Back in October/November time I got myself a new laptop for university and general showyness. I didn’t want to spend too much money and, following a recommendation from a friend, decided to check out LaptopsDirect.co.uk. Soon enough I’d plumped for the Acer Aspire 5003 wlmi – a 64-bit AMD-based laptop with 512MB of RAM. Having taken note of the 64-bit Turion mobile processor, I initially found it highly strange that the laptop shipped with a 32-bit version of Windows XP Home, rendering the 64-bit processor about as much use as a chocolate teapot (OK, as much use as a 32-bit processor anyway). Then again, this is the same machine which for some reason has a hard drive partitioned into two 40GB volumes, both formatted using the FAT32 file system. Honest to God.
I realise there are issues with drivers with x64 machines and put the perplexing decision to ship 32-bit Windows down to that, however after a lot of hunting a thread Planet AMD64 provided links to x64 drivers for both Acer’s Ferarri 4000 range and their Aspire 5020, which seem to work for the 5000 series too. Maybe it was just laziness.
Between these two sets of drivers I managed to install nearly everything I need on my x64 edition of Windows just before Christmas, though I kept it dual-booting with XP Home just to be on the safe side. The only thing that didn’t work is Acer’s “eManager” and “Launch Manager” which enables the tiny buttons above your keyboard to launch your browser, your email and, unfortunately, the eManager software which controls the brightness of your screen. One of the two sets of driver’s I downloaded for these tools insisted on installing itself in the C: drive, but since my XP Home install lives there, I just cancelled the installation rather than take the chance of breaking something there.
I’ve since got fed up with the whole ordeal and gone back to my XP Home. I’m a bit annoyed that Acer’s x64 support for the machine is non-existant (it won’t run Vista due to the lack of 1GB RAM). The machine was only a month or so old at the time, so it’s not like it was out of date by the time XP x64 was released. It’s just lazy and poor service. What’s the point of a 64-bit processor if you won’t let users run a 64-bit OS? Answers on a postcard please…