That Voodoo You Do

A few weeks ago, when I was interviewing Rahul Sood, the founder of Voodoo PC for my story, The 22 Karat PC, he and I got into an argument over PCs and Apple Macs. “I would never use a PC notebook,” I said, and went on to wax eloquent about my PowerBook. He let me rave and rant, and then quietly said, “Try one of my machines and you will change your mind.” I ignored that as puffery, idle boast of the young.

With the exception of a Fujitsu laptop I had tried out last year, I have not been a fan of Windows-powered machines. IBM Think Pads are great, but the price is not worth it. Sony makes pretty machines but has a horrible track record when it comes to durability. (I ran through three 505 models before switching to a Dell, which was an overweight cumbersome monster and then to an IBM ThinkPad T-31 which was stolen when I made the mistake of going to Queens in New York. I eventually bought a PowerBook and since then have bought a new one every year!)

Nevertheless, about three weeks later, sleek silver Voodoo PC, m360 showed up. The 5.5 pound notebook is attractive, though not as pretty as a PowerBook. I booted it up, (which takes as long on a PC as it does on a Mac) and before I knew, I was muttering curses under my breath. I hate to be proved wrong, and Sood had won the argument.

That does not happen often, when someone wins an argument against me. The m360 is a scream machine. Powered by a Pentium 4 1.7 GHz chip and juiced by 1 gig of memory, it is a Ferrari compared to my sleek PowerBook, which I guess is like the BMW.

The wireless connection seems better and tends to pick up more networks in the neighborhood than my Mac. The hard drive however is smaller than my PowerBook, and there is no Bluetooth module.

The screen is 0.4 inches smaller on m360, however it is much more true to life and realistic in colors than anything I have seen on a Mac. Mac Screens in comparison feel as if you were looking at it through a soft lens focus. The Voodoo screen is gorgeous.

Sound is definitely much better on Voodoo PC, which makes using iTunes on Windows almost as fun as iTunes on a Mac. The USB 2.0 connections (two of them) came in handy when plugging in my IPod and Treo 600.

The websites came up faster, blogging was easier, and even downloading files seemed faster. Basic tasks like Word processing and email were zippy to say the least. PhotoShop was a breeze to use and manipulating photos was a snap. Dreamweaver and Fireworks performed faster on Voodoo – I timed the launch and it was about 3 seconds slower on a Mac. (See in real life you would never notice.)

But it is when I started playing Age of Empires trilogy that is when I understood the meaning of fast and performance. I don’t care much for games like Quake and Doom so I probably would not know, but this was the best gaming experience for me, ever.

Now for the tough part: this puppy in current configuration costs nearly $4000, the kind of stash most of us don’t have. So even if I want to, there is little chance I would switch from my PowerBook, which at $2799 seems like such a bargain. But if I had the money, I would only consider Voodoo PC m360.

Update: Sood tells me they are working on a machine for cheapies like me. “We’re just about to release an ENVY m:50. It’s a tiny notebook with a 12” display made of Carbon Fiber composite. It’s very light weight, and thin. It has a built in optical, 768 MB of RAM, and 80 gigabyte hard drive. It’s really freaking cool, a great entertainment notebook, though probably not the best for gaming as it has an entry level 3D video card. I think it’s what many business users are looking for, and the fact that it has high end performance makes it even more desirable.”