Sunday, April 24, 2005

Why is a Pentium 3/450 so slow?

Both kids are in various stages of recovery from a minor gastrointestinal virus (mostly the "gotta go, gotta go NOW, gotta go a lot" stage), so we're going to have prayers & Bible reading at home this morning. The dogs woke up at 5AM. A wise man would have gone back to bed. I stayed up and played with the Dell GX1p that's to be the new database server.

Last night, I had to let the NetBSD pkgsrc code update, so this morning, I started compiling the database code. And it was slow. 486 slow. 386 slow even. I knew the hard drive I put into this machine was slow, but this was insane. 100% CPU utilization when running a make file. It reminded me of my college days when we started a compile at 2AM, and went to Perkins for a late dinner and cards to wait for it to finish.

I broke down and started pulling memory. Sometimes if you combine different memory sticks, the system will hate you. That didn't help. Finally, I went into the BIOS to see if something had been set strangely. Th e only thing I could find was that the CPU speed field was set to "Compatable". I set it back to the CPU speed. Amazingly enough, that fixed things.

For those who've used computers a while, do you remember the old "Turbo" buttons? When you pressed it by accident, your computer slowed down. Someone had virtually pressed the Turbo button. I would fuss a lot, but it was a free computer, and I am probably the one who set it by accident in the first place...

It's a lot better now. It's still not as fast as I'd like, but that's a P3/450 for you. I'll rearrange my computer room a bit & free up a P3/700. That'll speed it up.

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