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A Weekend with an XP iMac

This weekend, I conducted a little experiment. I used Boot Camp to boot my 17-inch 1.83GHz iMac Core Duo with 2GBs of RAM and an external 24-inch monitor in Windows XP and then I forced myself to remain in XP. I didn't reboot into OS X. Instead, I explored the Windows performance on the machine. Overall, I have to admit, it was a positive experience. I still prefer OS X, but I can now see the advantages to booting into XP from time to time.

One odd thing that I wasn't expecting was that I didn't find myself loathing Windows quite as much. Something about running it quickly on my nice iMac made it more pleasant than all of my previous experiences running XP on various PC boxes. It's still the fastest I've ever seen Windows perform. Half of this is probably that I didn't load it down with lots of crap programs, and I had it properly protected immediately after install with virus, firewall, and spyware protection.

There were negative aspects to the experience. It hard crashed at least 5 times on me this weekend. This mostly happened when I was installing something...
More after the jump...
Skype didn't install the first time I tried. One time, however, it crashed on startup as Gizmo Project was loading. Disabling Gizmo Project load on start up fixed the problem.

I managed to get Firefox running nicely, Gaim installed for chat, and Open Office installed, so that I more or less had all the work environment necessities. Also, several of the Windows only programs and services that I have to access for work (and for which I keep a Dell laptop lying around) installed easily on the iMac running XP, so I no longer have to leave my iMac and use the Dell to get my work done. That's the landslide benefit of Boot Camp right there.

However, the coolest part, and the thing that will keep me booting into XP more often than I normally would, is the games. Saturday, I ran out to the store and bought Guild Wars, The Battle for Middle Earth, and Halo. They all run very fast and nicely on the iMac XP. The only slow down I experienced was when battling the very cinematic and fire-breathing Balrog while playing The Battle For Middle Earth, running it fullscreen 1600x1200 with the high detail settings on the external 24-inch monitor. After I dropped down the settings a bit, it played fine and I imagine that if I were running it on the iMac's default screen there wouldn't have been any issue.

Also a slight note, running two monitors off of the iMac in XP did create a few visual "burps" every once in a while, where both screens would flicker slightly. This usually only occured when I wasn't actively doing anything on the machine. As if the screensaver was thinking about kicking in, but decided not to.

Also, since Flip4Mac isn't currently installing on my Intel Mac, if I need to view Windows Media Player content on my Mac, rebooting into Windows seems to be the only way to do so.

So what's my end verdict: if you've been keeping a crappy Windows machine around, get rid of it. Get a copy of XP and install it on your Intel Mac. Get it for the workday bits that you are forced to use Windows for and keep it for the games.

This weekend, I conducted a little experiment. I used Boot Camp to boot my 17-inch 1.83GHz iMac Core Duo with 2GBs of RAM and an external...