Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My New Sahara Defrag Testing Computer

Today I unpacked "FRAGG", my brand new Sahara computer. I bought it from the good people at ZAPS in Randburg, after doing a search on www.pricecheck.co.za. The model DT825125-P601 cost me R 3,726 including VAT, and comes with Windows Vista Home Basic and a load of other consumer-friendly software.
My first task has been to disable the scheduled defrag program in Vista, and uninstall some of the "crapware" like Google desktop search. I made a System Restore point before downloading and installing all 41 available system updates. The second task was to do the Windows Update, and get Windows Defender working. I also used SDelete to set all the free space to zero, so that the compression will work better using Acronis True Image, since I'm doing a sector-by-sector backup.
Once the backup is complete, I'm going to decide what "crapware" to keep, and what to get rid of. The Samsung HD161HJ hard drive is enormous: there is 149GB disk space, so it will be possible to install a lot of applications and stuff on this machine, to really put it through its paces.
I also want to create a Windows XP installation image, with exactly the same software on it, so whatever defrag programs I test can be tested on both Vista and WinXP.
I'm using a Mecer Bravo external USB 450GB hard drive for storing the backup images and test files. I bought it on "special" at Game in Cresta, where it was advertised at R799.99 but they rounded it up to R800 and then wondered why I complained. I hope it was a loss leader. They also lost out on the sale of a Mecer desktop computer for R3800, and of course Hewlett-Packard didn't get a look in because of their bad driver for the HP1020 laser printer. Who says customers don't forget?
So thanks to Sahara and ZAPS for their efficient service, and to Game for reducing the price of the external drive. It's not every day that you order a computer on Saturday before Christmas and collect it on Tuesday; many computer companies are closed already. ZAPS is a gamer's paradise, so I guess they know about service.
Now the fun begins: deciding what applications to install, and deciding how to really put all the defrag programs through their paces. The computer should be fast enough: a Pentium Dual CPU E2200 running at 2.20GHz with 1GB RAM and 149GB hard drive. I actually only wanted an 80GB drive, but they weren't available. Its going to be tough filling this drive with fragmented files.
Here is the list of pre-installed software. Click on the image to read the details.

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