Sometimes the answer is just too obvious

Posted by Tejus Parikh on February 1, 2007

I knew that my Fujitsu was slow, but since I got it back, it had seemed excessively so. I initially attributed it to being used to beefier computers. After all, the other machines I use regularly are dual cores with 2 gigs of RAM. I was okay for a while, but it just started getting to me.

Eventually, I decided to blame Gnome. Therefore, I downloaded the new version of Xfce installed it, and things got a little better. Yet the computer still felt slower than it should have been. It’s not like it’s a 486 or that I’m doing massively multithreaded HPC. A 933Mhz Transmeta should be able to surf the web and use basic AJAX sites. Hell, even the Wii was significantly faster at rendering pages.

The next logical fall guy was openSUSE. The UNIX gray-beard in me concluded that using a modern, user-friendly distro was my problem. In order to make the machine faster, I must return to an OS from a simpler era. While internally debating whether to return to the 8.1 release of Slackware (a release that coincides with the last time this computer felt fast), or give the new one a shot, a sudden thought occurred to me.

What exactly are the contents of cpuinfo_cur_freq (the file that contains processor throttling information). The answer? 400000. The computer felt 2x slower than normal because it was 2x slower than normal. Imagine that. I entered the correct value into the file, and unsurprisingly, it was usable again.

Note to self: before re-installing the OS or purchasing a new machine, always be sure to check the SpeedStep settings. Sigh.

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Tejus Parikh

Tejus is an software developer, now working at large companies. Find out when I write new posts on twitter, via RSS or subscribe to the newsletter: