I’ve been playing with the RTM of Windows Vista for a couple weeks now (available to businesses and MSDN users) and I’ve actually enjoyed it quite a lot. The install process is quick and most of my drivers were installed. I think I had to install the latest NVIDIA drivers on my PC but other then that it caught everything else. It even worked when I plugged the computer into my HDTV.

There was one major issue I came across though. It was my sound. I have on-board nForce4 audio and it works really nice for the first 20 minutes or so. When I am in the middle of watching a movie or listening to music it will start to sound really funky and crackles. I’ve looked all over the internet for a fix and asked all my friends who might know something about the issue. Apparently it was a known issue and that NVIDIA would release some Vista compatible drivers. Mind you Vista hasn’t been released to consumers yet. I am not really sure what drivers were auto-installed when I initially installed Vista but they weren’t very good.

I then tried to use my Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 PCI card and that was a complete failure. I read multiple threads on the Creative message boards that talked about installing some other driver called kX and supposedly that would fix the issue but I couldn’t get it to work whatsoever.

I then read on another website about how the Realtek drivers might work, and without actually checking to see if my board was using the Realtek chip I downloaded and installed the Realtek software and installed it. It didn’t work at all so I was about to give up.

My last attempt was downloading the Vista RC1 drivers from NVIDIAs website. I un-installed my current drivers and re-installed with the RC1 drivers. I’ve been watching a movie in Media Center for 30 minutes or so now and I haven’t had any major issues. I did notice that the sound got distorted when I was moving the volume up or down.

That was all on a PC. AMD Athlon64 3500+, 2GBs RAM, DFI LanParty UT nF4, SATA Drives. I would have thought that it would have worked with no hitches. Guess not. I had to go through ALL of that just to get my sound working. I don’t think it would be proper to blame this on Microsoft/Windows though. I think it’s the fact that NVIDIA hasn’t provided me or other NVIDIA audio users with the appropriate drivers for my sound card. Windows Vista is final, it’s ready to go out to customers and NVIDIA isn’t keeping up with their drivers.

So where does Apple come in here…

I have Vista installed on 2 machines, the one in the previous paragraph and this one; an Apple MacBook 2.0GHz Core Duo, 2GBs RAM, 80GB HDD.

My first attempt to install Windows Vista on a Macintosh was through Parallels. It work perfectly fine minus the fact that I didn’t get the Aero (glassy windows) effects. Other then that it worked great and I had no issues with it.

I really wanted the pretty eye-candy so I installed Boot Camp (v1.1.2) and popped in the Vista installation DVD. Rebooted and installed Vista, no issues at all. I had made a drivers CD from the Boot Camp application, so after the Vista install I stuck that in and went through the drivers installation. No problem there either. Those drivers are also meant for Windows XP not Vista, yet they worked great for the most of it.

There’s only a couple things I know that aren’t working. These things I didn’t even expect to work and seem more like “extras”. The iSight, Bluetooth, double finger scrolling, screen brightness and volume control via the F keys. It’s not like major things aren’t working. Sound, airport, some Apple keyboard functions, Aero glass, Ethernet, and battery functions are all working.

How is it that my Apple computer works 100x better with Windows Vista then my PC?! I do hope that Apple releases some Windows Vista compatible drivers for their computers. I see no reason why they won’t although it may not be until January 30th, 2007 or later since that’s when Microsoft will release Vista to consumers.

I am sure NVIDIA will be releasing an update for Vista soon enough. Something I did read was that Creative dropped support of the Live! 5.1 card and have no intentions of updating them for Vista. Oh well, guess I’ll just wait for NVIDIA.

Overall I am impressed with Windows Vista on both my Macintosh MacBook and on my PC, but saying anything more is another blog post for another time!

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