Last week, I upgraded to a dual-core notebook. I won't give you the brand, because I don't play favorites and it's not central to what I'm about to write.
I consider myself a journalist, not a technologist, and product reviews are not what I do. We've all seen the dual-core demos, read the white papers, heard the hype. But nothing prepared me for this experience.
I'm in love.
Of course, every time I upgrade to a new PC I go through a honeymoon stage. I'm certainly in that stage now. But there are a few items that, right away, jump out at me as essential points.
The system is light, gets about four hours of battery life out of the box, has 1 Gb of memory and boots in about 90 seconds.
As a power user, this system is exactly what I've been dreaming about for the last couple of years. I am now able to truly multitask for the first time. Last week, I performed some video editing for CRN TV on my new dual-core notebook that took about one-third the time it used to take on my old single-core system.
I've also been able to conduct Skype phone calls that are every bit as pristine as using a land line. Before when I used Skype, there was a weird lag that drove people on the other end of the call into confusion. (I don't think it was a bandwidth issue, either, since I use a very fast wireless connection where I sit.)
I can browse the web using memory-eating Firefox, keep my Microsoft Word documents open, use a couple of Google gadgets and listen to webcasts - all at the same time - without any of the applications being degraded.
Simply put, for the first time I feel as if I can use a PC to get a lot of work done without the PC's limits becoming an issue.
Keep this in mind the next time you hear experts talking about a PC industry slowdown. If a customer can be shown, in black and white, real dollar savings, time savings and efficiency improvements - all of which are elements of dual-core systems - the transaction becomes a no brainer. Of course, not every user is a power user. For the employee who only clicks into Excel, email and eBay, the $299 specials may still be the ticket. But how many employers want those folks around, now, anyway?