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Hertz, Megahertz, and Gigahertz, OH MY!!!

I have been wondering what this means for a computer. My computer has 700 MHz, but i hear on computers with like 2 and 3 Gigahertz. I do things such as listen to music with RealPlayer, browse the web with my MSN browser, and IM friends with AIM and Yahoo, and I have an HP Pavilion 6745C desktop. What does hertz mean to a computer, what is today's standard/average amount of hertz for a computer to function normally, and is there a way for me to increase my comp's hertz without buying a new computer?

Thanks to all that may (or may not) help!!!!

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Hurts to Hertz

Hertz (abbreviated Hz), for the people who do not know, is the term that is directly relatable to the phrase "cycles per second." or CPS.
Years ago, CPS was the term commonly used, and then someone came up with the idea to honor the German physicist Heinrich Hertz, who discovered electromagnetic waves, with a unit of measurement named after him.

Anyway, if Hz is cycles per second (1x10^1), then
KHz is (Kilo Hz) thousands of cycles per second (1x10^3), and
MHz is (Mega Hz) Millions of cycles per second (1x10^6), and
GHz (Giga Hz) is billions of cycles per second (1x10^9).

As for the clock speed of a computer, which until recently had been measured in MHz, but since almost all new computers now typically are clocked at 2000 MHz and higher, the next unit of GHz is typically used (just to keep the numbers small enough to easily handle). Keep in mind, though, that 1GHz=1000MHz.

In the past, it has been a rough seat of the pants idea that if you clock a computer faster the end result is a direct result in a faster computer. Back "in the days" that was much closer to the actual result. Not so much now. You might imagine that clocking a computer at twice the frequency, the end result would be performance to also be twice as quick. Well things are never that simple. Now-a-days, that is far from the result. If you got a computer to be twice as fast, clockwise, I?ll bet it might only be 20-50% faster in total performance. (Don?t hold be to the actual number, just guessing here, with some experience.)

The total performance of a computer is the sum cause and effect of many of the components, the CPU, the clock frequency, the disk drives for I/O, the access to memory stored data (including 1st, 2nd cache as well as installed memory), the video card and it's memory, even the operating system. I am sure there are many more things, as well.

When you are dealing with the Internet then you might also be constrained by the speed of your connection, be it a modem or a broadband connection, and what servers and connection points are between you and the site of interest. If you want to listen to music as it is being streamed into your computer (right now coming in) then the biggest performance hit you would have would be your Internet connection (modem vs. broadband). If the music you are listening to was first downloaded before you started to listen to it, then your Internet connection affected the time in downloading it, but now that you have the entire file ?here? your playing of it should be reasonable.

The bottom line, and you knew there had to be one, right Grin
You can get respectable performance for typical web tasks (getting to websites, IM-ing) with just a 400MHz PC (maybe even a bit slower). Of course, if your PC is being hobbled by lots of background tasks (or viruses, etc!) then your speed will suffer some. Your regular tasks of doing word processing, most spreadsheet chores also, will be reasonable in speed with that same 400 MHz computer. I have seen computers with 800MHz speed to work much slower than other computers at half the clock speed.

Having a much faster computer, like 2, 3 or more GHz, will give you more speed in some tasks, but without having such computers side by side, you may not notice the difference (see! mine is faster than yours! bah. Happy )

Don't worry too much about who has the most Hz. Not everybody can afford to get the biggest, baddest, computer on the block. If your computer does what you ask of it, in a reasonable amount of time, then be happy. If not, and you can afford it, then make yourself as happy as you can afford.

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Beats my workhorse travel laptop.

My travel laptop seems such a dull thing now. It's an Acer ter-600 which is a p3-600 256MB laptop. It plays DVDs, burns CDR/W and holds a copy of the home development tools.

The only annoynace is the boot time is some 2 minutes where modern laptops are under a minute. I'll wait till I replace it.


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Yup, my laptop too.

Yeah Bob, I have a Dell 700MHz laptop too, and it "seems" slow in comparing it to my new Dell 3.2GHz P4. But it is extremely usable for all the tasks I need to do.

One of the things I really noticed as an improvement to boot up time, was when I replaced the OS from W98 to WinXP. Love XP. I would say my boot up time is probably 30% quicker with WinXP, over W98

(Of course, I really believe that Win98 is quicker than Win2k, for booting up. What the heck is Win2k doing that takes so long, anyway? That is a rhetorical question. I don't want to know. Wink )

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oh, and I forgot, qty of memory helps a lot too.

Yes, before anybody jumps on me for that omission, the quantity of memory can be a big influence, UP TO A POINT.

That is, doubling a small amount of memory will get quite a performance boost. But adding 8 times more memory will probably not get you a proportional result.

There is a "sweet spot" of memory, depending upon which OS you are running. And I woun't argue the values with anyone. Sweet spot being a quantity where you noticed a performance increase over a lower number but adding more will not get an appreciable performance boost.

But for Win98 I would say the sweet spot might be around 128 to 256 MBytes.
For WinXP that number is probably around 256 to 512MB.

Your numbers may vary, but the basic idea is there.

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