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Are Microsoft's patches slowing XP down on purpose?

Letters Rummaging through the closet
Tue Apr 24 2007, 15:20
Subject: any old iron

Sell the cpus for their gold worth. should be enough to buy a radeon r600 and a bunch of grapes. ace!


Subject: AMD shoots itself

Reading about all the troubles at AMD. Think they have bought it upon themselves.

Despite all going well in Socket 939 days they abruptly shifted to AM2 despite the promises of 939 being the socket to parallel Socket A in longevity. Well, almost.

So they had millions buying socket 939 cpus, like me. Had the amazing Asus A8R32-MVP Dx. Thinking it would be the platform for years to come.

And guess what most do when they wanna upgrade? They simply wanna buy a new CPU that fits in the same socket. Windows, cards, motherboard and memory all remaining same. Right?

But there should be CPU's available that one can buy. But there are no higher speeds dual cores that one can upgrade to. So most do the next thing, they are FORCED to upgrade their platform. Mainly motherboard, cpu and DDR2 memory.

Millions of "legacy hardware" people with great AGP cards on 939 platform like Via K8T800 pro could have been captive 939 purchasers.

But then no prizes for guessing that if changing platform people would buy the new king of the hill. And this time it was not an AMD cpu! Heil Core 2 Duo. Handed over few million sales courtesy of AMD. (Does Intel have a powerful mole on the AMD board who helped in phasing out 939?)

What did i do? I can live with that marginally less performance so went ahead and bought AM2 Windsor X2 4200 with and ECS KA3 MVP. Coz if it wasnt was AMD we would still be buying $1000+ Cpu's.

Just wonder why AMD would do such a stupid thing. Companies survive in having products that customers want. But here we have a company wanting to push things on its customers. A la Intel.

Wish they had longer foresight. Even now they can bring on select few 939 X2's at equivalent prices of AM2 cpus. Like a 4600 and a 5000 etc. Enough for most :)

Ricky Bhatia

Subject: Hoarding

I'm guilty.

I have an entire closet and boxes full of parts dating back to the mid-80's. I don't know if it's just sentimental or novelty. Either way, I just can't seem to get the urge to toss it. I start thinking that maybe someday I'll be able to open the box, take a pic and auction it on e-bay.. rather than pull an old card out and laugh, "HA.. Holy shit, I forgot these even existed! What was I actually going to do with 50 512k memory chips?"

I keep thinking that some day I'll be able to use parts for mods on current equipment. Like, take some toggle switches out or use some cables for extra junk around the house. Recently, I dismantled an old PC and used a bunch of pieces to throw into my 360 for some little gadgets. Hell, even the plastic is fun for chopping up and using for various parts.

Good post!

Subject: MS vs. INQ? Hi,

As far back as I can recall you guys have been using the term LINQ for links outside your site.

It appears MS has nicked it:


Subject: XP slowdowns

Dear Mr. Magee,

I maintain an office of PCs, and have noticed that XP computers to be going slower than ever. This is including newly formatted & reinstalled units with all updates.

With the cool reception that vista has gotten, I do not think that MS is above releasing 'security' patches that also happen to slow down your XP computer, in order to sell more new vista machines. MS is desperate to move people from XP to their less shackeled new OS.

I can't benchmark or otherwise look into this issue, but perhaps some of your readers could investigate. If it were true, it would be quite a scandal.

Bradley P

Subject: Switch off Kaspersky

Can't do that, but can do the next best thing - get his software for free courtesy of AOL:


Subject: Linux petitioners want Sony to open up PS3's graphical innards


"Linux petitioners want Sony to open up PS3's graphical innards" left me thinking: couldn't Sony make the PS3 more "open", and consequently sell more of them? After all, what is an expensive console could easily become a reasonably priced media center, home server or workstation, not to mention that having more people learning the ins and outs of programming the PS3 wouldn't hurt the platform. Of course there are risks, like people circumventing DRM or not buying enough expensive games and related SDKs. But, since they are losing market and mindshare to the Xbox on the "hardcore gamer" and media high ends, and to the Wii on the "casual gamer" side, why not? Maybe they should sell a "PS3 Linux Edition": OS preinstalled, more memory and no artificial restrictions like the one mentioned in the article. Even if it was more expensive than the loss-leader "gaming only" editions, I believe it could find an interesting place in the market.

