Techronical

 

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So, today I got a very cool package for being involved in the Online Community, Vista Labs, and the Hive - a laptop courtesy of the Windows Vista team and AMD with a most generous offer to try Windows Vista and review the hardware before it is released to the general public. There were several items we had to choose from to review one being an Acer Ferrari 1000, Acer Ferrari 5000, and a Velocity Micro Media Center PC - all powered by AMD. If don’t know already AMD has several 64-bit Dual Core Processors that are designed to work with the 64-bit version of Windows Vista and this gave many of us without that hardware an opportunity to test that out and give our honest opinions about the OS and the hardware. This was what I was told when the offer was made by Microsoft and not Edelman as some people have received like Andrew Baron (who with Jeff Pulver just launched Abbey Corps with some cool people like Chris Brogan - Congrats guys!!) have received.

This is the text of the offer: “Full disclosure - while I hope you will blog about your experience with the pc, you don’t have to. Also, you are welcome to send the machine back to us after you are done playing with it, or you can give it away on your site, or you can keep it. My recommendation is that you give it away on your site.”

I still haven’t decided what to do with it yet, but plan on it giving it a thorough review first before deciding to keep it, give it away, put it up for auction for charity, or send it back to Microsoft. Currently I am leaning towards keeping it to give tips and tricks for Vista on a 64-bit mobile system (I have various builds of Vista running on an IBM ThinkPad laptop, Fujitsu Tablet PC, Motion Tablet PC, HP Media Center PC, 2 home built boxes one with an Intel Processor and one with an older AMD64 that I purchased from the AMD Tour about a year ago), but some new systems mainly Tablet PCs, that I have an eye on that will be announced at CES 2007 may change that. :) Now back to the Ferrari 1004WTMi review!

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Instead of throwing specifications and numbers at you early in the review I will save that for last. And cover the laptop from a personal view and usage pattern. I also have a video of its unboxing if you are interested in that. Above is a snapshot of the side of the box.

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Being from Microsoft it came preloaded Windows Vista Ultimate and not just the 32 bit version, but the 64-bit version.

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Also included what looks to be the Office Enterprise 2007 SKU, which includes… Access, Excel, Groove, InfoPath, OneNote,Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word…2007.  This was probably done to show off the Windows Vista + 2007 Office System Feature Integration like Improved File Open/Insert/Save dialog boxes, Thumbnails, Explorer Preview Support, RSS feeds, Windows SideShow support, Freeze Dry/Restart Manager (one of my favorite features, which is great for preserving documents when applying system updates), Single Index for optimizing searching and much more.

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Also included, located on the Windows Desktop was the very informative Vista Product Guide. I had received a hardback version of this guide early this summer and it’s been very helpful getting familiar with the new things offered in Windows Vista. I hope this is included with all systems shipping or that are being Express Upgraded to Windows Vista. It makes for good reading and I am not one to RTFM.

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Opening the box revealed, a box inside the box, not to uncommon and thankfully since DHL decided to ding the brown shipping box and the product box in the first picture. Now mind you this is not just your ordinary run of the mill laptop, but a cool ultra-portable Acer Ferrari 1000 - a 12.1” notebook a smokin’ 1.80GHz  AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Technology Processor(yes that is two processors in a tiny package)

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The processor is optimized for on-the-go mobile processing without sacrificing battery life, but I didn’t see much to herald about in terms of battery life. Also notice the Windows Experience Index at a low 2.8, I would have thought it would be higher, even with a refresh with the system Power Options set at High Performance. So some tweaking will be needed.

Batteries:

 

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The Li-ion batteries are held in the unit by two locks on the bottom of the case. One just below the battery on the left hand side.

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And the other on the right hand side. The battery inserted is the slimmer and smaller of the two matching the lines of the laptop.

Insert slim battery picture here.

I found that the slim battery preinstalled in the unit was OK and didn’t really scream at me as being conservative. It netted an average runtime of 58 minutes with both the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on.

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Front of the Extended Battery

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Back of Extended Battery

The other extended battery included in the box netted far longer battery life with an average runtime of 3hrs and 4min.  The portable unit is seems to be geared more for power. This unit is equipped with Acer QuicCharge technology that is designed to reduce the charge time needed to bring its storage cells up to full power. Without having anything to compare it to its hard to say if this technology works or not, but it seem very reasonably for the times I charged it.

