I Remember When....

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 I’m on the road and my access to the internet is at dial-up speeds – a good connection is 50 kb/s.

One thing you have is time – it’s an interesting phenomenon when you come from the hyper-active world of 10-15 mb/s where the constraint on downloads is on the other side. You rarely have time to reflect while waiting for a page to load – usually a matter of fractions of a second. In this dial-up world a good download is less than a minute.

So you have time to ponder on whatever pops into your mind while blankly staring at the screen, casually noting that text usually comes first, then images slowly painting their way across the screen. So indulge me as I play

I remember when…

  • AMD had a chance to be a real player in the CPU world
  • Overclocking was a challenge, not a slam-dunk
  • Finding a Costa-Rican CPU that overclocked 50% to 500 MHz was a big deal
  • Air cooling both sides of the CPU was pushing the envelope
  • Motherboards overclocked the ISA/PCI slots along with the CPU
  • The CPU race was speed, not cores
  • Watercooling was for techno-geeks who scoured auto junkyards for heater radiator cores
  • Spending $100 for a CPU was absurd
  • Fan noise from high speed fans was part of the game
  • There were over 50 websites delving into PC hardware
  • Objective PC hardware reporting was the norm – sellouts were rare and obvious

Not that I’m longing so much for the “good old days”, but as CPU yields increase I think the overclocking challenge diminishes. No doubt in my mind that overclocking jumped the shark some time ago – it’s a main-stream activity well supported by both the motherboard manufacturers and, to varying degrees, the CPU manufacturers. Now we see Intel offering a “turbo” boost (such as it is) – who would have thought it!

Looking ahead, desktops will continue to decrease as a percentage of new systems. “Just in Time” computing will become more the norm, leading to a narrower selection among after-market motherboard manufacturers a la ABIT. Laptops are not overclocking machines and netbooks even less so.

We are the Dodo birds of the PC world, facing extinction as the confluence of technology and economics work to our disadvantage. Progress – don’t you love it?

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