Those who follow me on Twitter (@markwilsonit) may have seen a few comments about the Windows Vista laptop that I’m currently fixing for a family member, who decided not to “bother” me when they bought a new computer, yet still relies on me for help when it doesn’t work as intended…
The laptop was woefully underpowered, with just 1GB of RAM (but only 768MB available) and an IntelÂ Celeron 540 CPU runningÂ at 1.87GHz.Â Patching the operating system seemed to improve things slightly (it was running Windows Vista RTM, with no updates successfully applied for over 18 months) but what it really needed was more RAM. The Crucial System Scanner told me it had a single memory module, with room for one more, so I invested the princely sum of Â£13.67 in making the system usable.
Not surprisingly, the addition of the extra memory to the machine changed the Windows Experience Index values for memory operations per second but it also significantly increased the graphics score:
|Component||What is rated?||Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo V5535, Celeron 540, 1GB RAM||Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo V5535, Celeron 540, 2GB RAM|
|Processor||Calculations per second||4.1||4.1|
|Memory (RAM)||Memory operations per second||3.9||4.4|
|Graphics||Desktop performance for Windows Aero||3.5||4.9|
|Gaming graphics||3D business and gaming graphics performance||3.2||3.2|
|Primary hard disk||Disk data transfer rate||5.1||5.1|
Unfortunately, Windows Vista Home Basic doesn’t include Aero (there are some workarounds on the ‘net but they didn’t seem to work for me), so I left the system running as normal.
What I found bizarre though was that even the crippled system with 1GB of RAM and only a few MB free (which was almost unusable, it was so slow) had similar Windows Experience Index scores to my everyday laptop – a much more powerful machine with an Intel Core 2 Due P8400 CPU at 2.26GHz, 4GB RAM and Windows 7 x64:
|Component||What is rated?||Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook S7220, Core2Duo P8400, 4GB RAM|
|Processor||Calculations per second||3.1|
|Memory (RAM)||Memory operations per second||4.3|
|Graphics||Desktop performance for Windows Aero||4.1|
|Gaming graphics||3D business and gaming graphics performance||3.4|
|Primary hard disk||Disk data transfer rate||4.5|
Perhaps MicrosoftÂ updated the Windows Experience Index algorithm between Vista and 7, or between 32- and 64-bit systems,Â (I thought they just increased the maximum score from 5.9 to Â 7.9) but it seems to make a mockery of the “experience index” when a basic consumer system scores more highly than a mid-range business machine.