Tag Archives: speed

Are Two Cores as Good as Four Cores?

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Michael from CMPLive decided to do a special episode of “Real or Hoax” for our channels. He is a brave soul, and decided to take on the age-old question of whether or not two cores really are as good as four. In order to do this test properly, he made sure that the machines used were truly alike, apart from the cores themselves.

To run this test, Michael performed tests on four different popular games. He also did tests on several different types of software. You can see from the graph shown in the video, there’s a significant difference in the performance, but could easily be a bottleneck in the graphics. The difference is most definitely NOT double, though, as you might expect.

During a different test, Michael set his graphics to the highest possible settings. Low and behold, there was NO difference between two cores and four cores as far as performance. This is because his graphics card experienced a bottleneck long before the CPU would have.

When testing playing Assassins’ Creed, you can see by the charts that both low and high graphics usage produced nearly the exact same results – no matter how many cores were being used.

Flight Simulator X has been long believed to be CPU intensive… again, though, there was no difference. How can this be so?

Overall, Michael proved that there truly is not much difference when you use four cores instead of two. The biggest difference was in rendering and processing videos… the quad-core machine definitely performed faster. In every other case, though, it didn’t matter how many cores were installed in the computer. When it came to the games, the graphics card mattered far more than the CPU itself.

Thanks, Michael, for producing a fantastic video for us.

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Are You a Speed Demon?

YamazaruNinja asked the Lockergnome community whether we tend to tend to speed when driving down an open stretch of highway. I like to think that I never do this – thanks to Cruise Control. I admit that back in the day before I had such a luxury on my cars, I always ended up going too fast at times. I think everyone I know had this problem at some point. You’re cruising along and totally lose track of how fast you’re going. After all… it doesn’t FEEL like you’re speeding, right? You don’t even realize it until it’s too late sometimes.

This is just another small way in which technology advancements have enriched our lives. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps something such as Cruise Control isn’t such a big deal. When you realize that it could save lives by helping us to slow down, it puts it in a whole new perspective.

So how about it? Do you tend to speed when you’re out on the highway, or do you pay attention and drive within the speed limit?

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3G vs 4G Speed Tests

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Please post a video response demonstrating how your speeds measure up against mine. Your mileage may vary!

From where I sit in this home office, however, I’m not so sure I see a clear difference between Sprint’s 4G network and AT&T’s 3G network – at least, from these two devices today. That may change with network upgrades, of course.

If anything, most of my off-camera tests showed Sprint’s 4G network had better download speeds, worse upload speeds, and higher latency. Much like there’s a megapixel myth with digital cameras, there may be a “G” myth soon enough…

What are your thoughts? Is there a viable difference between the two types of network? Do we really see increased speeds?

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Processor Speed Vs CPU Cores

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If you had to choose between a 2.2 hz quad-core or a 2.5ghz dual-core one, how do you know which is right? In my mind, you’re better off with as many cores as you can possibly get. Even if software is not optimized for maximum cores at this point, it certainly will be in the future.

If an app is designed with multiple cores in mind, you’ll be happier having more cores no matter what the processor speed is. It depends on opimizational code, honestly. Check your benchmarks, and see how the two processors compare.

Dollar for dollar, though, I’d go for more cores rather than the raw speed of the processors.

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Samsung’s SSD Hardware is Stupid Fast

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I recently purchased a Samsung SSD drive and put it in my Mac. I decided to try opening a bunch of intensive programs all at once to see how fast they would open. It is STUPID FAST!! All of them opened before I could even count to two!

So what IS a solid state drive? An SSD is a data storage device that uses solid-state memory to store data. An SSD emulates a hard disk drive interface, thus replacing it in most situations. They’re light, and they’re fast. This makes them ideal for laptops!

These drives have been around for some time, but it is only recently that they have started to become available through normal channels and even available to the average consumers; despite that fact they are still far from affordable.

Not only are they stupid fast, they’re completely silent. You’d expect to hear your hard drive “working” when you’re doing something, right? Not with one of these babies. They’re just totally and completely quiet. What a change that is!

If you’re in the market for something like this, I’d definitely recommend the Samsung. It works very well, and I’m absolutely happy with it.

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Do you Need to Tweak Firefox for Speed?

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Firefox 3 download day has come and gone. It broke records… and servers. It took a little getting used to when I downloaded it. There were things I loved, and things I hated about it. I didn’t really like the Awesome bar. The good news is that I received a few recommendations for things to do to improve my FF 3 experience. According to Buruc, all I have to do is:

I found a more convenient way to get rid of the “awesome bar”. Go to the Mozilla add-ons website, and get the ” Old bar 1.2 ” add-on. Install it, restart Firefox, and that should do it. This way you could turn the feature on and off as you please.

You know what I’m talking about with Firefox 3 and that “awesome” bar. When you type in an address, and you suddenly have this long list of URLs under the address bar. To me, that seems too clunky. I just don’t like it.

Maverick also emailed me with some other recommendations. Go to the address bar, and type in about:config. When you look at this page, you’ll be overwhelmed, I guarantee. Pretty much everything you can configure in Firefox can be controlled via this page. Don’t touch anything before you backup, and don’t touch anything until someone has given you a good recommendation that has been tested. Before you dive into doing this, you might want to read through PC Tips Box. Here are the values that Maverick suggests you change, in order to speed up Firefox. If these particular values don’t exists, you can add them yourself by right-clicking anywhere in the config page and choosing “new”.

