Mixed messages on Vista: Terrible or great...

I wanted to get some views on the different attitudes I'm encountering with Vista.

I'm building a new system (core I7 920 with 6 GB ram) and have been thinking of going with Vista 64 to get all of the ram used (as opposed to only around 3 GB with 32 bit XP). With regards to Windows 7, I wouldn't buy it until at least 6 months to a year maybe after it comes out to get out the bugs. I don't want to stick with XP 32 that long if Vista 64 can give me better performance and ram usage.

However, all of my friends with Vista hate it. They advised me to stick with XP. They point to being unstable and heavily recommended staying with XP unless I need directX10 (which I don't). One of them said it's a huge memory hog and uses 2 GB even when it's idle, so even if XP doesn't recognize every GB of ram, it wouldn't make a huge difference.

However, when searching around this forum, it seems like the majority of people like Vista and view it as stable.

I know you guys here are mostly high level users, but the people I mentioned aren't computer idiots.

What's going on?

The only thing I could think of is that they are running Vista 32, which is bad, and you guys are talking about Vista 64, which is good and stable.

Any thoughts?
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  1. I have four Vista 64 systems I built and use everyday and an additional two Vista 32 systems I use daily as well. I have no issues with any of the six machines, they run flawlessly without issue. My whole family uses Vista 64 including my wife who several years ago had trouble using a mouse. I have another fifteen or so machines loaded up with Windows XP. Those machines are no more stable or nonhateable than my Vista machines.
  2. Vista is working great now, for the gamer/enthusiast/home user profile. The enterprise is a trickier proposition because of the proprietary apps, old hardware, and complicated ecosystem in which XP is deeply entrenched.

    A lot of semi-informed people are mindlessly spreading a lot of half truths or non-truths about Vista, some out of ignorance and stubbornness and some, quite a few actually! are spreading it intentionally because they are Mac or Linux fans who are praying MS will curl up and die and that's a fact - in this fanboy filled blogosphere objective opinions are hard to come by.

    Here are some real facts:

    1. Vista scores the same or sometimes better than XP on game frame rates. It didn't at first because of immature drivers but it does now. Proof: http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2302499,00.asp That's from Extremetech. Another from Firing Squad: http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/amd_nvidia_windows_vista_driver_performance_update/

    Let your friends chew on those stats.

    2. Vista has a significantly higher RAM footprint than XP but XP was designed for 2000 era PCs which only had about 128 meg of RAM! Of course Vista uses more, it does more. RAM is cheap so who cares? With two gig or more installed you will never feel the footprint.

    3. ABOUT that footprint and the silly two gig figure you heard: My Vista 64 install has 8 gig of RAM installed, doing nothing it is using about 1/3 to 1/2 of it, as I write this with nothing but a couple of browsers open I am using over 4 gig of RAM! - this is not RAM hogging it is superfetch - superfetch is a very clever Vista feature that aggressively pre-loads frequently used code into RAM so that it won't have to be fetched from the hard drive. A lot of your friends are probably still living in an XP mindset where a lot of RAM showing up as 'used' was a bad thing. In Vista it is a good thing because of superfetch. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/features/performance.aspx My machine can run and almost endless number of apps and have 3d games minimized and even several virtual machines running and there is virtually NO waiting fir anything. It's so fast and responsive I feel sure you would be shocked after hearing what you have about this supposed system hog. Oh yea, on 1 gig systems Vista only uses something like 400 meg or so on tuned systems - so it certainly does not HAVE to consume 2 gig. It CAN run on 512 RAM.

    4. Vista is as fast or faster than XP, but 7 will be the fastest yet: Proof: http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=3236. This guy did like 25 benchmarks and shut up a lot ppl who were mindless repeating the canard that Vista is slow. Vista WAS slow on old equipment, before the better drivers and fixes and it IS slow on under spec machines and on crapware loaded installs from OEMs. Because of the Vista FUD out there the slowness was blamed on Vista's core design when it should not have been! XP may be a little faster on some things but Vista seems to make up for it on others, particularly on powerful mult-core and RAM heavy systems such as the one you are getting.

    5. Vista has some quirks, security is stronger but it is also more in your face. This can take some getting used to both with UAC and with setting network permissions and the like. Some parts of the interface can seem quite clunky and make you scratch your head, why? 'Why is it doing thing like this?' The interface was a great idea but never quite polished, rushed out the door a bit? Yes, it was. But it is prettier by far, LOL. It's a good OS, not a great OS, but better on the whole than XP at this time. As for compatibility XP is still king, everything works with XP and has had 8 years to dig in. Vista is close, almost 100% compatibility but there are a few gaps here and there on some of the finer edges of functionality.

    OS preference can be a question of taste. I actually like Vista and couldn't care less if some Luddites and Mac fiends don't think it's cool. I do realize it has some minor flaws.

    6. Oh yea, another half truth. The Vista interface known as Aero, with the transparencies and all that, it runs on the video card, not on your CPU and RAM, thus even though it is very flashy and fancy it does not bog your system down unless you have a weak video card or shared video RAM. And if you don'y buy that then just turn it off - it's optional! A lot of XP users cannot grasp Aero, as from their experience anything fancy was a waste of resources. This was true for so long but things have moved on.

    7. The thought of putting a 32 bit OS on your i7 system with 6 gig of RAM is making my blood boil. DO NOT, please. At least get XP 64 if you must get XP.

    8. Vista has new stability features, most notably when your video card crashes it does not crash your whole system. I get far fewer freezes and crashes on Vista than on XP. If your friends tried Vista early on then yea, it was unstable at first but now not so much.

    9. Bottom line: On new and powerful gaming systems get Vista 64! With 4 or more gigs of RAM and your system will SMOKE! You are also set for the future unlike your friends who are stuck with DX 9, inherently weaker security and vulnerability, and an aging OS which will in time be phased out as Vista and it's blood brother 7 TAKE OVER. The time when XP was the OS of choice for gamers/enthusiasts is OVER and your friends just don't know it yet.

    I say this a a guy who has lived with XP daily since the day it came out in beta many years ago. I love that OS and still use it on older machines and on my business machine.
  3. Wow, long post. But very informative.

    My friends may have not liked Vista due to getting it a couple years ago which may have been when there were more issues.

    Good explanation on the RAM "hog" thing. I didn't know Vista did that.

    The thought of spending money on 6 GB and only have my 32 bit OS recognize half of it wasn't something I was enthusiastic about.
    I was putting 6 GB in prep for Windows 7, but I didn't want to use XP until mid/late 2010 when I'd upgrade to Win 7 (I know it's out later this year, but I never buy a new OS until 6 months to a year in so they fix the bugs)

    I'll probably use Aero since I'm going with the Premium version. It shouldn't be a problem since I'll probably go with a 1 GB 4870 graphics card (at least 512 4870 at worst), so this should be able to handle Aero without a problem. And like you said, I can always turn it off.

    Thanks for you help. Greatly appreciate it. I think I'll go with 64 bit Vista Premium.
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