My New Laptop

One more post that's only vaguely related to Oracle and then back to the stats posts.

I mentioned previously that I'd ordered myself one of these. After suffering performance problems with my 11.2/OEL/VMWare/Parallelism demos at UKOUG, I was determined that wouldn't happen again and that it was time for a new laptop, complete with Core i7, 8G RAM and an SSD. In the event, Dell came up with a 6 week lead-time, so I cancelled the order. Of course, as soon as I did that, they solved their lead-time issues and raised a new order on my behalf which I'm still trying to get returned! But that's another story.

I started to look at alternatives (but there weren't many because the laptop Core i7 hasn't been available long) and came across the Sony VPCF11Z1E. No SSD, but a Blu-Ray drive and I've been more than happy with my previous Vaio over the last couple of years. Better still, my mate Jari checked out John Lewis and I could pick one up the next day. It all looked a bit consumer/multimedia orientated and I was a bit concerned about the dimensions and weight, but performance was the main priority and I could always stick an SSD in it later if I decided that would help. The other issue (and I was talking to another conference speaker who had shared this experience) was that I'd left it late, the conference was approaching and so it was a bit of a hurried purchase. If Apple had a Core i7 model out now, that would have been on the list too.

The next day it turned up with the minimum of fuss (John Lewis are great) and I opened the box excitedly. Only to feel let down :-(

The thing just seemed so big and heavy. Worse, still, when I powered it on and started using it, I noticed the fan noise as much as the absolutely stunning screen. Definitely not in the same league as the ISP4400 in the bedroom, but the laptop equivalent. Mmmm. Not the "isn't my new toy great" moment I'd been expecting. It also didn't fit into my existing laptop bag which was a key part of my smooth operation commuting to London. In fact, it was difficult to see why I'd bothered and I kept looking longingly at my old Vaio as I moved stuff between the two machines.

Mads insisted she thought it was great, as did Jari (but then he would, having talked me into it! LOL), but I was searching for things to like about it. Eventually they started to appear and I've become much happier with it over the past few weeks.

- The screen is simply stunning and one benefit of a wide screen is that it's not a bad replacement for the dual monitor set-up at work. Tom Kyte is right - screen estate is a big deal.

- Throw in Blu-Ray and should I ever want to watch a movie it's amazing, based on my first experience with District 9.

- I love Sony keyboards.

- I hate numeric keypads and offset keyboards on a laptop. Might be useful if I played games a bit more.

- I ran the same Swingbench tests on the old and new laptop against the same VM (and no, I'm not going into details - this is consistent across many different tests). Old laptop - 35,000 Transactions Per Minute. New laptop - 180,000 TPM. Ah! Now I remember why I bought it* ;-)

- Despite it being a bit bigger than I'd like, it's nowhere near as bad as Marco managed to make it look in this carefully-arranged stunt-shot!

By the time I reached Hotsos, I was feeling much better about it and when Kevin Closson was talking about the advantages and disadvantages of SMT, I was keen to try it. Damn! Consumer-grade nonsense again! I've never seen fewer BIOS options in my life! Date/Time, system password and a solitary option to enable VT. So at least Sony let you enable VT now which is an improvement on the past, but ... sigh. I'm going to have to go hunting for ways of accessing more advanced BIOS options so that I can break my next set of demos ;-)

All in all, I'm happy I bought it now, but it's definitely not recommended if you're a road warrior. Even with my new rucksack, it's a little on the heavy side and you can imagine how quickly you can tear through battery power (particularly if you decide to run intensive benchmarks)!

*Top tip, though. It doesn't matter how powerful your new laptop is and how elegantly VMWare allows you to move your demos on to it, if you forget to install the Windows Loopback Adaptor, it will all count for nothing and you'll look and feel like a clown ;-)

P.S. Couldn't resist sneaking a look in that Dell box, wondering if I'd made a mistake. What a relief. It was just as big, seemed heavier, looked pretty but I'd definitely rather have the Sony!