atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6708: Just like that, a day wasted

On these Saturdays when I must get up at 6 AM to go to Schaumburg to attend these two-hour meetings, I come home and flop, and the rest of the day is a wash. That's what happened today; I was home and fed by 12:30 PM.

Now it's five.


On the plus side--if there is one--it has been raining on and off since noon, and there is no way I could have cut the grass anyway, even if the meeting had not occurred.

The other upside is that I hit Fry's on my way home; and while I was there I finally remembered that I wanted to buy a few SATA cables. Along with the other bits and pieces I picked up, I dropped $48 there. Three 16 GB SD cards, three SATA cables, and a USB dongle that lets me plug a bare SATA drive into it so I can copy data as needed. Nothing major or earth-shattering, or even interesting; just some little techy fiddlybits I have use for here and there.

Still, I have been eyeing the empty DIMM slots on my motherboard with a gimlet eye. Floristica has 8 GB and can contain 32; I'm thinking I'd like to get her to 16 GB someday soon. The only real reason to do this would be for my own satisfaction, though, because I noticed the other day while I had Task Manager running that I was using 1% of the total processor power. That was with the web browser running and nothing else.

I'd opened it to have some kind of comparison between what a customer was experiencing and what was "typical" for a more modern computer. The machine in question had a dual-core Celeron processor running at 2.4 GHz and just sitting at idle with Internet Explorer open and the remote management software running, that consumed 60% of the processor throughput. Do anything else besides that, and it was pegged at 100%.

I had not expected such a difference.

It confirms my conclusion that the Core i5 is the best "bang for your buck" processor in Intel's lineup. Certainly a Core i7 could handle more, and would run faster, but when I consider that the sum total usage of this machine is a) surfing web and blogging; b) word processing; c) WoW--the latter is the only thing I need performance for, and at least half of that is video card.

But this machine is five years old and I've been pondering upgrades. Because Intel had to add a pin to the Core i5 processors that came after the one in Floristica, I need--at minimum--a new motherboard, which also means new memory. I remember when it was possible to upgrade your processor without doing that--if you had a 486DX-25 you could put a 486DX2-50 in its place--but it appears that present-day CPU designers can't improve their product without completely redesigning how it connects to the outside world. And getting a new motherboard means getting new memory, because the requirements will likely be different.

The Ryzen lineup seems like the best choice there, and there are several processors in that lineup which have a higher clock speed than Floristica's Core i5 while also having more cores and more threads...and costing less. If I were to use the same case, I'd likely spend $400-$600 on the upgrade, use the same hard drives and video card...and if I noticed any improvement in performance in my non-gaming use, it would be slight. WoW would probably improve to a noticable extent, but it runs satisfactorily now.

This is the reality of computers these days. This is why they can now make desktop computers the size of a trade paperback book that could still run WoW acceptably.

This kind of thing is why you can buy a Raspberry Pi 3 for $35, add a few bits and pieces, and have a fully-functional computer. It is not a fast computer but you can run business apps on it; it has the approximate power and capacity of an 80386 computer built in 1994 with some little extra performance here and there.

So, probably won't be upgrading for a while. That's all right.

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