Not too long ago there was a "Rant" thread on OCN about PCs at work. I responded, noting at the time the slowness of one of my work machines, an older Pentium 4 with truly anemic performance. It's so slow that sometimes it struggles when you have a couple of simple databases open.
Of course, since it really isn't my PC (it is owned by the City of Los Angeles), I couldn't use any of my own tweaks and other optimizing tricks to hopefully boost its performance. Moreover, it's a Dell Optiplex (I feel a little dirty after writing that), so overclocking it really is out of the question. There's little that can be done other than swapping in faster components.
As overclockers, I'm sure we all get accustomed -- actually, addicted -- to a certain degree of speed and responsiveness from our machines. I know I do. So when my gaming rig's OS crapped out (my fault, actually) recently, I decided to start my overclock afresh after reinstalling the OS. Especially with potentially unstable memory settings (I was not able to completely assure myself of the RAM's integrity before one too many attempted OS hacks ended in tears), the safest way to proceed was to start over.
Back to page one, as it were.
So I loaded all stock settings in the BIOS, ran MemTest86+ to make sure the RAM was sound at stock (I try to never take anything for granted, and I confess I have a slight paranoia when it comes to RAM), and then installed the OS. I patched it, updated it, loaded all the essentials (including a whole range of OC testing applications), and then prepared myself for a new OCing journey.
In the midst of all this, something struck me: I'd gotten so used to how my Opteron 170 performed and responded even to menial tasks whilst OCed to 2.87GHz, losing those 870MHzs really was noticeable. At stock settings, even on a fresh from the bakery WinXP installation, 2.0GHz suddenly felt so slow.
It's something my dad often laughs at. I mean, I build systems for clients, and they often don't need or want an OCed machine (although some have paid me handsomely for the extra speed). I sometimes comment to my father, "This client's machine seems fine, but it just feels so slow." He just laughs and tells me that I'm so used to my monster rig.
Of course, he's right. At stock speed, most CPUs just feel so much slower than my overclocked Opteron. I don't need benchmarks to prove that to me. Even a Conroe at Best Buy feels slow (of course, their Conroes are saddled with bloatware and Vista, and they're at stock speeds too).
But right now the shoe is on the other foot. Even the Opteron 170 at stock speed feels quite slow. It's really a bit of an eye-opener, and a reminder of just how rewarding an effective overclock truly is.
(At least the Opteron is still quite a bit faster and responsive than that gosh-awful Dell Optiplex at my desk at Operations...)
Thanks for reading! I invite comments and questions and opinions, as always.
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