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For this unit I highly recommend using the Fn+F3 button to toggle to Windows Vista Power Options and running in Power saver mode altering the settings to maximize battery life and reduce processing power. You can do this by heading to Advanced settings under Power Options->Change advanced power settings.

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Here you can adjust things like USB ports Power buttons and lid actions (even the Start power button actions),PCI Express power state, Processor power management state maximum and minimum, Search and Indexing(this controls the use of processes and hard drive use in the background), Display controls, Multimedia sharing, Battery actions, and GPU settings.  

Ride around the Ferrari 1000

 

You can also adjust the brightness of the screen manually if you choose by using a combination of the left and right cursor keys and the Fn button.

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Under the shiny carbon fiber hood lies a fairly decent keyboard with quick launch keys(more on that later), Bluetooth and WiFi switches on the front, and it came loaded with 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a SATA 160GB hard drive. The lid seemed to act as a fingerprint magnet.

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Luckily Acer includes a screen cloth in a nice carrying case that can be used to treat the sensitive coating on its gorgeous 1280×800 12.1” display.

The laptop comes with a slim leather case to protect the laptop and act as a second skin when placed in your gear bag to protect from scratches and small items that may be loose in your bag. It is pretty basic and there also ones for each included accessory as well but there isn’t one for the power cord or battery pack.

On the sides of the unit there are a plethora of ports available for use.

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On the left hand side there is a firewire port used to power and connect to the included optical drive, a USB 2.0 port, a PCMCIA slot, and Kensington Lock.

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On the right hand side there are 2 USB 2.0 ports, an HDA modem , Broadcom 1GB Ethernet Jack, and 15pin female VGA port.

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On the front of the unit are two stereo speakers that has grills located in the front as well as on the base of the wrist rest, a 5 in 1 media drive-that supports SD,MMC,xD, and both the Sony Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro.

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Line In, Microphone In, and a shared SPDIF out/ headphone out jack as well as buttons for turning on the Bluetooth and WiFi radios are located in the center of the front of the laptop with a Fast IR port to the right of the Wi-Fi switch.

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Upon inserting something into one of the jacks you will be notified that something has been and inserted and you will also be notified if something was removed.

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On the back of the unit is the port on the back left (with the laptop screen facing you) is the port for charging and AC power.

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On the opposite side of the battery on the right is a 124pin connector for a docking station via Acer ezDock.

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On the bottom of the unit there are the usual panels for replacing memory (the upper panel with 3 screws) and the hard drive (the lower panel with 2 screws).

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Here is a close up of the hard drive DASP (Disk Anti-Shock Protection) system that includes Acer GraviSense and Acer Anti-Theft HDD protection technologies Software to protect data on the hard drive.

The 12.1" WXGA high-brightness (200 nit) Acer CrystalBrite&trade TFT LCD(1280 x 800 max resolution) is powered by an ATI Radeon® Xpress 1150 integrated 3D graphics and supports the Windows Vista™ Premium2 specifications.

As soon as I ran Windows Update a new optional driver was available for it and it installed without a hitch. Graphics look great on it from a gamer’s perspective as well as video editing on the widescreen.I did however have problems installing some software that requires Windows Media 9 Encoder.  

Here are the screen shots I received. For Camtasia 4, I was able to contact Betsy Weber for a workaround posted here.  

Opening the laptop revealed another note from Loki, this one wasn’t personalized like the one that came with Vanishing Point Game japanese puzzle box, but they were nearly identical. So this may be one of the prizes they may giving away at the Vanishing Point in Vegas at CES.

Ferrari Keyboard:

 

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The feel of the keyboard is OK. The keys have a light key press to them far different than your standard desktop computer with 2.5mm of travel. I still prefer the pitch and action of Lenovo keyboards the most. There are some great features on the keyboard I do like and few I don’t.The Page Up and Page Dn keys are located near the cursor keys, which make for great navigation of websites and long documents. The Function keys seem to be work well with many of the features in Vista. Here is a list of their functions:

Fn+F1 Hot key help Displays the hot key help file.

