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Author Topic: Are Computers Really Faster Now?
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted October 27, 2014 12:20      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have been reading and hearing about how much faster the newer computers are, how about start up times, still seems to me that I am waiting an inordinate amount of time to enter my password.

Did the old Fast and Wide SCSI interfaces move data faster than these new SATA Drives?

The newer processors may be faster but are the IO ports hobbling the CPU?

Just some random observations.

I think my old Quadra seemed faster.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted October 27, 2014 23:19      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Modern computers absolutely have better hardware, with faster CPUs, more throughput, better storage, more RAM, and improved networking. That said, operating systems and applications have developed at the same pace and well, "they don't make 'em like they used to." Applications written years ago had to use every megahertz and byte to their fullest because they were present in limited quantities on affordable computers. (Ghost, a rather powerful utility, weighed in at something like 600 KB.) DOS started /very/ quickly because it didn't do anything. (Remember TSRs - you needed those to do just a smattering of the things that modern OSes did.) DOS wasn't actually an operating system...more like a program launcher that handed CPU control over to the requested application.

I've definitely seen machines running XP on older hardware boot up faster than Windows 7 on modern HW - and I know that's because the newer system is just loading so much more off the disk and running far more processes concurrently to give you the glossy stuff and all the services you expect these days. My old stupid-phone booted up faster than my new stupid-phone, and both are faster than my most recent Androids were, and surely faster than my current work phone, an iPhone 4S. However, unlike the Androids, I almost never have to reboot the iPhone, so that's almost a non-issue. (Aside: As for being faster at something...holy smokes, that thing has a fast shutter.)

If you want a machine to boot up quickly these days, replace your drive with an SSD. I haven't done it myself, but folks I know and trust swear by them. (And I've seen a MBP fire up very quickly after having its SATA drive replaced by SSD.) Fixed media has got to be one of the biggest bottlenecks in boot time. Second to that is frigging firmware startups - enterprise hardware has so many damned things that make the operational beast quicker and more robust, but slow down the boot process so much. VMs feel like a dream by comparison.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2014 08:37      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dman I thank you for your well thought out reply. I have a Gasp (Dell) Gasp here with SATA drives and maxed out on ram, that machine is dead slow getting going,by the way I am thinking of a SSD drive, any hints on what not to get?

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
spungo
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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2014 12:57      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In the good old days of DOS, you could turn yer machine on and start doing stuff within about eight seconds -- the only thing that slowed you down was POST. Now, with these new-fangled window-thingies, you can go get a cup of coffee and watch Gone With the Wind while it boots. And the youngsters call this 'progress'!

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Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted October 28, 2014 14:29      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Historically, some of the problem in the Windows world was Microsoft's insistence on starting every service under the sun immediately on boot. Even after waiting minutes for the desktop to appear it was many more minutes before the system finally settled down enough to be usable (*cough*, inasmuch as Windows is ever "usable"). But they seem to have turned over a new leaf with Windows 8 / Server 2012 -- some of our 2012 VMs at work are fully back from a reboot within 30 seconds. From my limited research I attribute this to MS deciding that many services can be started "on-demand" when they're actually needed.

As far as the relative speed of DOS, don't forget that text-based screen rendering was handed off to video hardware that had the console font baked in, plus other tricks based on a fixed 80 x 25 display grid. The video system on the new iMac Retina is juggling over seven thousand times as many elements, with more available colors per element, and presumably updating those elements many more times per second than DOS did.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted October 29, 2014 00:17      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Programmers are making computers slow faster than hardware engineers are making them fast.

I was clearing out some old junk while back, and came across some disks with the source code and development tools for a system I worked on many moons ago.

Back in the day, I'd kick off a full compile, go to the sandwich shop, stroll down to the park by the river, munch my sandwiches while watching the ducks swim by, come back to the office, make a cup of coffee, and sip on it while I waited for the compile to finish.

So, out of interest, I downloaded a Virtual Machine with the appropriate (ancient) OS, loaded the source and compiler, and kicked of a compile.

