years ago-it was a real pain in the buttocks. Of course, it was XP then. The more I use Vista (and Windows 7) the more I realize just how awful XP is now. It’s funny how looking back on something that seemed so great at the time can be so different now. XP is a real dog now. It’s butt ugly, not as stable as some seem to think it is and is just a pain to work with.
As for Hewlett-Packard, I’m a fan. I’ve had really good experiences with HP products and, for the money, I’ve not found anything better. About the only non-HP products we use are the monitors. The one HP LCD panel I had, it came with the last computer, just stopped working one day. I did some research and discovered that it was an internal power supply issue-a capacitor. It’s still dead.
Vista 64 bit should be the only version out. It manages memory much more efficiently, seems more ‘peppy’, and, so far, compatibility has not been a problem. Of course, in three years, I might be repeating my XP feelings when I replace this machine…