OT: Virtual PC vs "Real" PC

Richard Gaskin ambassador at fourthworld.com
Tue Aug 24 13:11:31 EDT 2004

On Fri, 20 Aug 2004, Sannyasin Sivakatirswami wrote:
>But, I would be running VPC on OSX G4 dual-processor desktop model, (in
>another room) to upgraded to a G5 soon... so I think the speed will be

I have three physical PCs (Win XP, ME, and 95) and one copy of Virtual 
PC running on my G4 laptop.  While running VPC is a great way to 
spot-check Windows design issues and to make Win installers (I use Wise 
Install), the speed is at the edge of tolerable.

Under Micro$oft the new product is well optimized for running Win XP, 
but even with these enhancements it's very slow compared to running on 
native hardware.  And using any non-Micro$oft OS under VPC (it's a snap 
to set up a virtual Linux installation) runs much slower still.  Sure, a 
dual-G5 will help, but the nature of the task means it will never match 
native hardware.

Beyond the sluggish performance inherent with emulation, a bigger issue 
is that from time to time I'll come across issues in VPC that aren't 
evident on a physical PC (mostly redraw issues).  True, these get fewer 
and fewer with each new version of VPC, but something to keep in mind.

VPC is a great solution for ocassional Windows work while on the road 
(unless you don't mind lugging two laptops <g>), but if you're working 
at a desk you'll have a much more productive experience using a physical 
PC, and one which will more closely mirror the experience of your users. 
  You can have even greater productivity if you use the software gadget 
Chipp is fond of which allows you to use one mouse and keyboard across 
both systems as though the monitors are physically connected (Chipp, 
what's that called again?).

Best of all, with PCs being so inexpensive the cost difference is 
trivial.  Unless you play games the Celeron-based machines are quite 
suitable, and dirt-cheap (Mac users can only dream of the sort of 
competitive pricing that happens once you break out of a manufacturing 
monopoly). I got one from HP for under $500 that performs enviably well 
compared to my $2600 Mac (Quartz, while pretty, is a processor hog), and 
cheaper bargains are available if you shop around; even used ones can be 
a great value, and often $200 or less (roughly the same price as VPC).

And if you're only using the machine for tweaking/testing, you'll have 
plenty of hard drive space available if you choose to reformat to have a 
dual-boot so you can run Linux on that box too.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Media Corporation
  Ambassador at FourthWorld.com       http://www.FourthWorld.com

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