Now that I’ve upgraded my Studio XPS 435MT from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional, I felt like I should post an update to my original review of the Studio XPS desktop. After a couple of weeks of use, I am happy to report that the system runs quicker and seemingly quieter than ever.
Note: This is NOT a review of the Dell Studio XPS 435MT OR Windows 7 Professional. It is a review of Windows 7 Professional running on a Dell Studio XPS 435MT.
As I mentioned the other day, I installed 7 Pro on a brand new, unformatted hard drive making for a very easy installation. All of my hardware worked right off the bat with the exception of the built-in webcam in my 23″ Dell SP2309W LCD monitor. All that required was a quick trip to my closet to get the driver disc that original shipped with it. After that, everything works as expected.
Also, it is worth noting that the 19-in-1 media card reader does not show up under My Computer unless a media card is inserted. Its absence caused unnecessary frustration on my part as I tried to troubleshoot the issue. Thus, if you don’t see the card reader after installing Windows 7, than definitely try putting a memory card in before doing anything else. Otherwise, Windows 7 seems to play nice with every piece of hardware I’ve thrown at it (from my all-in-one printer, to my iPod touch, to my various USB peripherals).
Now lets talk about speed. Generally speaking, the machine takes roughly the same amount of time to boot up, but seems to shut down a bit faster than before. Also, Windows 7 Pro (and maybe some of the updated hardware drivers?) seems to make better use of the Studio XPS’ hardware (aka the Intel Core i7 processor, 6GB of system RAM, and 512MB of video RAM), providing for a snappier experience. Apps seem to launch quicker and various tasks finish in a shorter amount of time. Overall, the whole system feels like its running better (and possibly more efficient) than it did with Vista.
Along with the noticeable (but not to be over exaggerated) gains in performance, the machine also seems to operate quieter than before. As anyone who bought a Studio XPS 435MT before Dell released BIOS 1.1.2 (and subsequently 1.1.3) knows, the powerful yet cramped machine used to make unbearable fan noise. Now, with Windows 7 Pro and BIOS 1.1.3 installed, the desktop seems to make better use of system fans and even the hard drives (spinning them down when not needed), providing for a much quieter experience.
So if it isn’t clear by now, upgrading the Studio XPS 435MT with Windows 7 Professional is absolutely worthwhile. While definitely not perfect, the new operating system seems to take better advantage of the machine’s very capable hardware, and even seems to have improved fan management (thus reducing the overall operating noise).
If you qualify and can get the (student) upgrade for $30 (offer good until Jan. 3, 2010), then by all means, you should definitely go for it. Even if you have to pay
a bit more, I still recommend upgrading your Studio XPS with Windows 7 Pro (and BIOS 1.1.3) for an overall improved experience.