Regards, Luiz

Subject: T60 and Vista


OK, you're upset, and fair enough. Vista is more resource hungry than the (nearly 6 year old) Windows XP. XP was vastly more hungry than what went before it. Absolutely no surprise there. Vista performs badly with just the recommended specifications - again, XP's recommendations were pitiful (and 2000 before that, and NT before that).

Now back to your laptop. First, you don't have enough RAM. Vista, just after booting, tends to be using about 800 MB of RAM. Your graphics chip is one of those rubbish 'Hypermemory' things which steals your main system RAM - potentially a coupel of hundred meg of it. Which means Vista doesn't have 1 GB RAM you thought you had, and it's already out of RAM by the time you can see your desktop. Which means swapping. Which means throw-it-out-of-the-window performance. In your BIOS, you could try switching off Hypermemory (if your GPU has any built-in RAM), or limiting the amount it can steal.

Second, you don't have enough RAM. I have Vista running on my main laptop, and it is *vastly* more useable with 2 GB RAM. It makes a huge, huge difference. I had 1 GB of RAM for a couple of days before my upgrade to 2 GB arrived, and it was like night and day.

Yes, it takes longer to boot than XP does on the same machine. But once up, it's just as useable in terms of performance - and I tend to have a lot of apps open. I haven't noticed a huge drop in battery life, but the longest I ever need mine on battery is a couple of hours, and it's not let me down yet in either XP or Vista.

My biggest gripe about Vista is one I haven't seen mentioned many places - it's quite hard to spot the active window at a glance, and that is pretty fundamentally rubbish for a modern window manager. A tweak of the colour scheme solved it, but still.

I have tried various Linuxes, and been disappointed with them all. One will find all the hardware but have crippled graphics (scrolling web pages at a line a second in OpenSUSE). One will scroll everything nicely but not give me a useable way of using the wireless card (Fedora). One will find everything, run everything at the right speed, and then fall on its arse with a recursive and/or contradictory dependency problem (Ubuntu). And all have different but horrible inconsitencies and missing features in their Control Panel equivalent applets. Better than it used to be, but not good enough yet. I'll try again with Fedora 7 next month, but I'm not holding my breath.


Subject: Your thinkpad article

I have to disagree with your assertion of the battery life of the T60. I use one for school and work as an IT consultant and using the extended battery, I receive about 5.25 hours of life. I didn't notice if you mentioned this in your article, but an extended battery is well worth it for a T60.

Turning down contrast and turning the wifi off gives almost 6 hours of life.

Please refrain from being so harsh on T60s when Dell units have a hard time hitting 4.5 hours on similar specs.


Subject: A Tale of Two Thinkpads

While I agree with Richard's assessment of Microsoft Windows Fista(crude yes, but so darn appropriate) I'm going to play devils advocate, and say how is this current situation any different than with the “upgrade” from 2k to XP, or Windows for Workgroups to 95? I mean I'm still a young man, but I remember hearing the same complaints about memory requirements, performance loss, ect. Yes the addition of DRM is new to the mix, but it doesn't seem like the majority of the PC buying public was put off by 95, XP ect. When I mention DRM, I get a blank stair from most people, followed by “What's that?”

When I explain it to them most think that's just my geek colors shining through, and that I'm just being paranoid/a conspiracy theorist. When the proverbial “Joe, and Jane six-pack” head to and are given a choice to get either “Microsoft Windows XP”, or the default “Dell recommends! Microsoft Windows Vista” option for the same price which one are they going to chose? When they go to Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA and have a choice between Microsoft Windows Vista PC: A, B, C, or D, which OS are they going home with?

Think of it this way most users have a metric ton of spyware/adware on their PC's let alone the fact that a good number of them are using Windows XP with 256MB , and so help me, whatever deity(s) you prey to, 128MB RAM(believe me I've seen it to many times to count). As far as these guys, and gals are concerned PC's are slow piles of junk, that can't play movies because they stutter to heck. When they buy a Windows Vista PC and it's still a slow pile of junk that can't play movies because one of their hardware components isn't fully DRM'd to the Official Microsoft spec, are they going to notice the difference?

