How much speed do you need?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
When does the speed of a computer stop mattering?

How much speed to you really need to browse the net or check email? How about word processing? Do any of these things require a 1 GHz processor?

How much speed do you need to listen to music or watch movies? How about burning CDs or editing a movie? Do these require an 800 MHz processor?

How much speed do you need for games before it stops mattering? Do you really need a 128 MB graphics card and a 1.6 GHz processor to play Unreal Tournament well?

How much speed do you need to edit a picture in Photoshop? Do you need 2 GHz to do this well?

Let's face it. We are at a point where computing technology has outpaced the speed at which developers write their apps. I have a computer which is now two years old. By computing standards, it's outdated, it's obsolete, and I should be considering a new purchase. But I'm not.

I can go out and buy any game, or any program for that matter, and it will run without a problem.

I can run any app out for the Mac right now, and it will run fine on my machine- it has a G3/500.

So this brings me to my next question: At what point does speed not matter? At what point will the screen on a new G4 look vastly different than on my G3? Sure it's faster, but do you really need the ability to open a document less than a second before me? Do you really need that extra power boost to finish that Photoshop filter a minute before me? Do you really need that extra power to browse the web 'faster' than me? Do you really need those extra FPS to make a difference in what you're seeing from what I'm seeing?

At what point now, does a new machine make a difference, and I mean a REAL difference? Whenever I've upgraded to a new system in the past, it was with a MAJOR increase in speed. It was definitely noticeable to me.

I went from an Apple ][ to a Performa. Compeltely different machines, yet you knew the difference in Power. Then it was from a Performa to a PowerBook 1400. An amazing machine, it could run circles around the old Performa! Then it was to an original iMac. The iMac was probably one of the best machines I ever owned. It served me well until it's 2 MB of graphics memory caught up to it fast.

Then I got my PowerBook. The difference I saw immediately was that net browsing seemed faster, I could run any program out there, and I realized how poor my iMac's graphics were.

Then my brother got his dual processor G4/500. The difference was barely noticeable compared to the other drastic upgrades. I could run all of the same games as him without issue, I could run all of the same programs as him without issue.

The same is true today. Developers haven't written a program that would run that much better on his machine vs. mine. Altivec is nice, but I can still do what his machine can, it just takes me a little longer (and that's only occassionally).

So when do you think speed stops being a real issue? When do you think the difference between 'Good' and 'Best' becomes unnoticeable? Maybe they don't, but when I use my PowerBook, after two years, I have no good reason to upgrade my machine. I know professionals who rely on saving minutes or seconds on Photoshop or Maya need the extra power, but for every day use, when does the actual need for speed stop, and the need for 'bragging rights' begin?


  • Reply 1 of 1
    fran441fran441 Posts: 3,715member
    Please lock this thread. I meant for it to be in the 1.6 GHz topic. Don't know how it got here. :o
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