I've got a Ferrari!
So I'm sitting at my desk, working on various things, killing time before I go to lunch and then home to Kelowna (BTW, this was last Friday, February the 25th). At 11:20, the phone call I'd anticipated all week came:
"Hi, is that Rich?"
"Your Ferrari is here."
"Great! I'll collect it later today."
After lunch, I wandered down to the dealer, feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Could I really justify the expense of such a desirable piece of hardware? Such doubts soon dissipated when I spied the bright, shiny, brilliant red (is there any other colour?!) Ferrari, with my name on it. I started it up, and was soon thrilling to the sound of a Ferrari V12 engine screaming away!
I suppose I should mention now that the Ferrari in question isn't one of Enzo Ferrari's supercars (not that I'd say no to one); I'm talking about my new Acer Ferrari 3400 laptop computer. My first dabble with x86 hardware (I'm a SPARC bigot, as most readers probably know), the Ferrari 3400 is an impressive machine: 2 GHz AMD Mobile Athalon64 CPU (yes, gentle reader, this baby does 64-bit), 512 MB of RAM, 80 GB of disk, and an ATI Radeon 9700 frame buffer (video card for PC people) with 128 MB of dedicated video RAM that's good for 1400x1050 @ 32-bits per pixel. It also has USB 2.0, FireWire, and a DVD reader/writer drive. Oh, and don't forget the strip of carbon fibre above the keyboard!
My initial impressions are very favourable (I'm typing this blog entry on it, while I'm waiting for a backup to finish at work), although the hard drive is a little slow (at 4200 RPM, that's hardly surprising). It was a trade off between power consumption and disk size, I guess. I intend to replace the hard drive with an Hitachi Travelstar 7K60: a 7200 RPM 60 GB drive, with 8 MB of cache (for my intended uses, even 60 GB is more than enough, so speed is more important to me than absolute disk space). Bit of a shame that a faster drive isn't an ordering option. Talking of upgrades, I intend to fully load this puppy with 2 GB of RAM, just because. :-)
My Ferrari is currently running the stock Windoze XP installation it came with, but I intend to make it dual-boot with Solaris 10 this weekend. Given how much I despise Windoze, it will come as no surprise that I'll dual boot this thing as little as possible. When I can do all I want (i.e., read email, surf the web using the built-in WIFi adaptor, watch DVDs, and listen to CDs) natively in Solaris, I'll probably delete the XP partition completely. I know that most, if not all, of what is required is being worked inside Sun's Solaris group, so it's only a matter of time. The fact that so many Solaris kernel engineers have Ferrari 3400 laptops was a huge factor in my decision to acquire one! :-)
Time permitting, I'll do a more full review of this thing, especially comparing the performance of the two hard drives, and especially when using Solaris 10.
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