What do you consider the threshold for a "fast" computer?

Discussion in 'polls' started by Gullible Jones, Oct 9, 2012.

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Where do you draw the line for "fast" x86 computers?

  1. Pentium III era

    1 vote(s)
    1.8%
  2. Pentium IV/Athlon XP era

    3 vote(s)
    5.4%
  3. Athlon64 era

    3 vote(s)
    5.4%
  4. Core2 era or more recent

    44 vote(s)
    78.6%
  5. Other (please explain)

    5 vote(s)
    8.9%
  1. It seems that there is some disagreement these days about what constitutes "fast." I'm interested in how other people here rate different machines.

    I tend to rate computers thusly - chiefly by CPU power (using Intel CPUs as a measuring stick), but also video card, RAM, and drive connector bandwidth. Some of this is admittedly a product of growing up with Pentium 4 and Athlon XP machines being state of the art; but it also reflects my experience in desktop usability...

    Completely obsolete: anything with an i486 processor. Basically good for nothing these days.

    Very slow: i586 or early i686, e.g. Pentium Pro, or anything with < 64 MB of RAM. Cannot run a modern GUI, may be okay for low-end networking stuff.

    Slow: Pentium II or Pentium III, with 128 - 384 MB of RAM and ATA-66 hard drives. Can run Linux and a lightweight DE, though slowly; once graphical glitz is disposed of, the main limiting factor seems to be RAM.

    Medium speed: Pentium III or low-end Atom (e.g. N270) with 512 MB - 1 GB of RAM, or Pentium IV with 384 - 512 MB, and ATA-100 or ATA-133 hard drives. This is the area where day-to-day tasks become convenient, as opposed to merely possible.

    Fast: Pentium IV with 512 MB - 1 GB of RAM, ATA-133 hard drive. The more recent P4s work okay with < 1 GB of RAM.

    Very fast: Pentium D, later Celeron, and in general anything with a 64-bit capable processor, with 512 GB - 2 GB of RAM and SATA hard drives; more RAM being better, obviously. This is the area where normal desktop performance stops being a concern, especially when you have 1+ GB of RAM.

    Extremely fast: Core 2 Duo with 2 - 4 GB of RAM and SATA hard drives, and perhaps a nVidia or ATI graphics card.

    Needlessly fast: Core i3 or later with 4+ GB of RAM and a modern graphics card. In the US you can buy one of these at Staples for $600 or so.
     
  2. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    I find it hard to define "fast" without taking the load, OS, tasks being performed, etc into consideration. A processor and RAM combination might be very fast running one OS yet barely able to run another. Hardware that ran XP decently is often sluggish with Vista or 7. Put Puppy linux on that same hardware and it could fly.
     
  3. nosirrah

    nosirrah Malware Fighter

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    I never had that "wow this is fast" feeling until I built a PC from scratch. I built a 1 ghz Piii with 512 megs of SDR on the 133mhz bus and a 8 meg cache ATA 133 HDD. XPSP0 and SP1 were very fast on this for the time.

    A PC with these specs and XP today would still not be a terrible PC for email and web surfing.

    Today, it has to have 4 cores with 4ghz turbo (simple on the intel k/x CPUs), 8 + gigs and at least 1 SATA600 SSD to feel blazing in all cases.

    My work laptop has a sandybridge extreme CPU, 2 SATA600 SSDs in raid 0 and 16 gigs of ram. Even with 4 busy VMs it does not feel slow but for the average user this is a useless amount of power. An i5 with 8 gigs and a mid range SSD is just about right for the average advanced user that likes a quicker than average PC.
     
  4. chrisretusn

    chrisretusn Registered Member

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    If it has four or more processors, then I am good to go.

    As for fast, it a relative term for me and what I am doing on it. In general fast to me is what I have now, compared to what I had before.

    When I buy I start with the CPU I want and go from there. My next purchase will be at least a 6 core or better cpu. This Intel Centrino Dou on my older model Toshiba with 4GB of memory is fast enough. My six core AMD desktop is better, but it's at home, I am not.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  5. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    A 'fast' computer?

    I guess I'd say i3k or higher, 8GB of RAM, a dedicated GPU, and a SSD.

    Considering you can get a midrange laptop with all of that I'd hardly say it's 'crazy fast' or anything.
     
  6. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

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    Any dual core will do, since even today, most applications can not take advantage of multiple cores, the second core is used only by Windows, the rest is just for games.
     
  7. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    A computer is fast if it is fast, period. I've seen people with "pimped out" multi-core CPU's and 12 gigs of RAM on their 64-bit OS's... and their boxes are slow. My 2.4 ghz single core Celeron CPU & 1 GB of RAM on XP ran circles around them.

    Why? Because I know how to use what I've got. They don't. Their box was loaded with bloat, things they don't need running, tons of real-time 3'rd party products while I rely mainly on hardening. The absence of a real-time AV alone makes a huge difference in overall system footprint.

    For that matter, my 500 mhz Emachines PC with 64 MB of RAM running 98SE was fast. Windows popped up immediately. If it had been any faster, it would've been psychic.
     
