Ok, so begins the review. :-) The package arrived on time and in great condition. UPS did require a signature. It was kind of funny actually because my mom had to drive after the UPS truck after he ran repeatedly and she didn't hear the doorbell (darn TV.). But, she caught him and got the package. My brother opened it and described everything to me over the phone since I'm at college and it went to my house first. He said it looked incredible (just the physical part of it) and that all of the accessories were there and in order. I was wondering if it would come with the spdif/mic splitter since I didn't order an mp3 player (that may sound illogical, but sometimes litte accessories aren't added by mistake). It did come, though, and the laptop itself was wrapped in protective plastic. I'm pretty impressed with the packaging... It's easy to use and with the 8886 I got from PCTorque earlier it was easy for them to repackage it and send it to me. In turn, it was easy for me to repackage it and send it across the country to its new owner. I commend Sager on this point.
Now, some forum members have requested that I write up a procedure for exactly what I do when I receive the 8887 or any computer. I will do so now. If you don't wish to hear this, lol, then skip right to the next post, as I will end this post after this description (unless it doesn't all fit in one post...).
First, you get the computer and you decide what OS (operating system; ie: Windows) you want to put on it. I prefer Windows XP. The reasons for this are offered all over the forums if you do a quick search for XP. It's a great OS. When you turn on the computer, there will be an option at some point towards the beginning of the boot up to go into the settings... This is how you access the BIOS (basic input output system). If the computer you get does not have anything on the hard drive, then you shouldn't need to mess with the bios. Just put the cd in as soon as you turn on the computer. In this case, I'm using an XP cd. If the cd is bootable, which is should be, then the computer will boot into the cd. Now, sometimes the computer may display a message like "Press any key to boot from cd"... If it does that, press a key, lol. If you do not, then it won't boot from the cd. This usually only happens if you've got an OS already installed on the hard drive. Keep in mind also that if you have an OS already on the hard drive, you will need to go into the bios and change the boot devide order so that cd is first.
How does the boot device order work? Well, there are usually three boot devices or options for 3 devices in the bios. They are first, second, and third. You specify the order in which devices (ie: hard drive, floppy disk drive, cdrom drive, etc) are scanned for an OS or something bootable. The default is usually disk drive, hard drive, cdrom drive. So, the computer will scan the floppy... finding nothing, it will scan the hard drive... IF you have no OS installed, it will find nothing and then scan the cdrom drive and find your windows cd. IF you do have an OS installed, it will find this first and boot into it. So, you will need to make the cdrom drive the first boot device, then the hard drive second, and the floppy last in this case.
Now that you are into the XP install, just go through the installation as per the instructions. It will first load up all of the stuff for the install, and then ask you what you want to do. The options generally include (by generally I mean with different windows versions... I'll try and generalize this for windows as opposed to XP whenever that is possible) installing or reinstalling or repair installing or the like. You want to install, and you select that option. Then you select where you want to install it. It'll scan your computer for hard drives and partitions, and then it'll ask you to choose one. When you first get the sager, if you ordered it without an OS, there will be just once hard drive (or two if you have two, etc) and you can pick it and go on. It will then ask you if you want to format the drive fully, or do a quick format, and depending on the version it may ask what file system you want.
Personally, I ALWAYS do a full format. As per my understanding, full format actually goes through and redoes the file system on your hard drive so no part of the drive is inaccessable because of corrupt data, etc. A quick format will just go through and delete all of the file references in the file system (so the hard drive is empty). Now, keep in mind that neither of these options truly clears the hard drive... it just erases the addresses of all of the files in the file system. The data is still there, but it's just 1s and 0s without an address. The same thing happens whenever you delete a file. The only way to truly clear your hard drive is to actually go through and write all 1s or all 0s on it. You can buy programs that do that if you prefer to be thorough in your erasure of files. Lol, personally, I have no need for that, but I thought I'd include that tidbit of info to provide a better understanding of formatting.
As far as file systems, there's NTFS (NT file system) and FAT32 (file allocation tables) and FAT16 etc etc depending on which windows version. Linux and mac have their own, and so on and so on. Essentially, it's basically how the operating system divides the drive into a grid so that the addresses for files can be made up using a point system. FAT32 and NTFS are pretty much all that's used with Windows nowadays for the home user. NTFS is slightly slower than FAT32, but it has higher security associated with it somehow (I forget the reason for this). I always go NTFS, though. My friend does FAT32 and the performance gain is minimal... as in not existant unless you have a benchmark that will show the .01% difference :-)
So, you format, in my case with NTFS. After formatting, it will copy the windows install files to the hard drive. When it reboots after this point, if you have changed the bios so it scans the cdrom as the boot device first, then you may have to remove the cd to prevent it from booting back into the original install program. In most cases, the computer just says "Press any key to boot from cd" or it offers the little OS choice list and the choice you want is Windows XP installation or setup or whatever it writes at that point depending on the OS. This will go into what looks like a loadup of windows. Here, it'll start installing windows and it has a little time showing how much longer it'll take. Usually, this is one of the longer parts of the install. At one point it'll ask you to set the clock. At another point, it'll ask you to set the workgroup or domain. You don't have to do this if you don't want to. It can all be easily changed in windows later on. I always set it to the workgroup for here at school on the network, just because I know that's where I'll be using it.
When that's finished, it'll reboot and take you into XP. Keep in mind the thing about the cd being in there if you changed the setting in the bios. (If you take it out during the boot, it won't hurt the install, it'll just ask you to put it back in when the computer needs it). Now that you're in XP, you can do some setup stuff if you like. But, the first thing you really need to do is install the drivers. :-) Driver install is always fun because you get to reboot the computer every few minutes, lol. Oh well :-) A necessary evil. As a little visual support for this, refer to PCTorque's explanation of driver installation for the 8886.http://sagerforums.com/forums/showth...=&threadid=204
I will do the driver install in a similar order, but with some modifications. Refer to each on their review if you want to know specifically how to install each driver step by step (as in where to find the driver, etc). I start with the chipset drivers. These will optimize the communication between the chipset, cpu, and hard drives. Without this, the laptop will run fairly inefficiently and any other installation will take longer. These drivers are on the drivers cd. You'll have to reboot.
Then the video drivers. Now, there are many things you can do about this. You can either use the drivers on the drivers cd. Or, you can use the 6218 drivers from s-seven.net. Or, you can use the latest Catalyst drivers from ATI using the directions provided by Zachquiel in the drivers section. You do not need dx9 to load these drivers (they are dx9 drivers).
"Yeah you can load up cat 3.0 on the 8886
First extract the installation files (after that, do no try to use the included ati setup), then remove your current driver and software using the add/remove software propmt and the device manager.
Windows will load with its crappy standard drivers, go to the device manager, search for the display driver, click update driver (Or install), in the prompt when asked, click select location of the driver, go to the installation folder, then drivers, select the directory, then many devices will be listed, select the radeon 9000 pro, ok ok to all prompts, maybe it will ask you to reboot, but before rebooting, go to the install folder, look for software, ati panel, install the panel, reboot.
Right on! The ati cat3 drivers are ready.
(It runs very stable with them, and a bit faster, if anyone wants benchmarks, tell me)"
I'm pretty sure all of the drivers will work pretty well. I'll provide benchmarks as I get them :-)