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  #6  
Old 01-10-2009, 03:35 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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Open Source
WINNER: Ubuntu 8.10
Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Edition, nicknamed "Intrepid Ibex," provides so much functionality and ease of use, at zero cost of acquisition, that it is really impossible to ignore. For anyone or any business not tied to Microsoft legacy desktop applications, Ubuntu 8.10 may realistically be considered a smarter choice in a variety of scenarios.

During initial evaluation in the Test Center lab, Ubuntu 8.10 scored big in both performance testing and in wireless integration—areas where Linux has had some trouble in the past. In Ubuntu 8.10, developers have also integrated a simple, intuitive console for managing wireless connectivity, including Wi-Fi and broadband wireless.
Here's the bottom line: Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Edition easily ranks higher than any other Linux desktop operating system we've looked at in the Test Center. Based on performance numbers, its Ethernet and wireless management and zero licensing cost, this is an operating system that we can recommend to VARs—not just as an alternative to Windows but as a strong operating system in its own right.
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2009, 03:36 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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Web Application
WINNER: Firefox 3.0
Within months of the launch of Mozilla's Firefox 3.0 Web browser, the application had registered a 20 percent market share for the first time ever and appeared to be cutting into the stranglehold Microsoft's Internet Explorer has held on the industry.

What's propelling such quick growth all of a sudden? When the Test Center looked at Firefox 3.0 at the time of its release, we found a host of improvements and features, including enhanced malware security, even better customization potential and—after years of complaints—aggravating memory leaks had been incredibly well-plugged. Even with a splash from Google's own new browser, Chrome, Firefox continues to hold its position as a browser that VARs, ISVs and developers can go to for customization, both personal and commercial.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2009, 03:36 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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Desktop Application
WINNER: IBM Lotus Symphony
Lotus Symphony acts much like Microsoft Office, which is good if you are looking for something to replace Office at a fraction of the cost (free!). It's not so good if you are looking for something entirely different from Office, but there aren't many free suites that accomplish that yet. There are plenty of individual applications out there, but most office productivity suites at the moment are, more or less, Office clones.

Symphony consists of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications. Based on the Open Document Format standard, Symphony saves all documents by default to that format. It can open and edit documents created under OpenOffice and other applications that also follow ODF. Symphony can also open and edit all Office documents saved in the older .doc format. Documents created in Office 2007 with the newer .docx (.xlsx and .pptx) formats can't be opened under Symphony.
The Office 2007 installation here at the Test Center by default saves documents in the Office 97-2003 format (in the interest of backward-compatibility) so there were no problems editing files created in Symphony under Office 2007, or vice versa. The Test Center found Symphony a snap to use, and switching to Symphony after years of using Microsoft Office was painless.
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2009, 03:37 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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Virtualization
WINNER: Microsoft Hyper-V
Criticism aside, one thing cannot be denied Microsoft: The software giant has had a great impact on bringing personal computing to the masses. In 2008, Microsoft has done the same with virtualization via Hyper-V.

For those in the know, server virtualization has been a mainstay with companies like Citrix and VMware. Yet the emphasis is on "in the know." The harried VAR or IT administrator trying to keep a Windows shop afloat may not have had the time to dedicate to researching the vast server virtualization offerings available nor perhaps the resources on staff to deploy and manage, for example, Citrix XenServer or VMware Server (both very good products in their own right). Microsoft makes virtualization easy by bundling the feature with Server 2008 as the Server Role Hyper-V.
The interface is one that is familiar to Windows users. Hyper-V has its own Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that makes creating and configuring virtual machines (VMs) a breeze. Microsoft's Hyper-V is a low-cost hypervisor that can be deployed without a lot of additional training or staff resources. Managing virtual hard disks, virtual network settings and other VM settings is intuitive; a couple of mouse clicks and the VM is set. VM performance in testing worked very well; VMs are isolated from accessing the actual physical processor, and the hypervisor adroitly handled the VM partitions.
While Hyper-V may not have the robustness of a solution like VMware ESX, its affordability, the fact that it comes with Server 2008, and the ease of deployment and management make it a contender in the server virtualization space.
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2009, 03:37 AM
Sumathi Sumathi is offline
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CPU
WINNER: Intel Nehalem
Intel's next-generation Nehalem processor lineup is so powerful that it simply destroys previous CPU benchmarks. It has historic potential—that is, potential to drive current data-center-class performance onto the desktop.

Considered by some to have the most significant new architectural changes since the Pentium Pro, the microarchitecture will include future variants for server and mobile applications.
The Test Center took a first look at the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition, installed in Intel's "SmackOver" motherboard, the DX58SO Extreme Series.
From the moment the power was turned on, it was obvious that this was a fast machine. A complete boot of Vista took only 43 seconds from the time the power ****on was pressed and most of this time (27 seconds) was actually in the post phase of the boot. Testing in Primate Labs' Geekbench 2 software made it, easily, the fastest CPU we've ever tested—hitting a score of 7,998.
The only other CPU scores we've seen in that ballpark this year came from data-center-class servers. Intel is changing the game with Nehalem.
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