  8. Tarnak

    Tarnak Registered Member

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    :thumb:
     
  9. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    Any modern Quad Core CPU + 4GB of RAM minimum + Dedicated GPU + a good HDD such as SSD or Velociraptor. :thumb:
    I consider those specs fast enough but it's by no means the fastest you can get for gaming. ;) :D
     
  10. guest

    guest Guest

    Agreed with luciddream

    My is 2 core, but all bloatware has been removed
    and this includes the bloatware in Windows itself,
    I can't see how I can make my any faster, you touch
    a key or click a mouse and it instant response,

    I do this by keeping a tight rein on what is allowed
    to be installed, no two or more programs that do the same thing,
    no unnecessary programs including what is in windows
    and a lot of tweaks done to windows itself

    I'm running XP now but I guess when the day comes
    that it is not useful anymore I will go to Linux but I think
    that will still be quite some time from now
     
  11. PJC

    PJC Very Frequent Poster

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    Core2 era or more recent
     
  12. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Exactly! I've watched my P4 with 1gig of RAM run faster than PCs with much better specs. Like you, not bogging the system with a real time AV and other unnecessary apps/services is the reason for it.
    Same here. In it's default form, the XP unit on a P4 was only slightly faster than my old 98 unit on a Celeron. When I repartitioned the XP unit and made it dualboot with a modified lite98SE, XP suddenly felt like a snail in comparison. It does almost feel psychic when apps are opened almost as soon as you release the mouse button. Almost instantaneous response does spoil you after a while. When the OS uses less than 5% of the available RAM and resources, applications fly.
     
  13. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    For me, the first "fast" mainstream computers were those using the Core 2 Duo chips.

    Summer of 2006 wasn't it, when the Core 2 Duo processors hit the retail market.

    At the time AMD was gaining market share but the C2D introduction turned everything around and Intel has held a big lead ever since.

    I remember wanting a mid tower with an E6600, but my computer was just over 6 months old and...
    -well-
    I'm still using it.
     
  14. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    Hahahaha grab a used one from eBay like i did, before they disappear, i changed my Intel E2180 which was barely fast for an Intel Q8200. :argh: :argh:
    I basically tripled the performance for a mere 55$ including shipping, this will definitely extend my Desktop life for at least another 3-5 years before i change it, even more if i stop gaming. (I rarely play games nowadays)
     
  15. blacknight

    blacknight Registered Member

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    Totally agree.
     
  16. safeguy

    safeguy Registered Member

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    Core 2 Duo and above.
     
  17. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    I'll try to be more specific about what i consider fast . . . Anything that can play current games at good enough frames in at least high settings at average resolution. (By average resolution i mean 1024x768 or 1280x720)
     
  18. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Agreed. Since I'm not a gamer or do I edit, convert or otherwise mash around video. The dual cores right after the Pentium IV do everything I need.

    Edit: I mistakenly voted for Pentium IV era. LOL

    Course I got the latest & greatest AMD A6-3400M APU with Radeon HD Graphics about a year & a half ago. The laptop rates higher than 2nd gen i5s. Couldn't resist, got it for $425 ($650 retail). The Windows 7 experience is 5.8. It was the newest computer tech I've ever owned. The newest installed programs from the factory were less than 2 1/2 weeks old!
     
  19. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    The Pentium IV was the biggest joke of any CPU, ever. I never owned one (but had to use machines that contained them) and ran AMD for those years. C2D was probably the greatest advancement anyone has made (in a single generation) and was a good comeback. At this point nothing on that list is fast in my opinion. An overclocked C2Q or better is reasonably fast by today's standards but I hate to have to use anything less.
     
  20. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    Hahahaha yeah, P4 were really slow compared to AMD specially clock to clock. o_O
    Although the C2D was a huge leap it's sad AMD can no longer keep up with Intel in the high end market.
     
  21. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    To me a fast computer now is what I consider a good spec mainstream machine, years ago it used to be something rare/exotic/costly - I ran dual P3 overclocked from 600 to 900 mhz and I could of done with more CPU power. Now I can buy a mid to top range PC or laptop and have more than enough CPU power - my C2D laptop is 5 years old and can still compile my code fast enough to not worry about affecting productivity.

    My develop machine is a 4 core Xeon E7540 with 8gb ram with 10k rpm SAS drives and on paper its loads faster than my laptop, but when it comes to my programming duties, yes compiles happens a lot faster, but it does not save a huge amount of time day to day as compile is far less significant than the amount of time I spend writting the code, testing it, reading specifications and day to day admin duties.
     
  22. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Really depends on the task - and software.
    But in general, if it does not slow me down - that's it.
    Mrk
     
  23. encus

    encus Registered Member

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    A quad core CPU with a monster RAM :D
     
  24. adrenaline7

    adrenaline7 Registered Member

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    I built a pc in 2004 to play Half Life 2 and Far Cry. Athlon 64's were kings at the time but I got a deal on a P4 3.0ghz and mobo b/c of where I worked so I built with that and 1gb PC3200 ram and a 7200rpm HD.

    It ran strictly Windows XP fully updated with about 3 on demand scanners and otherwise was as stripped down as windows gets. Poor security but I used that PC for years and never had an infection and mostly used Firefox to browse the web and it responded instantly and I can't remember a single crash in over 5 years of usage so that was a very fast and stable PC.

    Now I usually use a laptop with an I3, 6gb cheap ram, and a 5400rpm hard drive. It feels about the same, 30 sec to login and open browser, browser responds instantly and I don't game anymore so it works fine. If I had time to game I would build something fast, like an I7 with SSD and good GPU to play the new Counter Strike but I work have a family and other commitments, not time for pc gaming.
     
  25. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    For my various uses of a PC, a Dual Core CPU is plenty fast.
     
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