Just as a preface, this isn’t a review of Windows 10, and it isn’t a system performance review. It is simply an investigation into whether putting Windows 10 on an aging machine is worthwhile.
To begin, I put the Windows 10 Technical Preview (build 10061) on an HP tc4200 running an Intel Pentium M 1.73GHz CPU and 1 GB of RAM. Windows 10 installed pretty fast, and downloaded and installed just as quickly. The first thing to note is that 2 drivers, a video controller and a mass storage controller, did not install, and since this machine is an XP unit, there are no drivers for them. But as far as I can tell, missing both of these drivers had no effect on basic operation of the computer.
The first test I performed was to go to web pages that most people visit on a daily (if not hourly) basis – YouTube, Facebook, and Google. The load time was a little slower than the control computer running an Intel i3, but all pages loaded successfully, including the flash games and imbedded video on Facebook which, before the upgrade to Windows 10, was spotty at best. YouTube on the other hand is only usable with low resolution, non full screen video due to the missing display driver (Intel 915gm) .
The second machine was a Dell Latitude D610 running an Intel Pentium M 1.7ghz CPU and 1.5 GB of RAM, just like the first Windows 10 Technical Preview, this installed with no problems and, after updating, also only had 2 missing drivers (sound card and display driver). The sound card was an easy trip to Dell’s website to download the driver, which prompted a computer restart.
The display driver on the other hand was again a problem since it was the same display card as the first machine (Intel 915GM). Doing the same tests as the first, I came up with very similar results, but could tell a the difference with the extra 512mb of RAM, especially when playing a flash game on Facebook.
With all things considered (Windows in beta, missing display driver and performance before the upgrade), it is my conclusion that Windows 10 could very well breathe new life into aging machines. I would, however, proceed with caution and run the Windows Compatibility Checker before moving your old machine to Windows 10 when it releases this summer. Don’t forget to do your homework to see if drivers are available for your machine (or if the part can be upgraded to a compatible part). As far as performance, I do plan to leave the preview installed on both machines and test them again as we get closer to release.
Submitted by: Charles Kern