Windows 7 on ASUS P5NSLI
My 3 year-old desktop computer at home is based on the Asus P5NSLI motherboard. It has a 3GHz Dual-core Pentium processor, 3GB of RAM, and a RAID-0 configuration with 2 SATA disks for my data (the OS is on a single non-RAID drive). I have 2 GForce 7600 GL graphics cards, not so much because I am a gamer (these are low-end budget type cards and were so even 3 years ago), but because I wanted to see SLI in action, and because I thought I might upgrade to a 4 monitor setup one day (I have a dual-monitor setup right now).
I decided to install Windows 7 when it became available through our MSDN subscription earlier in August. I chose Windows 7 Enterprise x64.
The installation itself was almost eventless. I wiped out my boot drive and installed on a fresh partition. Windows 7 ships with NVidia drivers for the chip set that recognized my RAID volume and mounted it right away.
I previously had problems with the onboard Marvell network adapter and Windows XP x64 that ultimately forced me to revert to the 32bit version of XP. The network drivers made problems again and would not work. Windows 7 kept telling me that it cannot connect to the network. Because I never familiarized myself with the Vista network administration, it took me a while to verify that I had not made a configuration error (this included switching to a static IP address). I ended up disabling the onboard network interface and bought a $16 PCI Ethernet adapter with a Gigabit port. The network performance went down a bit from previous values (now ~500 kbits/s when the desktop is the server, ~200 kbits/s when the Rackstation is the server, using iPerf), but this is ok.
I have a few games that I fire up once in a while for distraction. Doom 3 is one of them, and it would crash every time I started it. This turned out to be an issue with the video drivers that ship with Windows 7. Once I downloaded the latest video driver from NVidia.com, this problem went away, and so far I have not discovered any new issues that these drivers would have introduced.
The last problem to date that I had to solve was the failure to power down when put in Sleep or Hibernate mode. Windows would correctly create a restore point, but when it got to the point where power was supposed to be cut off to fans etc, it would briefly interrupt power for a split-second and then power back up again. This turned out to be related to certain devices being configured to wake up the computer. Changing the power management options for affected devices is a well-documented resolution, but I had missed my keyboard in the first pass of making these changes. Once I went through all devices in the Human Interfaces Devices, Keyboards, Mice and other pointing devices, and Universial Serial Bus controllers categories in the Device Manager and turned off the “Allow this device to wake up the computer” flag, the sleep and hibernate modes worked.
Other then these few issues, Windows 7 is an improvement over XP and I like it a lot. Installing the development stack with Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 took a bit longer than expected, mostly because of mutual dependencies that require patches and service packs to be installed in the right order, with the occasional need to manually uninstall a patch that was installed by Windows Update too quicky.