I recently purchased an Aspire 5601AWLMi Notebook for school and as a mobile development and testing machine. I paid about $599 for it after rebates from CompUSA and it is replacing an aging Celeron M Toshiba notebook that I had had for quite some time. I needed some more speed, a better and more intergerated wireless solution and something that could handle a bunch of tasks at the same time. I thought hard and long about getting a beloved Mac but real world needs overshadowed my Mac fetish.
Out of the box, the Aspire 5601 comes with 512MB of RAM, Windows XP MCE and a 100GB hard drive but there are some gotchas. Click here for the full specs. The hard drive had a small factory partition on it along with two other partitions for the OS and data respectively. The laptop was shipped without any media and there was a whole bunch of Acer software loaded that was really annoying and useless.
Before I made any changes, I created the factory suggested OS and application backup on the excellent DVD RAM drive that is included. It was quick and painless, though I later realized that the OS backup was useless without the provided partition types on the hard drive. Luckily, I had a copy of Windows XP MCE from Jennifer’s laptop. I wiped the drive clean, created a single partition and installed Windows. I then loaded the applications from Acer that I would use, especially the power control program that regulates the battery usage. Then I proceeded to install the apps that I mostly use. These will probably vary with user but I have provided a list of them here in case someone finds it useful. These are in no particular order. Some of these are from Matt’s suggestions.
Once all of this was installed and after a few reboots, I was ready to test out the speed and memory. I am well aware that I am going to need to purchase more RAM for this laptop as time goes on, but at a reboot, without closing anything, the laptop was using about 250MB. With most apps open, it ran a tad under 512MB. It seems to run a lot better without the default partition structure and the Acer stuff. Time will tell.
In the meantime, if anyone wants to purchase a cared for Toshiba s103 with 512 MB RAM and everything it came with, please let me know. I will probably eBay it pretty soon.