Fn+F2 Acer eSettings Launch Acer eSettings Management.

Fn+F3 Acer ePM Launch Acer ePower Management.

Fn+F4 Sleep Puts the computer in Sleep mode, which can be defined via the advanced section of the Power Mangement Properties in the Windows Control Panel.

Fn+F5 Display toggle Switches display output between the notebook LCD, an external monitor and both the notebook LCD and external monitor.

Fn+F6 Screen blank Turns the LCD backlight off to save power; press any key to resume.

Fn+F7 Touchpad on/off Turns the internal touchpad on and off.

Fn+F8 Speaker on/off Turns the speakers on and off.

Fn+F11 Number lock Turns on the numeric keypad on and off.

Fn+F12 Scroll lock Locks and unlocks the scroll keys.

Fn+Right Arrow Brightness up Increases the screen brightness.

Fn+Left Arrow Brightness down Decreases the screen brightness.

Fn+Up Arrow Volume up Increases the volume.

Fn+Down Arrow Volume down Decreases the volume.

Euro Show Euro currency symbol.

$ Dollar Show Dollar currency symbol.

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Using the Launch keys located on the front of the device next to the audio input and output jacks. The Bluetooth is on the left and the Wi-Fi on the right.

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The LEDs are pretty bright when activated. The green one to the left is the indicator for power, the Blue one is for Bluetooth complete with icon and the orange one in the shape of a satellite dish is the WiFi indicator.

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And the upper right hand corner of the keyboard you can do the following listed below by pressing special one-click buttons that perform special functions. On the right-hand side there are indicator lights for Caps Lock Num Lock and Hard Drive access.

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All of one-click buttons are programable via Launch Manager.

Launch Key Bluetooth switch Press button to enable or disable Bluetooth function. (the help says press but I found it to be a slide to the right)

Launch Key Wired/Wireless LAN switch Press button to enable or disable Wireless function.

Launch Key Email Launch Outlook Express(or user-defined program).

Launch Key WWW Launch Internet Explorer(or user-defined program).

Launch Key Empowering Technology Launch Acer Empowering Technology.

Launch Key User-defined Launch user-defined program.

Power Supply:

 

If you aren’t familiar with the directory structure of windows Vista 64 it actually installs 32-bit and 64-bit programs in separate Program directories. Some cool things about the mouse. It lights up when you leave it inactive for a short period of time, to let you know its on.Very cool. Inside the box you get the following components: The power supply is your standard Delta Electronics 3 prong Lintek 125V 7A rated input and 19V 3.42 A output. It weighs in at . I was hoping for a standard 2 prong connector like all my other Consumer Electronics gear I carry (camera,camcorder,etc) to lighten the load I carry. After several hours of use it gets fairly hot like most power supplies today. The connector to the laptop locks in very well and takes quite an effort to remove and insert. 

Bluetooth Mouse:

 

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Also included in the packaging was a Ferrari branded Bluetooth optical mouse with a wide scroll wheel similar to a racing tire with the Ferrari name on it.

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It too came with its own leather carrying case. Notice the detail of the mouse with the Ferrari red paintjob in the battery bay that extends along the sides to the front of the mouse to the scroll wheel.

 

There is even a “Brake Light” on the back of the mouse that flashes from a gap below the Ferrari logo that the mouse is still on.

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It has you standard Bluetooth pairing button on the underside of the unit with an On/Off switch that only a few Bluetooth mice have, and its now starting to become the norm. Unfortunately unlike the mouse that comes with the Ferrari 5000, this mouse isn’t rechargeable via USB and uses standard AA batteries.

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However if you wish to see how much juice is left in your mouse you can go to the mouse properties tab which can be launched either from the touchpad Pointing Device Properties, Bluetooth tab or via the Control Panel under Mouse.

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It even has a cool low battery alarm. This worked with the other bluetooth mice I have from Microsoft, Logitech, and Anycom.

The feet on the bottom of the unit provide some quick action on just about any surface and works well for gaming or any graphical work.

