I wanted to replace my desktop computer by a laptop for quite a while now and as it started to randomly freeze – no matter which OS it ran – I decided the right time has come now. I did some online research and then picked a Samsung R780 Helix (link in German). The bare technical facts:
- Intel Core i5 430M CPU
- 4 GB RAM
- Nvidia GeForce GT M330
- 17,3″ display with 1600×900 resolution
- Blueray drive
- 640 GB harddisk
- integrated webcam
- unfortunately no bluetooth
The R780 is available in several flavors which differ in harddisk space and CPU type. Helix comes with an Intel Core i5 430M and a 640GB harrdisk. So far I don’t regret my choice! It’s very quiet (no noisy fans), good keyboard and a nice display. Of course it comes preinstalled with Windows 7 (64bit). I didn’t remove Windows but I wanted Linux installed as well. (By the way, the hardware seems pretty compatible with current Linux distrubutions.) So, this is how I got along…
My Creative Zen Xtra (30GB) is a little big so I was up for a new and smaller MP3 player. I decided to buy Creative’s Zen (8GB). It’s a quite handy device and so far it works good. First thing you should do though is updating the firmware. Download it from Creative’s Support website and execute the downloaded file (Windows only…).
Zen is MTP compatible only which means it’s not recognized as mass storage device. Except it’s optional SD card, which pops up as a new hard drive in Windows (has to be activated in the player’s setup). Speaking of, all media stored on SD card has to be imported manually to Zen’s media database. I don’t care but some people do not like this fact. Once you get used to navigating through Zen’s menus it’s quite comfortable. Zen’s battery is charged by connecting the player to the computer’s USB port, which is bad if there’s no computer around. I’d recommend spending some extra bucks on “ZEN USB Power Adapter” (see picture) so you can charge the battery wherever you find a power supply. Another thing I’d add is “ZEN Clear Case” which protects the screen from scratches. I can’t say anything about Zen’s qualities as video player as I haven’t used this feature – and probably won’t at all – but as MP3 player it’s great!
Lately, I had some trouble installing a new Nvidia display driver:
During installation of this driver Vista told me that “Age of Empires II Update 2″ was not compatible with Vista… Er…? OK…..? The Nvidia installer ended without actually installing the driver and Vista then asked if it should try installing the program with recommended settings? Well, go ahead I thought… Now the Nvidia installer was sure it wasn’t running on Vista and quit. I rebooted and tried my luck again – no success. Still the installer quit because it could “run on Vista only” – though I was quite sure I was running Vista at this time! I guess the “recommended” settings emulate some kind of Windows XP environment – but I couldn’t turn this off again for this Nvidia installer. Well, I’m sure there would have been a solution to this but I wasn’t in the mood searching for it.
Due to the upcoming release of Microsoft’s Zune-Player they released a new theme for Windows XP. Looks nice if you like black and it kind of fits to the new Windows Media Player 11 which is also held in black.
You may download Zune theme here.