And now, here it is August of And I also know a lot more about their relative reliability. The complete and proper name for this package is "Everex Impact GC". I'm going to keep it simple and just refer to it as the Everex GC from now on. For those not familiar with them, these systems are actually packages. You can't just buy the computer by itself. You get a whole computer package consisting of keyboard, mouse, speakers and 17" CRT monitor to go with your computer. Or rather, it did, back when you could buy one of these.
Now you should be able to pay a lot less on the secondhand market if you want a GC For the price, it's not as cheap and nasty as you'd think. In fact, these things are a downright decent bargain once you get past one little stumbling block. Windows Vista Yes, you really do get a preloaded copy of Microsoft Windows with this system, and it's even genuine. Even with Microsoft's aggressive pricing strategy the one that shows up when they want it to, like when the competition is bothering them with a better product , a person can't hope for more than Windows Vista Home Basic.
So that's what you get with the Everex GC package. And it's not entirely bad, at least Vista Home Basic is capable for suitably small values of capable, given Vista's performance and stability track record in every way except for the fact that it doesn't come with media center, Aero effects or secret trapdoors. So it should do just fine for lightweight computer use, such as web browsing and word processing.
Which, despite what people might say, is what many far more capable systems end up doing over the course of their lives. The problem is that Vista just isn't stable on this system. In fact, it's safe to say that Vista is unusually unstable on this computer. The first sign of instability came up when I opened a command prompt window and tried--as I habitually do--to take it full screen.
Video is more deeply broken in other, more significantly entertaining ways. As part of my regular tests, I installed both iTunes 7 and Google Earth on the system. And then, to use a technical term, the system went bonkers. After which, subsequent use of the system caused it to go down, not across. After that, the system just stopped responding. I had to do a hard power cycle to regain control.
Attempting to use Google Earth resulted in even more spectacular disasters. The system just died with corrupted video that showed a very messed up STOP error.
The latest VIA Chrome9 video drivers did nothing to fix this problem, by the way. The system still screwed up, and what's more, it screwed up in exactly the same way. Vista signed its death warrant not by messing up the video, but by spectacularly messing up a file copy operation consisting of about 60GB worth of music files.
Yes, you read that right. Vista couldn't do something which computers have--generally speaking--done flawlessly since the invention of storage media with a filesystem. Vista only managed to copy about 6GB worth of the files before its logic simply became confused and appeared to wrap around itself.
The result, though not quite as impressive as the video related failures described above, was still impressive. So, Vista had to go. After supplying all of the needed drivers available from the VIA website, for the most part , Windows XP ran exceptionally well on this system.
And those bizzarre crashes that happened under Windows Vista with graphics intensive programs? They vanished. I also got my fullscreen command prompt. Stop that snickering. I still don't really know why this was the case.
I'd have a hard time believing that the hardware in two separate systems purchased at two separate times both a month or so apart would be broken in exactly the same way. The software including the BIOS might be, but that seems a bit thin to me. VIA's CPUs are designed to consume as little power as possible in a given role, while still providing enough computing power to do the things that the average computer user wants to do.
This is a market where VIA stood almost entirely alone, especially in the x86 compatible processor world. ARM processors are practically the choice for applications that demand a processor capable of supplying the performance to do things such as playing video and music on a shoestring allocation of battery power. Intel, doubtlessly watching VIA and noticing how they have the low power x86 market nearly to themselves, has also recently entered this market, with their Atom processor family.
The VIA processors do have a few other interesting features, one of them being the so-called "Padlock" security engine. This is supposed to be a hardware-based random number generator, amongst other things.
Its value is debatable. I don't know of any software that uses it for anything, outside of some limited offerings that VIA had on their web site as proof of concept "toys". Surprisingly, the components that make up the system aren't as cheap and nasty as you'd truly expect them to be. For starters, the case itself is very solidly built, and while you do need tools to get it open, undue swearing and use of an oxy-acetylene cutting torch should not be required.