External Optical Drive

 

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The top of the optical drive also shares the Ferrari logo as the laptop. The fire wire(1394 bus)-powered 8X slot-load DVD-Super Multi double-layer drive supports a good amount of burning options, but doesn’t have Lightscribe, HD DVD or Blue Ray support, but does provide similar supported formats as most standard optical drives found on laptops today. The drive reads at 24X CD-ROM, 24X CD-R, 24X CD-RW, 8X DVD-ROM, 6X DVD-R, 6X DVD+R, 6X DVD-R DL (dual-layer), 6X DVD+R DL (double-layer), 6X DVD-RW, 6X DVD+RW, 5X DVD-RAM and writes at 24X CD-R, 16X CD-RW, 8X DVD-R, 8X DVD+R, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 5X DVD-RAM, 4X DVD-R DL (double-layer), 4X DVD+R DL (dual-layer). I had no problems burning and reading many DVDs and CDs in the short time I have had with it.

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The optical drive is powered and connected to the laptop by the included fire wire cable located on the back of the unit. The drive is about an inch longer than a standard CD case and about 2 standard CD jewel cases thick. When powered the drive ran fairly loud and its large rubber feet did little to dampen the noise when the drive spun up to high speeds for audio ripping. The drive comes up as an Initio DVD-RAM UJ-85JS.

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The optical drive also comes with a leather pouch to protect the Ferrari branded product. There is even a pouch for the fire wire cable. There also a bright red LED on the front of the drive.

The drive has a felt-brushes covering each side of the drive bay slot to prevent dust from dirtying the slot drive.

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Vista did it’s usually AutoPlay prompt when an audio CD is entered.

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The disk played through the Windows Media Center Player with no problems. I had problems with this same CD from SilverSun Pickups that I had in the past with several other computers and drives in Windows Vista RTM.

DVD play nets a similar experience with Autoplay, coming up on cue when a DVD is inserted. Surprisingly DVD playback was sluggish in Windows Media Player 11 in full screen mode. In windowed mode it performed as expected.

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I first felt that the performance stuttering and skipped frames were a direct result to the performance of the drive, but I didn’t experience any of this when playing the several test DVDs in Windows Vista Media Center, which seemed kind of strange because I would have expected the opposite, but the Media Center team did a great job.

1.3 MP Camera

 

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Pictured facing out of the lid of the Ferrari with the lid closed.

The integrated camera is your standard 1.3 Megapixel web camera made by Logitech located at the top of the laptop screen and seems to be the new standard on newer high-end wide screen laptops.

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The camera rotates a full 225 degress as indicated by the sticker on the upper left hand side of the display to the right of the camera with a warning not to rotate it fully around. It is nice since you can change the angle of the camera with preset clicks for facing you and facing away for you. You can make further fine-tune adjustments by moving the lid. Acer includes its own Orbitcam software that works great with both Windows Live Messenger and Skype video calls.

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The included Acer Orbi cam software did a great job in Face Tracking like other web cameras now have. You even have fine adjustments for PTZ (Pan, Tilt, and Zoom so you can center you image. You also have standard brightness, contrast and color adjustments, but the Auto mode does a fair job of setting everything.

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The image quality was average for your standard webcam, but great to have I didn’t get a chance to test it with my Videoblogging software due to Windows Media Encoder issues in installation.

Where I really enjoyed its use was during a meeting with One Note 2007 and it automatically panned to multiple people while I took notes.Very Cool!!! This is something I would love to see in more convertible Laptop/Tablet PCs as well.

Trackpad

 

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Is your standard Synaptics Pointing device found on most laptops with a right hand scroll bar. The driver in the task bar indicates sensitivity and pressure. The left and right click buttons are etched with the Ferrari 1000 logo and resembles the side of a razor blade. I don’t know if that design was intentional or not. Ther is also a nice groove below the buttons providing for a safe place to put your fingers or what I found most comfortable my thumb. I am more of a Trackstick/thumbstick fan because it allows me to use the mouse without having my hands leave the keyboard. This is very hard to do with trackpads in general. The tracking of the pad was pretty good, but still required multiple touches to drag the cursor across the screen.

The software for the trackpad has some neat features:

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A pressure graph for measuring piezoelectric sensitivity of the touchpad.

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And a mood pad what its for, your guess is as good as mine. It looks like a visualization using of your touch on the pad. The darker the color the higher the pressure.

