The very cool thing about Paint.NET v3.5 is that it installs quite fast on a fresh Windows XP SP2 machine. And that includes the installation of prerequisites like Windows Installer 3.1 and the Client Profile version of the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. Even on my new little Atom 330 box* it is kind of pleasantly fast. I’d even say it’s fun. (The unfortunate thing is that Paint.NET v3.5 is not yet out of “pre-alpha” …)

Intel BOXD945GCLF2 Atom 330 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Intel BOXD945GCLF2 Atom 330 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Intel BOXD945GCLF2 Atom 330 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Once you jump over to Windows Vista, the story becomes very very very very dire. It took a full hour to install .NET 3.5 SP1. The hard drive was thrashing and yelling the entire time, and CPU usage was quite high. In the middle of this, a Windows Update dialog popped up in the corner telling me I needed to restart. That sounds like a bad idea since I’m still in the middle of installing a new system component! This paints a very bleak picture for getting .NET 3.5 SP1 and Paint.NET v3.5 successfully deployed to the large userbase that I have currently sitting on .NET 2.0 and Paint.NET v3.36. I’m afraid that most users will see the .NET installer “hanging” at 40% and just restart their computer, or cancel it, or kill it using Task Manager. How fun will it be for users to click on “Install Update” only to have to wait an hour before they can use their computer again, let alone Paint.NET?

I honestly don’t think it’s worth 1 hour to install a 2 MB program. Even Adobe Photoshop and Mathematica 7.0 install in minutes, and they are hundreds of megabytes.

This isn’t a random or one-off occurrence — this is not the first time I’ve seen this. Almost every time I’ve installed .NET 3.5 SP1 on to any system, whether it’s mine or someone else’s, the same thing happens. It doesn’t matter if it’s an Atom or a brand new 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo, it still takes one full hour. Sometimes you can actually get the installation to complete quickly if you go and make sure that Windows Update is completely caught up. Even then, you can never be completely sure. Any system that isn’t used 8+ hours/day by a computer-industry professional like myself is likely to be at least 1 update behind. (I’ll bet a Core i7 965 could do it in 45 minutes though :))

This is very frustrating, to say the least. On the positive side I know some of the people who work on this stuff, and they’re all great people who want things to be awesome. You can be sure I’ll be e-mailing them soon πŸ™‚ And with any luck, the “GDR” update that’s coming (soon?) will have already fixed this. Cross your fingers.

Performance of the Atom 330 is actually surprisingly good. The results of 32-bit PdnBench are almost exactly the same as a Pentium 4 3.0 GHz “E” Prescott chip — about 180 seconds for completion — which is impressive to say the least. Back in the day (2004) that P4 chip consumed so much power that some reviewers melted their motherboards, whereas this Atom barely even needs a heatsink. In 64-bit mode, the Atom 330 pulls ahead to 155 seconds. Those results use 2 threads on the P4 (single core w/ HyperThreading), and 4 on the Atom (dual core w/ HyperThreading).

* Actually it’s not really a box. It’s small, and not inside of a case. Maybe “kit” would be a better term?

** Yes, I’m testing out some affiliate stuff. If you’re interested in the Atom 330 board listed above, then please click on the “Buy” button above. Just like Amazon affiliate links, if you buy it via that link then I get a tiny amount of the purchase price. It doesn’t cost you anything extra. It’s another way to support Paint.NET πŸ™‚