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HeavyG

Project Revival: Averatec 4155 - Part Two (The Install)

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While I was waiting on my slightly used CPU upgrade to arrive, I decided it was time to nuke the existing drive and get it ready for the operating system install. I decided I would try Windows 7 Professional due to the speedy install time, ease of setup, and to see how much this little machine can handle. A would like to get both qualitative and quantitative data before deciding if I should downgrade the operating system back to Windows XP.

For those that are unsure of the build, reference the following link: http://www.teamplayergaming.com/entr...-4155-Part-One

The Windows 7 Professional installation went well... right up to the point where Windows could not load any of my network and audio drivers. Who would have thought that a 5 year old machine would not have driver support for Windows 7? Well, I actually did think about that, and I had my concerns, but wanted to give it the good ole "college try". To avoid "flunking out", I decided the first place to go to would be Averatec's web site. Apparently, "Avaratec" is actually owned by Trigem (http://www.trigem.com/us/main.asp). Once I was on the Trigem site, I was able to locate drivers for my 4100 series machine - all for Windows XP.

After multiple Google searches, I was running into people having the same exact problem - no Windows 7 drivers, unless you want to pay for them at one of those Driver sites. I decided to look up the manufacturers of the wireless and ethernet devices on the machine. Thanks to RALink's website (http://www.ralinktech.com/), I was able to download some drivers that allowed me to get the install on this little notebook up and running again. Once I was connected to the internet, Windows was able to find the drivers for all devices. I ran all of the automatic updates and even got the system protected with Microsoft Security Essentials.

A couple of things I noticed right away was that the Appearance settings were set to Windows Basic with no ability to switch to an Aero based theme. After troubleshooting within Windows, I found out that the graphics card installed in the notebook does not meet the requirements for Windows Aero. The graphical requirements from Microsoft are a DirectX 9 graphics device with Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or higher driver with 128 MB of video memory. A later release identified having Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware for Aero to be enabled. Well, crap. Looks like no Aero for me on this little notebook machine. The Averatec 4155 came standard with the all powerful SIS Mirage 2 graphics card (also known as the worst graphics card in history... probably even worse than the SIS Mirage 1).

Functionality of the PC was good, even though it was still missing the "N" and it had to remained plugged in. I quickly installed Google Chrome and enabled as my default browser. Although I am an avid Firefox user on my more powerful boxes, Chrome is just snappier and seems to work better on the lower powered machines. I then connected to TeamPlayerGaming.com, Facebook, Gmail, and even watched some YouTube videos before finally going to bed.

When I got home from work on Friday evening, to my surprise, the upgraded CPU had arrived. (Thank you, dalev1353, for the prompt service and excellent eBay experience - positive feedback on the way!) I was able to remove the back case, heat sink, and existing CPU within a few minutes. I cleaned existing thermal compound off of the heat sink with a coffee filter, installed the new CPU, applied some Arctic Silver 5 and then reassembled. I plugged it back in, posted, and successfully loaded windows. I re-ran the "Windows Experience Index", which was previously a whopping 1.0 due to the awesome graphics card. To my surprise, the processor score which was originally 3.2 had risen to 3.9. The 400MHz increase was clearly making somewhat of a difference.



Some of the best things about Windows 7 are the Aero features. Not being able to enable Aero on this machine could be a real deal breaker between choosing Windows 7 or Windows XP. My preference is Windows 7 for security and support for Microsoft, but Windows XP is probably more practical for multi-tasking in terms of resource utilization. I will wait until the final hardware build is complete before making any final decisions. Stay tuned.

HeavyG

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