It took 72 seconds.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted October 29, 2014 03:15      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Haha...yeah...that's something I always like about upgrading my computer - code I've written before usually runs faster.

On that note (and sort of shades of xkcd), I decided not to spend the time needed to improve a log parsing tool of mine. Naturally, I started using it on a finite data set, and as time goes by, that set has increased. I /could/ optimize it to ignore previously analyzed data (and cache the already computed results), but it really doesn't take that long to iterate over the entire set. I'm quite certain that the time it would take to rewrite the code to be more efficient would exceed the time savings gained in optimization. The only real reason to do it would be academic...and if I find the spare time, I will do it for fun. At times, it smarts knowing that it could be better, offending my inner Wall, but I know it's the practical move. (Having written this, now I /really/ want to redo it!)

[Edit] Huzzah...a new idea hit me for how to easily optimize the code without introducing a new performance issue I previously envisioned. It's fairly easy, too! Now my excuse to update the code is gone. [Smile]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted November 05, 2014 22:45      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So back to my original question, where is the biggest hold up? I am thinking of the I/O ports and their connection to the drives and CPU. I have seen ham programs run on android much faster and with less errors than the equivalent program in X86 or in Linux.

So is Android getting bloated like other OS's?

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted November 08, 2014 12:30      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So I tried an experiment with my latest find, I installed Puppy onto a USB/2 thumb drive and set the bios to look there first. Holy Poop was that fast. Would I get that kind of response from a SSD?

Second question Should I get a PCI card with USB/3 ports and load up the OSs I like to use onto USB/3 thumbs? Would performance increase a bunch or stay with USB/2?

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted November 08, 2014 18:44      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
So I tried an experiment with my latest find, I installed Puppy onto a USB/2 thumb drive and set the bios to look there first. Holy Poop was that fast. Would I get that kind of response from a SSD?

Faster.
SSDs connect via the disk controller, which is quite a bit faster than the USB2 interface.
My 7 year old PC at work died recently, and the replacement has a SSD. BIOS boot screen to Ubuntu login prompt in 6 seconds. Awesome!

Note that SSD reads are lightning fast, SSD writes, not so much. Plus, SSDs wear out after (reports vary) writes, so it's a good idea to have your OS on the SSD, and your user data on a traditional HDD.
If that sounds 'too hard' (and it can get fiddly, eg. you don't want /tmp or /var on the SSD) consider a Solid State Hybrid Drive - basically a (small) SSD and a traditional HDD in one package, with a smart controller that puts frequently-read-seldom-written stuff on the flash, and the rest on the HDD. These can give the fast boot advantage of a SSD without the headache of managing the SSD/HDD split yourself.


quote:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
Second question Should I get a PCI card with USB/3 ports and load up the OSs I like to use onto USB/3 thumbs? Would performance increase a bunch or stay with USB/2?

USB3 should be faster, but.....

USB3 support on Linux was flaky for a while, if you're using a packaged Linux full of HAM apps, you might find that the kernel is quite old. Depending on the distro, updating to a recent kernel could be very easy, or damn near impossible, or anywhere in between.

Also, if you're using a Linux that's configured as a 'Live CD' it might be loading everything into a RAM disk, and running from that. If so, USB3 will speed up your boot time by a second or so, but from then on there would be no difference. Hardly worth spending money on.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

Posts: 10680 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted November 08, 2014 21:28      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Those pre-configured ISOs usually are one or two generations old.

For sound card modem encryption and decryption I use a program call Fldigi (Fast light Digi) it was written to run on Puppy and then was ported to the other OSs.

For APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) I am still fighting with Fedora and Xastir

Since I am getting the packages and installing them I can stay even with the loop.

I have two extra Sata ports on the MoBo, should I run two cables out to the front to plug in small SSDs loaded with an installed OS?

I would like several with #1 Winblows #2 Ubuntu #3 Puppy #4 Fedora

Right now my testing is with Puppy on an Eight gig USB/2 thumb having both the ISO and the save files on that one thumb.

--------------------
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged


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