Is Todays Hardware Overkill?

Pentium 166MHz, 32MB of RAM and a 33.6k modem. Thats what I ran in December 2007, to test out a theory of mine. Did we pass the epoch of “fast enough” years ago? That P166 flew when I installed Windows 95 (from the floppy set I had lying around), installed Opera 9.2, and mIRC 6.3, which besides from games and what used to be my favorite image editing app (PhotoImpact 5), is my default installation. Did it run? Yeah. Did it fly? Yep. The only problem, of course, was that 33.6k modem. So did we pass the epoch of “fast enough” years ago? Yeah, I’d have to say so.

So, when I hear people whine about todays Net[book/top] platform, and that it’s not fast enought, or that “The Atom platform is creating an installed base that doesn’t run modern applications. It doesn’t run anything well from Electronic Arts, it doesn’t run anything well from Adobe, it doesn’t run anything well from Microsoft. I just mentioned the top software companies in the world. So in a way, the Atom platform is creating an installed base of PCs that’s going to eventually hurt the PC software industry.” First, I have to ask, who is going to run the latest games on a netbook? It doesn’t even have room. Plus, performance wise, even todays full sized laptops can’t, because of their integrated graphics. Plus, Adobe is known for their bloated crappy Adobe Reader. And Microsoft? Need I say more than “Vista”?


8 Responses to “Is Todays Hardware Overkill?”

  1. Don_HH2K Says:

    Let’s see… I serve two different ASP.NET applications off a 233MHz Pentium 2; can browse the web, send and receive e-mail, and run an IM client on a 600MHz Pentium 3; record audio live on a 207MHz Cyrix M-II; host a full encrypting VPN server and a Kai client on top of a 200MHz router; back files up and encrypt them using Blowfish full-disk encryption on a 500MHz Pentium 3; and just last night I was playing good-looking games on a 485MHz equivalent of a PowerPC G4.

  2. stoperror Says:

    So in other words, your AMD X2 laptop is the highest end machine you have?

    And, PhotoImpact 5’s system requirements fell into that test systems specs.

  3. Don_HH2K Says:

    Yeah, it is.

  4. stoperror Says:

    And I’ll assume that the stuff you do with that laptop doesn’t fall under “average user”. The average user browses the web. He watches videos online. He chats with his friends using IM software. He might also play some web based games. But, does he play the latest games? Does he need to play COD 4 or whatever the newest one is? Nope. If “Joe user” plays games, it’s probably on a console, which is probably the better choice. Thus, Joe User needs not high end CPU’s with tons of RAM, but a simple Pentium 4 or Athlon 3000, with and adequate amount of RAM.

  5. Andrew T. Says:

    For the most part, people perform the exact same tasks with their PCs todays that they did ten years ago. Even the practical technologies that have seen more penetration in the last decade existed in at least a formative stage in 1999.

    I sometimes wish that the “upgrade bandwagon” ingrained in the ’80s and ’90s would stop and, rather than having people blindly jump to new repackagings of pre-existing functionality just because they’re new, developers would concentrate on making software and systems more efficient, more reliable, more modular, less regressive, less distracting, and less restrictive. Of course, any chance of that happening would probably require quite a few business models to be re-written and for Microsoft to mercifully go out of business for good measure. I can dream…

    (BTW, you might want to fix the spelling of the title of the second site down in the “Sites I Frequent” sidebar.)

  6. stoperror Says:

    (BTW, you might want to fix the spelling of the title of the second site down in the “Sites I Frequent” sidebar.) >> Oh, didn’t see that Andrew. It was 4 AM when I did that.

    Plus, yeah, what people did 10 years ago, they do today. The only people whom I could think that would benefit from the latest and greatest, would be “hardcore” gamers (which is synonym of “stupid” in my opinion) or graphics professionals. And even then, I’m apposed to CGI. I’d rather there be practical effects, but you know, lazy movie producers. Joe user needs not the latest quad core hyper-threading crap from Intel. They can suffice on Pentium 3’s or Pentium 4’s. I suffice on a late model single core from AMD. Plays the games I want to play, runs the programs I want to run. And it cost a lot less than the latest and greatest at the time I bought it, which today, isn’t quite the greatest.

  7. stoperror Says:

    Oh, and FF 3.0.6 came out a few days ago. Might want to update the Mozilla Network.

  8. Andrew T. Says:


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