It could be pressed into duty as a chair. Furthermore, the case won't try to sink its metal teeth into your waiting skin, nor will it pull the old "every time I opened it, I got it to close but it never looked the same again" trick that some cheap systems and cases are known for.
The case itself appears to have been made or at least sold by motherboard maker FIC. FPG makes about one of everything, and they're very proud of their naptha cracker.
The motherboard's origins are perhaps a bit less clear. VIA doesn't actually make anything of their own, though, so someone else built the board for them. The strongest hint of who that is would appear to come from the integrated Ethernet adapter's MAC address, which is registered to Gigabyte, a large and reasonably well respected motherboard maker.
However, various other companies also appear to retail the board, and the system BIOS points to a motherboard supplier whose name I have forgotten at this point.
And for now, at least, I can't be bothered to look it up again. It is worth noting that the motherboard has working fan speed control and hookups for several fans beyond the one provided with the CPU. You aren't likely to need that many fans, but you can plug them in if nothing else will do.
The power supply is an entirely respectable and probably honestly rated watt unit from HiPro. And there's a no-name Conexant-based modem in there too, if you need it. All of these things are fine for a system like this. The monitor is, as already mentioned, a 17 inch cheapie. These days, 17 inch monitors would probably come in cereal boxes as free giveaways if it wouldn't make the boxes bigger and cause anyone who happened to pick one up to be caught off guard by its weight.
You can't expect that it will be good for color-sensitive work, but home users should be able to get along with it just fine. I thought about tweaking it and made preparations to take the back cover off so I could see the focus control, only to discover that the monitor did not want to come apart AND that there was a doubtlessly-entertaining-to-replace-and-probably-fairly-sharp finely perforated metal cage around the electronics and picture tube.
The helpful man who answered the phone at Everex said I should just return the whole computer with the defective monitor to the store. When pressed a little by my saying that it had been too long to do that he said I should just ship the whole thing to Everex. I asked if they'd just send me a monitor, he said no.
I wasn't terribly surprised by this, and you shouldn't be either. Don't buy this computer if you want hand-holding, because I don't think you are going to get it. So I let that one monitor sit as a future project for some rainy day, and replaced it with a 19 inch Samsung Syncmaster flat panel display. That leaves the keyboard, mouse and speakers. Things start to go a little bit downhill here.
The speakers are probably the best of the three items. They're not much, but they would be entirely tolerable to use with the occasional bits of sound and music that go along with some--well, the charitable phrase is "interestingly designed"--webpages.
And they plug into the wall to get power, so you won't be abusing a USB port if you really crank the speakers up. If you listen to music even semi-seriously, I suggest you invest in a better set of speakers. The motherboard's onboard sound system is quite capable and could drive even multi-speaker systems easily. I'm afraid that I'm biased against the keyboard from the start.
There's very little that can come close to the classic Model M if you like them, so this isn't even a fair fight. To be as honest as I can, the Everex GC's keyboard isn't terrible. It doesn't put important keys in funky places, isn't festooned with an array of useless buttons that bring up useless applications and doesn't try to make you type at a funny angle. It's just a cheap, quiet rubber dome type keyboard. You could do far worse. The mouse--well, you'd better just go ahead and buy one while you're in the store.
Editions for personal computers[ edit ] Windows Vista Starter Edition desktop, as denoted by the watermark on the bottom right corner. Windows Vista Starter Much like its predecessor, Windows XP Starter Edition , Windows Vista Starter was available in emerging markets ; it was sold across developing countries in 70 different languages it includes locale-specific desktop wallpapers not found in other editions . Microsoft did not make it available in developed technology markets such as the United States , Canada , the European Union , Australia , New Zealand , or other high income markets as defined by the World Bank. Windows Vista Starter can be installed from optical media including those belonging to other editions of the operating system. The Windows Aero graphical user interface with translucent glass and lighting effects is absent from this edition; however, desktop composition —albeit without Flip 3D or Live Thumbnails—is supported. Windows HotStart is also available.