Last week was a busy week, as most of you probably know Iím putting in a fishpond and am also redoing the entire garden. I finally got my topsoil and sand delivered on Thursday so I spent most of my Friday and the weekend getting that in, which was a lot of work, and therefore I didnít have time to do Fridayís column. What else? Not much really, went to see Pearl Harbor on Saturday, which was a great special effects movie, but I found the movie lacking in historical accuracy. To my opinion it was not giving an accurate view of the events that led up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and what happened afterwards. But then again, it was drama/action movie and not a documentary, so I might have watched it with the wrong mindset.
Also last week, a whole bunch of parts arrived. Intel was kind enough to send us a 1.8GHz Pentium 4, and two 900MHz, 2MB Xeons, whereas Abit got us a TH7-RAID motherboard and Kodak dropped a bunch of digital cameras off on our doorstep. Naturally all of these parts will be used in upcoming reviews, such as the 760MP review that is still in the works.
Anyway, one thing did occur to me over the weekend, and thatís that the whole MHz battle that has been going on for months seems to become rather pointless. For the past few months both Intel and AMD have been releasing one CPU after another, often only offering 100, or less, more MHz over the previous top of the line CPU. Quite frankly weíve still got some bottlenecks in todayís systems thatíll put the brakes on performance, regardless of clockspeed and yield improved results that are not even visible to the naked eye. A few years ago, swapping out a lowly Pentium 100 for a Pentium II 300 would cut load times in half and make for a genuine, visible, increase in performance. Today we need whole benchmark suites and hours of testing to determine which CPU is faster, or what combination of motherboard and CPU has an edge.
To be honest, I donít see how someone can justify paying $150 extra for 0.5% increase in performance. If youíre into CAD/CAM, or audio/video production and your system is mainly used for rendering maybe that $150 is justifiable, but not for the home-user that uses its PC solely to browse the net, for word processing, or other apps thatíll leave the system running idle 90% of the time. And I doubt people will once more invest in some new hardware when Windows XP comes out, as Microsoft is suggesting. Windows 2000 and the whole Y2K situation motivated a lot of people to upgrade and get their system up to date, and most of them arenít waiting to spend another $150 one year later for the latest brushed up version of Windows.
I for one, am not impressed by XP at all. Sure, it looks nice, has some new features, and it is cool to have it installed on your system, just to impress friends, family and the neighbors. But there's nothing revolutionary about it, there aren't any features included that cannot be had with previous versions or windows or aren't available from 3rd parties. So the cool look will eventually wear off and the new features I might not even use in time. So why bother buying, installing and registering XP when my current copy of Windows 2000 is doing fine and does all I want it to do. Because Microsoft says you should upgrade? Iíd rather spend my money elsewhere, or wait for some freeware or open source tools to become available thatíll do exactly what those new XP features do, without the need to install the OS or pay a price premium for yet another polished up version of Windows.