Yeah geeks like me are switching to Linux in protest, but it's a small minority. With that minority status comes a bunch of problems let's take, oh I don't know... drivers for instance. AMD's video drivers still suck, hell the open source communities reverse engineered drivers work better than AMD's own, but newer GPUs aren't supported in the community drivers. Can you really blame AMD? How much money should they spend on developing drivers for a nearly invisible market? The guys and gals at AMD are smart, and the smart money is with putting every development dollar available to them towards getting out a reliable driver for Microsoft Windows Vista. Yes my next laptop will not have an AMD GPU, or a Broadcom Wifi card but I doubt they'll notice.

Thanks MS for making me sound like a crazed conspiracy nut,


Subject: sick joke

I've booted up ubuntu 7.04 and have begun using it on my desktop machine.

With beryl, emerald, system monitor, amarok, gaim and firefox loaded with a few tabs the memory use is currently at 306.1 megabytes of 2gig and no page file used.

Normal cpu usage is 1-2% with a single core prescott 2.66ghz.

The composite desktop is extremely fast and is legitimately useful(well, aside wobbly windows). the zoom effect is a highly useful feature regarding accessibility.

The rest of the system has been utterly flawless. I've observed that, being that it's detractors may attempt to define, label and criticise it, bsd/gpl development avoids labels and does not break pace, indulge in pettiness or wound.

My only experience with vista was observing an hp machine a woman bought on campus. It was sold with 512 megs of ram. The lecturer offered to install what i recall as missing ethernet drivers, only to be perturbed and insist she return it and complain after sitting down with an unresponsive travesty of a system for 15 minutes.


Subject: IT people aren't only hoarders

Hi Andrew,

IT geeks aren't the only hoarders. In the SCO v Novell case a legal geek has searched his hoard and emerged with decade-old discussion notes and drafts of contracts. Unfortunately for SCO, they were arguing that the intent of the contract "must have been" that all copyrights were passed from Novell to SCO. But the legal geek's contemporary notes say otherwise.

Libraries call it ephemera, in case you don't like the tag "hoarder".


Subject: CIA prefetch letters

There is no standard set of search results that a particular user will get when searching on Google. Just because you see a particular set of search results doesn't mean everyone else sees that same. The results can vary depending on things like:

- IP address and associated geographic information
- Google datacenter currently serving results (they aren't all the same)
- Google testing out new things to random users (think split testing on a massive scale)
- The Google site being used (you'll get different results on than
- If you're logged in and have not disabled search history, you will get personalised search results

That's just the reasons I can think of off the top of my head.

Best wishes

Subject: old stuff

I just got rid of boxes and boxes (3 rooms full) of computer stuff that has been collected over the years

I reluctantly chucked away 5 zip 250 drives 30 Pentium 166/200 mmx chips 6 GB worth of EDO Dimms (32mb/64mb dimms) loads of 72pin simms and 30 pin simms, although i did keep a pentium pro 200 chip, you never know i may come accross a pentium pro system and turn it into a dual cpu setup still capable of doing not alot.

You will need the cables etc again, 3 days after chucking everything away, a bloke phones and asked if i had a com port cable as his dogs just chewed through his from his fax modem


Subject: here

Very strange situation. I have a Toshiba Satellite of exact same specs as your new Thinkpad (T2400, 1GB DDR2, ATI Radeon Mobility X1400), yet I am running Vista Ultimate here on it with no problems at all with full Aero interface enabled. I have not disabled Desktop Search or SuperFetch and programs start instantly, applications run as smooth as they did under XP Pro SP2 on the same machine, cold start ups are faster than under XP, etc, etc. In fact everything seems to be much better than XP was & I have no inkling to revert back to XP whatsoever.

Now I am not somebody who has just got into the IT industry, but as somebody who has been in the industry for the past 16 years or so since leaving school, and I literally hated XP when it was launched and stuck with W2K for 3 years after XP came out, and grew to like XP. Vista on the other hand is a vast improvement IMHO on XP straight off and actually works straight out of the box. I see so much on the Web with people slating Vista for one reason or another, and in all honesty I cannot see their problem with it. Either they are using seriously underpowered systems, or they have not got the systems configured correctly for best performance in the hardware. I can see your point though with regards to the power usage on battery. I get less than 2 hours at best from the Toshiba, but then again, Toshiba's are not known for their battery life anyhow, regardless of how you have the power profiles configured. All my peripheral hardware works fine under Vista as well, which is a bonus (although I did my homework first and made sure it would work before jumping to Vista!).

