At this point in time all the hardware is installed, so now you just need to install the operating system and the netbook will be done. It might also be around this time where you have the Windows DVD in your hand, but you realize that the drive doesn’t have an optical drive to put the media into. It’s fairly easy to install software on a notebook, but it is a little tougher on a netbook since it doesn’t come with an optical drive.
A quick glance at the ‘quick setup guide’ doesn’t mention anything about installing operating systems, so it looks like consumers are left to solve this problem on their own. Looks like the ‘quick setup guide’ creator did a quickie on the guide as it fails to mention installing an operating system at all. The two easiest ways to install Windows XP/Vista/7 onto the Neutrino netbook would be to use either an USB flash drive (how to install Windows 7 with a USB Key) or an external USB 2.0 DVD player.
Since we have several external USB DVD drives we used this method to get Windows 7 RC1 installed onto the Neutrino. This is actually the ideal way to install an operating system as the Neutrino’s drivers come on a CD.
After roughly 20 minutes Windows 7 was completely installed and the Neutrino was up and running like a champ. Installing a brand new Release Candidate OS is usually tricky on notebooks, but not this time around.
After getting everything loaded we fired up the most recent versions of CPU-Z and GPU-Z to make sure the system was running at the right speeds and it looks like everything is good to go. The Intel Atom N270 processor was reported at 1.6GHz with Hyper-Threading and the 2GB memory kit was running at 667MHz with 4-4-4-12 timings. The Intel 945 Express Chipset contains the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 (Intel GMA 950), which isn’t going to cut it for playing any games or HD media, but enough for what a netbook is designed to do. Speaking of performance, let’s take a look at the Windows 7 RC index score before we take a look at some benchmarks to see how the Neutrino really performs.
In Vista, the Windows Experience Index (WEI) scores ranged from 1.0 to 5.9. In Windows 7, the range has been extended all the way up to 7.9. The scoring rules for devices have also changed from Vista to reflect experience and feedback comparing closely rated devices with differing quality of actual use (i.e. to make the rating more indicative of actual use). The Microsoft Windows 7 User Experience Index rating for the Neutrino was a not too impressive 2.1, when the highest possible in each category was 7.9! To run Windows Aero, which is considered to be ‘must-have’ in modern computer, WEI score of at least 3.0 is required, while those with scores in the 4.0 to 5.0-range should be able to enjoy high-definition (HD) video and 3-D gaming. At 2.1 the Neutrino is clearly a netbook and not a gaming notebook!