Pushing systems to the limit

There’s sort of a creed in the technoid world that folks have a tendency to just want faster and faster machinery, even when that is not really warranted. Many people spend zillions of dollars on machines that spend most of their time running screensavers or playing Solitaire.
I’m always keeping an eye on ‘am i just wanting new equipment just because it’s sexy? or do I really need it’? Well, I think I hit my limit on this laptop.

I’m using it for everything. It’s my desktop machine when i’m at home (it sits in a dock), it’s my mobile machine when I’m around the house, and when I go off to work offsite.
Working on CONGO at home has made this my primary development platform as well. Today I think I’ve pushed the machine over it’s limit. It’s running slowly, things are taking time to come up, and I’m swapping out to disk a lot. This has started to impact my work, and at that point, I have to say ‘It’s not just that I like something faster. This is starting to be a problem.’
Course, the neat thing is, only 2 years ago, folks would have considered this a decent platform. The laptop is:

  • An IBM Thinkpad T-20
  • PIII-700 CPU

    512meg RAM, 6gig HD

    1024×768 display (onboard as well as on external monitor

Not bad, right? But here’s what I run all at once, and yes, I use all of these…

Those are the desktop apps. Then I also have running…

  • MySQL – SQL database server
  • CONGO – Application server
  • Apache – Webserver with PHP

And, for the most part, it all works quite well, but occasionally it just starts coughing and slowling down. The larger apps (Evolution, Firefox, and DbVisualizer) are taking up the lions share of use, but would be fine if I weren’t running a zillion other things as well.
Ah well. I have, waiting in the wings, another laptop with a > 1gig CPU in it, but I spent weeks getting THIS machine up to speed, not looking forward to starting over again.


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

View all posts by

4 thoughts on “Pushing systems to the limit

  1. That’s pretty similar to the 3 1/2-year-old laptop that I recently replaced as my primary machine. It’s a Fujitsu C Series with a PIII-650 in it, but only 192M of RAM (the max it can handle). It’s OK for most things, but molasses-slow for development work (not helped my the fact that my Java development environment of choice is Eclipse, not a lightweight application by anyone’s standards). Still OK as a secondary machine for mobile use, though.
    The desktop I built to replace it is a 2.8G P4 with a gig of RAM. It’s *scarily* fast. We’ll see how long that lasts. 🙂

  2. That’s the trick, isn’t it? Replace it with a desktop machine thats kick-ass fast, but then I can’t haul it with me. I have to say, I’m mighty addicted to my mobile machine being the same as my desktop machine.
    Anyway, replacement-laptop (1.4gig i think) has the golden fun of being able to display 1600×1200 when docked, and 1024×768 when mobile. But yano, I’m thinking of trying to stuff more than the 256meg it has now into it. Fooey.

Comments are closed.