  • Find network.http.pipelining. Set this value to True.
  • Next, go to network.http.pipelining.firstrequest and set that to True, as well.
  • Go to network.http.pipelining.maxrequests and change that to 8.
  • Now we’ll get to network.http.proxy.pipelining and again set it to True.
  • Find nglayout.initialpaint.delay and change it to a 0.
  • Go to content.notify.interval and set this to 0.
  • Locate content.switch.threshold and change this to True.
  • And finally, change content.interrupt.parsing to True as well.

If you know of any other good tips for tweaking browsers of any kind to make them work better, be sure to email them to me. Make sure they’re ones that have been tried and tested. I won’t pass along anything that could hurt anyone’s experience.

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Speed up Mac OS X for Free

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One of the reasons why I fell in love with the PC back in the day, was because I could tweak it. I loved playing with configuration. I love to mess around and discover speed tweaks that are turned off by default. I was talking with Jeff the other day, and he mentioned that he would be using Safari on his Mac, if only he could enable a single window mode (which is NOT a visible configuration option). I am completely with him there. The only reason I don’t use Firefox as my default browser is due to a GUI that just isn’t “there” yet for me, as well as a few speed issues.

So as I’m talking to Jeff, I mentioned Secrets, which is a database of hidden settings for Mac OS X. When installed, it will scan your system and look at everything you use. It will then recommend what you need to enable in order to make your experience a better one. Think of it as a “TweakUI” that continues to grow as more of these tweaks are added to the central database. All these different things are pulled in from across the Internet and added on a regular basis.

That’s the great thing about OS X. You can tweak certain things. All the tweaks that are surfaced inside the Secrets preference pane are usually only able to be toggled on the command line. This application surfaces them all into a GUI. It’s free, and it’s easy. This is definitely one of the best freeware apps for Mac OS X I’ve come across. Here are just a few of the tweaks you can apply:

  • Grab File type for screen captures
  • Every App Scroll bar type
  • Safari Use circular progress indicator
  • Dock Dock Appearance, minimize effect and pinning
  • Xcode Organization name
  • Safari Enable debug menu
  • Dashboardlauncher Drag widgets out of dashboard
  • Finder Show stripes in list views
  • GlobalPreferences Login window desktop picture
  • Finder Show hidden files
  • iTunes Arrows link to library instead of store
  • Terminal Make focus follow mouse
  • Frontrowlauncher Enable high definition movie trailers
  • Safari Show Link URL in Tool Tip

As always, do your homework. Make sure you know what it is you’re toggling, and that you make a good backup prior to making any changes.

What other tweaks and tips do you have? If they’re really good ones, I’ll definitely pass them along to the rest of the world.


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Optimize Your ISPs Slow Internet Connection

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How many days of the year do you complain about your connection speed? How many times do you mutter and groan that you aren’t getting the promised speeds? Here are some excellent tips to help you boost that speed.

  • Schedule your downloads. There are many free download managers that allow you to set up downloads to go consecutively while you are asleep. Otherwise you’d have all of them going at one time, which could result in broken downloads. This is also VERY useful if you have HughesNet and always exceed your download threshold. You can schedule files to download late at night while the threshold is not in place. I recommend iGetter and Free Download Manager.
  • Download items that you visit every day, rather than reloading them. If you’re like me, you listen to YouTube movies in the background of just about everything you do so you don’t have to pay a dollar for the song, but every time you come back to that page it takes a long time to reload. Instead of reloading the page you can download the video with Youtube Downloader and convert it into a usable format, including mp3, with that same program. Flash games can also be downloaded if you’re using Firefox. Wait for the flash file to load 100% and choose File > Save Page As. Then open up the folder you saved and take out the .swf file. Right click the file and choose to open it with Firefox. (You can then delete the folder)
  • Know when to click links. If a page is loaded 100%, search for the next link you are going to use before you start viewing the page. If you find it, open it in a new tab and it can load while you are busy on the first page. If a page is in the middle of loading, but you find the link you want before it’s done, click stop before continuing on to the next link. Unless you know you’ll be occupied for a long time on one page (or away from the computer), don’t try to load multiple pages at a time.
  • Leech!! If you have a laptop and know someone with DSL/Cable or other form of high speed, bring it over there and download as many things as you can to keep yourself occupied while on your slow connection. This may seem like mooching, but you can make it less obvious. Schedule LOTS of downloads before going over there. Then, once you’re there, plug your laptop in, resume the downloads, and do what you would normally do whenever you visit.
  • Increase your cache size. If you increase the size of your cache and put your computer in sleep mode rather than shutting it down every night, frequently used pages will load quicker. To do this in Firefox, go to Tools > Options… > Advanced Icon > Network Tab.


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How to Keep Your PC Clean and Fast (Speed up Tips)

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People ask every day about ways they can keep their computer running smoothly, and how to make it faster. Here are some excellent tips that will help you accomplish both tasks. Keep those top five lists coming!