I like the metal buttons on the trackpad, it actually looks like a razor edge. When you turn the machine on a series of red veins on the top actually glow. The texture of the plastic inside the device is a bit weird, it feels almost like it is velvet. The screen does 1280×800 resolution which is pretty good for a consumer grade laptop of this size, and the image on the screen is bright and crisp, possibly due to the high gloss finish on the screen. Its hard to walk the line of what is right and what everyone wants. The fact is that piracy will occur and people like something for nothing. DRM is bad when implemented incorrectly, if there is 1 standard that everyone can abid to that doesn’t line anyone’s pockets then it will probably float, but it will take a while.

Security

 

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There are no smart card slots or finger print readers included on this model, but there is a standard Kensington locking hole on towards the back on the left hand side. Also Acer includes technology to protect and secure the contents of the hard drive in case of being dropped or stolen.

Bluetooth 2.0

 

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The Built-in Bluetooth radio registered in the Device Manager as a Broadcom USB dongle, which seemed kind of strange. It didn’t have any problems working in Vista and recognized the included devices without any problem.

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I also had no problem pairing it with several Pocket PCs, Smartphones, keyboards, stereo headphones, and headsets.

However I did have problems getting the included VCM device to work.

Acer Bluetooth® VoIP

 

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The Acer Bluetooth VoIP unit is basically Ferrari branded headset

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The unit recharges and can be stored until it is used in the PCMCIA card slot.

ReadyBoost gives a little needed power

 

The computer scored a whopping 2.8 on the Windows Experience Rating as seen in one of the previous screen captures. I wasn’t too happy with this and was hoping that ReadyBoost would be my new friend on this new system with its memory limitation at 2GB. So I want to give it more oomph.

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I inserted a 4GB SD card (I had purchased two for my imate JasJar and one for ReadyBoost) in and it came up with the option to Speed up my System. Since I have a few of these lying around and didn’t want to opt for having a USB key hanging outside of my PC, I opted for this.

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Windows Vista ReadyBoost recommended almost all of the card storage to be used for ReadyBoost-3840MB and I agreed. After some whirring of my hard drive it stopped and looked to be configured.

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To be on the safe side, I went to the Device Manager to make sure it was Optimized for Performance rather than for quick removal.

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Here are the settings before the Refresh Now. It was and it was time to see the performance gain.

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The Disk data transfer rate went up a whole 0.1 Subscore. However other performance benchmarks did not increase.

Also a thing to note is that system capable of memory upgrades above 4GB can’t take advantage of it unless it is a 64bit systems in order to get over that 4GB hurdle.

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Note: If you don’t disable ReadyBoost you get the above message if you try to stop your Device from the taskbar and remove it. Be sure to stop ReadyBoost first then remove your card.

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For the heck of it I decided to try a SanDisk USB key 2GB that is labelled “Enhanced for ReadyBoost” and see if there would be any difference.

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For the heck of I decided to use it all.

Ok this what the Microsoft site says about the Windows Experience Index from the Help File:

The Windows Experience Index measures the capability of your computer’s hardware and software configuration and expresses this measurement as a number called a base score. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score, especially when performing more advanced and resource-intensive tasks.

Each hardware component receives an individual subscore. Your computer’s base score is determined by the lowest subscore. For example, if the lowest subscore of an individual hardware component is 2.6, then the base score is 2.6. The base score is not an average of the combined subscores.

Here are general descriptions of the kind of experience you can expect from a computer that receives the following base scores:

· A computer with a base score of 1 or 2 usually has sufficient performance to do most general computing tasks, such as run office productivity applications and search the Internet. However, a computer with this base score is generally not powerful enough to run Windows Aero, or the advanced multimedia experiences that are available with Windows Vista.

· A computer with a base score of 3 is able to run Windows Aero and many new features of Windows Vista at a basic level. Some of the new Windows Vista advanced features might not have all of their functionality available. For example, a machine with a base score of 3 can display the Windows Vista theme at a resolution of 1280 × 1024, but might struggle to run the theme on multiple monitors. Or, it can play digital TV content but might struggle to play High Definition Television (HDTV) content.

· A computer with a base score of 4 or 5 is able to run all new features of Windows Vista with full functionality, and it is able to support high-end, graphics-intensive experiences, such as multi-player and 3?D gaming and recording and playback of HDTV content. Computers with a base score of 5 were the highest performing computers available when Windows Vista was released.