As I type this I can see from my sidebar resource monitor that I have 46% RAM usage (due to Superfetch) and it rarely goes above 80% even with applications such as Photoshop or Premiere running. Encoding & rendering speeds are certainly no different to what they were under XP either. If you are experiencing issues, why not stick a 1GB Flash drive into a USB 2.0 port & configure it for use with ReadyBoost? It does actually work well believe it or not!!!!

Darren Wilson

Subject: Earth To AMD

re:Richard Ensor

It's obvious you know nothing about the budget market. When it comes to chips below £100 or $100 AMD cleans up because everybody knows that AMD are better than Intel in this price bracket. Not to mention all the budget Dell PC's are equipped with AMD chips too now.

And then comes the server market Opterons fly off the shelves and the fact that more and more companies are selling Opterons instead of Xeons explains it all.

Last Time I saw a large scale survey of users and what CPU they had it was 52% AMD and 48% Intel.

AMD will never die, especially now that they own ATI. ATI are the graphics chip provider for the consoles, how many wii's have been sold now? many millions and each one has an ATI chip inside...

The future is very bright for AMD, when fusion comes out Intel will be left floundering by their lacklustre graphics technology and AMD will be flying powered by Radeon...

I feel sorry for all the poor people who jumped the gun too early and bought core2duos and geforce 8800's. I stuck with my socket 939/754 as it was fast enough AND STILL IS. It gave me chance to save up for the superior AMD products...


Subject: AMD vs Intel

While no Intel fan boy I did want to point something out.

The recent legit reviews review (say that three times fast) pitted an Intel e6300 Vs an AMD athlon64 x5600 on non-comparable platforms.

The 590 SLI has Linkboost and SLI memory support for greater than DDR2 800. The 680i LT does not have that.

So when you drop in anything 7900GTX and above it OCs the PCI-e bus to 125MHz the 680i LT does not do that. Had they wanted to show comparable platforms they should have used the full 680i or dissabled linkboost on the 590SLI. The performance leaps he showed in his eval could be put down to nothing more than that. and not relegated to the CPU. At 1600x1200 your really does not come into play when talking about gaming performance.

Also the X2 5600 prices out at $195.00 ( Newegg) the proper CPU to compare (price wise) would have been the E6400 (priced at $196, Newegg)

Next we come to the rediculous 3dmark results.

A 1600 point leap from a 500 point CPU difference, mathematically that is not even possible. I would like to see the whole results from that to see the differences between the individual scores (GPU scores). So this review seems to be not so legit.

Just my two cents.


Subject: S Froman

I love this guy. Can I marry him? What's his address? Can you ask him for me?!

No, on the real side of things, he hit the nail right on the head. Violent movies, music, video games, and even weapons for that matter do not make people go out and shoot others.

There is something in this world called morality, and it usually bites you in the ass when you want to do something drastic.


Subject: is it possible

is it possible to get an update to this information as soon as more valid news comes out?

I've been reading this in a few places and all the reports seem to make it that Mac OS was hacked when in fact as I read down to the bottom of each site. It took user intervention (which the hack was not supposed to be able to do in the first place), to be hacked. They changed the rules of the contest for that to even happen.

However the FUD of it has spread as it was successfully done, and that Mac users are just as safe as Windows users. When in fact that is the most untrue thing of it all. They were supposed to hack the Mac without user interaction. Something that's been done countless times on the Windows side.

What I'm asking for is that at least one news site get this information right, and not make it seem like something happened that truly did not happen. For it to be explained the correct way as to what took place and what happened exactly. Not some BS made up FUD.

So, this isn't exactly a flame. I just read this site a lot and find the information here very good and entertaining to read. Especially at work. But, when I read this story on other sites and it seems that no one other then posters are trying to get the story strait. I hoped that maybe you guys could.

Thanks again in advance.


Subject: hard hitting questions

You should switch over to the political side of journalism and ask these same hard hitting questions.

Good stuff...thanks,


Subject: Hoards of the things

My god!! You *threw* it away??! OMG!! Eh... Well, yes I'm a keeper/salvager as well. Main difference, I've had use for old stuff (stuff, not crap!).

Last I made use of a P2 IBM Netfinity we had lying around for spare parts, when a critical instrument at work died suddenly. Needless to say both my office and server rooms are stacked with old stuff waiting to be used. Dito at home. Wifey wrinkles her nose whenever she enters the workroom at home (where the IT, including her own computer sits). Spares is good. My co-admin is the same. What can I say? 8-]



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