Actually, this system is surprising powerful - yup, you heard right! At first glance the moment I saw Celeron and Vista Home Premium I, as most of us thought it would be a junky bargain buy, but being a tech-savy dude with the next two days off I'd run it through some testing to see if it was indeed junk. (In part because Wal-mart has a no questions asked return policy so long as it is returned within 14 days with the receipt).
Now the specs are as follows:
# CPU : Intel Celeron Processor 540 (1.86 GHz)
# VIDEO: Intel 965 Express
# LCD : 15.4" Diagonal Widescreen TrueBrite Display
# MEMORY : 2GB DDR2 RAM
# HDD : 120 GB
# ODD : SuperMulti DVD+/-RW
# MODEM : 56K
# LAN : 10/100 Base T
# WIRELESS LAN : 802.11 b/g WLAN
# SOFTLOAD : Windows Vista Home Premium
What makes this a true bargain is the larger hard drive, extra gig of ram, wireless, dvd burner, sd card reader and Vista premium. Normally for $400 we'd expect only a gig of ram, 80gb hd and vista basic.
Ok, now after removing about 6 crapware programs and cleaning out the program files directory of the remnants I downloaded Firefox 3 along with AVG8. I've also had some great success with Auslogics Boost Speed and grabbed a copy with key from our buds at the piratebay. I also grabbed a sidebar gadget for monitoring ram and core usage. Now, because of the Celeron processor I decided to go into the control panel under performance and disable the aero glass feature (transparent window panes) which visually reverts the OS to more of a Vista Basic look. For some reason it chews up the processor. After a couple of restarts the OS booted up just under a minute (45-50 secs) without the Sidebar. I found it unusual that the sidebar function wasn't enabled being that this was Vista Premium but nonetheless, enabled it and installed the usage meter gadget.
After all that I went back into the control panel, system maintenance, performance tools, and ran the Windows Experience Index to get the score. Man was I shocked with these numbers:
4.1 - Processor (Calculations per second)
4.5 - RAM (Memory Operations per second)
3.2 - Graphics (Desktop performance for windows aero)
3.3 - Gaming Graphics (3D Business and gaming graphic performance)
5.2 - Primary Hard Disk (Primary data transfer rate)
WOW...considering the price and the hardware I was shocked.
Now for the bad...
As I surfed the web and downloaded files I would try to access the start menu but it was locked and the error window popped up offering me a restart of explorer, shut down or to try and wait it out. Now for those that don't know, the Explorer the message is referring to is NOT the browser as I was using firefox rather the windows explorer exe program manager that links the program start menu and task bar icons. I tried to wait it out but after about a minute opted for the restart. This actually seems to occur every so often now (3x within the last 45 min) and quickly reverts me back to the "what do you expect for $400" mentality.
To help optimize the OS further I loaded up Boost Speed and tweaked everything from the registry to the start-up programs along with defrags of both the hard disk and registry. After another restart the freezing explorer bar still occurs with the same frequency.
There seems to be an updated video adapter for Intel 960 but I can't get it to install, but I did manage to locate a BIOS update from the Toshiba Website.
All in all, the system surpassed my initial expectations. Asides from the annoying need to have to restart the explorer bar when it freezes I give this unit a B- for student and business usage. I'm hoping that the bug can easily be fixed with some more research and an email to Toshiba and Intel support.
Hope my review helps!