Why a Netbook?
Several weeks ago I decided to go out and purchase a Netbook. A Gateway LT Series Netbook to be exact. Why you ask?
For starters Netbooks are the fastest growing pc market and more customers will be using those netbooks over the coming months. As a developer I was curious to see what all the latest web technologies would run like on it (Silverlight, Flash, HTML5, AJAX, and jQuery).
What would Silverlight run like with a single core 1.2 GHz processor and only 2 gigs ram? Would I be able to do Fullscreen HD video streaming like on Netflix (the answer is yes). I was curious too if it would be possible to use it as a development machine. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a portable two pound dev station with me at all times?
Windows 7 Ultimate and will it Blend?
The first thing I did was throw Windows 7 Ultimate RTM on it and I’m happy to report it runs surprisingly well. There have been some rumors going around that only the starter edition would be available to install on Netbooks. That is simply not the case and you can install any version you wish.
What about Visual Studio, Expression Blend, Silverlight and WPF? The answer is yes! At the recent Harrisburg MSDN Mid-Atlantic Roadshow I did the entire show on the Netbook over a tethered 3g connection and Silverlight streaming/deepzoom both ran flawlessly.
Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 was also announced for download today. I was curious to see if I could get these new bits working on the Netbook. I quickly logged onto MSDN and pulled down VS2010 Beta 2 Ultimate. Thanks to some speedy servers and FIOS I had the bits within 20 minutes. I then opened up the ISO and copied the files to a local USB Key, the same key I used to install Windows 7 on the Netbook. The entire process took about 45 minutes.
A video is worth a thousand pictures
When talking about performance I think it is better to actually see it than me throw up some benchmarks on my blog. So I put together a little Screencast for you. In addition I wanted to record and edit the video itself entirely using just the Netbook.
To do that I used the Expression Encoder 3 Screen Capture tool and Windows Live Movie Maker. It definitely stretched the little guy to the limit and you’ll see it bog down a bit when I’m running the screen capture tool and a couple of the dev tools at the same time. Realistically you wouldn’t be running a screen capture app and the dev tools at the same time but I show you how to get some more performance when doing that as well.
Here is what you’ll see running on the Netbook in the video:
- Windows 7 Ultimate
- Windows Experience Index
- Visual Studio 2008
- Visual Studio 2010
- Expression Blend 3.0
- Expression Encoder 3.0 Screen Capture Tool
Watch the video here on Channel9. Bonus points if you can name the font I used for the overlays in Movie Maker. 😉