The Windows Experience Index is designed to accommodate advances in computer technology. As hardware speed and performance improves, higher base scores will be introduced. However, the standards for each level of the index stay the same. For example, a computer scored as a 2.8 should remain a 2.8 unless you decide to upgrade the computer’s hardware.

So based on the rating system of the Windows Experience Index a 2.8 Experience Index doesn’t appear to meet minimum Windows Vista Premium requirements or qualify for shipping with Windows Vista pre-installed. However the system runs fine. I also have several other systems with Vista Experience Rating of 1 run fine- granted they have each have 2 and 4GB of physical memory, which may be a big part of it. Here are the benchmark results I got.

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In regards to drivers they were loaded in a Source directory in the Root directory of C:

There was a nice handy spreadsheet indicating all the drivers for the Ferrari, I doubt this will be on shipping systems,but it would be nice.

Ferrari1000 Vista X64 Driver and WHQL Status  (updated : 12/05/2006) version10

Driver (Vendor)

WHQL - Submitted by…

Shipping OS

WHQL -
Logo’d Driver

Driver
Folder Name / File Name

Chipset
ATI RS485m/SB460

ATI

VISTA X64

8.31.100.32

061129-8.31.100.3.2WHQL-061124a2-039464C-Acer_ZC3-ZH3.rar

VISTA X32

 

 

Audio
Realtek ALC883

Realtek

VISTA X64

12/8

5334_PG221_VISTA

VISTA X32

 

 

Modem-845
Conexant MDC1.5 ITU V.92

Foxconn

VISTA X64

7.58.00

v75800_Vista64_logo.rar

VISTA X32

 

 

Lan
BroadCom 5788MG

Broadcom

VISTA X64

9.20.0.3

IN BOX

VISTA X32

 

 

Touchpad
TM61P-G372A

Synaptic

VISTA X64

9.1.0.0

Synaptics_v9_1_0_C_Vista_Vista64_Quanta_logo.rar

VISTA X32

 

 

Wireless
Atheros ABG/BG

Foxconn

VISTA X64

7.1.0.90

VISTA_WHQL_7-1-0-90_Acer

VISTA X32

 

 

Wireless
BroadCom 802.11n

Foxconn

VISTA X64

4.102.15.57

VISTA_4_102_15_57_11n_logo.rar

VISTA X32

 

 

PCMCIA
TI 7412

TI

VISTA X64

6.0.6000.16386

IN BOX

VISTA X32

 

 

Card Reader
TI 7412

TI

VISTA X64

2.0.0.6

Cardreader_Ti_X64_v2.0.0.6_logo

VISTA X32

 

 

Bluetooth
T60H928.01

Foxconn

VISTA X64

6.0.1.3500

BTW 6.0.1.3500 Acer.rar

VISTA X32

 

 

Webcam

Logitech

VISTA X64

10.4.0.1319

10.4.0.1319_OrbiCam_SIGNED

VISTA X32

 

 

Launch Manager

Dritek

VISTA X64

2.0.02

LM-12-05-06-v2.0.02

VISTA X32

 

 

Docking Modem

Foxconn

VISTA X64

 

2175-v64.rar

VISTA X32

 

 

 

Problems and Issues with Ferrari 1000:

 

Issues I had with the Ferrari 1000 were few:

When coming out of hibernation while it was connected to a wired network or when I shut down the device, I couldn’t connect back at home to my wireless network. The work around I had performed was to head into Device Manger and disable the Wireless Network adapter and then enable it again.

Turning off Bluetooth while shutting down made the touchpad all wonky. In order to get back up and running I had to shut off the touchpad which seemed to jump left and right on the screen. I had tried turning it back on. The only way I could get it to stop was by pressing down pretty hard on the touchpad which seemed to center it and place things back to normal.

Bluetooth VoIP software required reinstallation to work after installing a Windows Update.

I have had only had off and on use with it and will be sure to post more findings as I use it more. The Vista 64 experience has been pretty good. I am waiting to try some software that has been geared to run on the 64 bit Vista platform as well as updated software to deal with encoder issues with older software.

Here are the specifications for the system as promised:

Specifications

 

Processor and Core Logic AMD Turion™ 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-56 (1.8GHz Processor)

Dual-core processing

Simultaneous 32- and 64-bit Windows®-compatible support

AMD PowerNow!™, AMD HyperTransport™ and Enhanced Virus Protection4 technology

System Memory 1GB DDRII 667 MHz RAM, upgradeable to 4GB using dual soDIMM modules

Display/Graphics 12.1" WXGA high-brightness (200 nit) Acer CrystalBrite™ TFT LCD, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, 16.7M colours

ATI Radeon® Xpress 1150 integrated 3D graphics, with up to 512 MB of HyperMemory™

ATI POWERPLAY™ 5.0 support

Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 support

PCI Express® support

ATI DualView™ support

Simultaneous multi-window viewing via Acer GridVista support

MPEG-2 DVD hardware-assisted capability

S-video/TV-out (NTSC/PAL) support

Storage 160GB S-ATA hard disk drive

5-in-1 card reader supporting Secure Digital (SD), MultiMediaCard (MMC), Memory Stick® (MS), Memory Stick Pro™ (MS-Pro) and xD-Picture Card™ (xD)

Media Drive External IEEE 1394 bus-powered 8X slot-load DVD-Super Multi double-layer drive

Dimensions & Weight 302.3 (W) x 221.28 (D) x 20.8/34.5 (H) mm

1.75 kg with 6-cell battery pack

1.6 kg with 3-cell battery pack

Power Subsystem ACPI 2.0 CPU power management standard: supports Standby and Hibernation power-saving modes

57 W 5200 mAh Li-ion battery pack (6-cell)

22 W 2000 mAh Li-ion battery pack (3-cell)

5-hour battery life for both battery packs

Acer QuicCharge™ technology: 80% charge in 1 hour; 2-hour rapid charge system-off; 2.5-hour charge-in-use

65 W AC adapter

Keyboard and Pointing Device 84-/85-key keyboard with inverted "T" cursor layout; 2.5 mm (minimum) key travel

Touchpad pointing device

12 function keys, four cursor keys, two Windows® keys, hotkey controls, embedded numeric keypad, international language support

Four easy-launch buttons: Empowering Key, email, Internet, user-programmable

Two front-access communication switches: WLAN, Bluetooth®

Wireless Bluetooth® optical mouse

Audio Audio system with microphone and two built-in speakers

Communication Interface Acer Video Conference featuring Voice and Video over Internet Protocol (VVoIP) support via Acer OrbiCam™ and Acer Bluetooth® VoIP phone

Acer OrbiCam™ integrated 1.3 megapixel CMOS camera featuring:

- 225° ergonomic rotation

- Acer VisageON™ technology

- Acer PrimaLite™ technology

Modem: 56K ITU V.92 modem with International PTT certification, Wake-on-Ring ready

LAN: Gigabit Ethernet, Wake-on-LAN ready

WLAN: Acer InviLink™ Nplify™, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ solution, supporting Acer SignalUp™ wireless technology

WPAN: Integrated Bluetooth® 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate)

I/O Interface 3 x USB 2.0 ports

1 x 124-pin Acer ezDock connector

1 x PC Card slot (one Type II)

1 x 5-in-1 card reader (MMC/MS/MS-Pro/SD/xD)

1 x IEEE 1394 port (6-pin)

1 x Fast infrared (FIR) port

1 x External display (VGA) port

1 x S-video/TV-out (NTSC/PAL) port

1 x Headphones/speaker/line-out port with S/PDIF support

1 x Microphone/line-in jack

1 x Ethernet (RJ-45) port

1 x Modem (RJ-11) port

1 x DC-in jack for AC adapter

OS Preload Genuine Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional

Security Acer DASP+ including Acer DASP (Disk Anti-Shock Protection), Acer GraviSense and Acer Anti-Theft HDD protection technologies

Software Acer Empowering Technology (Acer ePower, ePresentation, eDataSecurity, eRecovery, eSettings, ePerformance Management)

Acer GridVista™

Acer Launch Manager

Norton AntiVirus™ *

Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®

CyberLink® PowerDVD™

NTI CD Maker™

Acer Voice Connection Manager

Acer OrbiCam™

Optional Items Acer ezDock

Additional Li-ion battery pack

Additional AC adapter

External USB floppy disk drive

W-cable

Warranty 1-year limited local and International Traveller’s (Carry-in) Warranty

POV

 

There seems to be a lot of brew-ha on the net about these pre loaded systems. I have yet to decide what I want to do with the laptop if I should keep it to provide tips and tricks on Vista and other things I find to try out, use it for give away or send it back to Microsoft. I am currently on the cusp of purchasing a new laptop which will most likely be a Tablet PC. I just thinks some people should read David Pogue’s poignant article on online etiquette, but that’s another story… 

Here are some posts relating to the review units sent out by Microsoft in no particular order.

http://slashdot.org/articles/06/12/27/1423234.shtml

http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2006/12/27/microsoft-crosses-the-line-as-it-bribes-bloggers-with-vista-notebooks/

http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/2006/12/28/what-i-really-want-to-tell-microsoft/

http://notgartner.wordpress.com/2006/12/27/acer-ferrari-1000-the-unboxing/

http://apcmag.com/4889/microsoft_offers_2_000_ferrari_gifts_to_bloggers

http://thomashawk.com/2006/12/microsoft-handing-out-hot-slick.html

http://scobleizer.com/2006/12/27/i-think-the-microsoft-vista-giveaway-is-an-awesome-idea/

http://marshallk.com/microsoft-wants-its-laptops-back

http://www.whatsnextblog.com/archives/2006/12/edelman_doesnt_give_a_crap_what_you_think_about_their_ethics.asp

http://crunchgear.com/2006/12/28/love-will-tear-us-apart-microsoft-wants-its-laptops-back/

http://www.tinyscreenfuls.com/2006/12/disclosure-who-pays-my-bills/

http://www.crunchnotes.com/?p=331

http://notgartner.wordpress.com/2006/12/28/can-a-free-laptop-move-the-dial/

http://www.windows-now.com/blogs/robert/archive/2006/12/27/Microsoft-Gifts-and-Ethics.aspx

http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=1576

http://www.tipsdr.com/?p=678

http://microsoft.blognewschannel.com/archives/2006/12/27/some-windows-bloggers-get-free-ferrari-laptop/

http://thetechnologyfreepress.net/?p=97

http://b.drewolanoff.com/2006/12/27/free-laptops-for-bloggers-good-or-evil/trackback/

http://www.dembot.com/012051.html

It just seems a lot of whining and belly-aching goes on by some and some of it is warranted and some not. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. The reason why a certain few were chosen were that the are active in online communities supporting or creating a community around Microsoft technology (free Apple hardware is given to those supporting the Apple community). If you wish to be a part of it you are more than welcome and can sign up at the Hive, blog, start a website and get noticed. All those involved with the Featured Communities have played a very active role in the development of Vista. Many of us have taken personal time to test and attend events to seed and share the community with the knowledge they have learned and shared with the folks at Microsoft.

If you don’t already know me by now I am Microsoft MVP in Mobile Devices for several years. I have beta-tested and consulted on several software and hardware products starting with Windows 3.1 for Workgroups and Palm products. I have been beta-testing Vista and using it as my sole operating system on 3 different machines that I own, on my free time because I want to see the Windows Vista do well and operate the way I need it too, for almost an entire year now. And Yes I even beta tested it when the first bits came out at PDC. I’ve done the same with other Operating Systems as well. I am just into technology. The beta was open to many people via Connect as well as many other offers to sign up via Friends and Family programs, VIP, etc.

Ethically being influenced one way or another depends on the person. Everyone will have some bias and I know myself and others that have been offered the systems for review have been highly critical of Microsoft and the way they do things and want to make changes in things that don’t work like they should. I have been on both sides of the fence for years I am pro-Linux, pro-Mac, pro-Microsoft, whatever floats your boat I use them all. I see the strengths and weaknesses in all and use them practically every day some with choice and some I am forced to. Technology competition and change is what the industry needs if there is nothing to compare to it, innovation degrades over time. This is my Techronical and hope to share my findings with you.   I hope this information helps. I just want to be fully transparent about what we are doing here.

Written by Steven Hughes - Visit Website

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