Assuming one's net speeds are up to snuff, where would the IT pros look next for bottlenecks?  Running IB, R, Excel, with a decent sized data import and IE with about 20 tabs open on an AMD 64 bit 2.4Ghz single core with 3 GB running XP_64 and two monitors on a 500Mhz+ video card feels increasingly sluggish.  Would like to move completely to Linux 100% of the time as my quad core with 4GB never has any processor/memory response hiccups but a few apps are just better on XP (unfortunately); e.g. can not make the jump to Open Office.

Vincent Andres replies:

1/ Any browser with 20 tabs open is something really heavy (this may well be the main bottleneck). And some "tabs" are very heavy.
2/ Depending on what you do with your IB screen(s), it may also be heavy because of the Internet data refresh.
3/ Data import

As for the dual screen, but I would be surprised if it's 100% managed by the video card.

We probably have all more or less similar tasks. My choice has been to split my main tasks onto several computers. So the computer on which I do my main work (where I'm sitting the most): Open Office + R for little studies + Firefox + email + etc. It's separated from other computers used for the other tasks.

Keep in mind that, although the processor speed is always the highlighted number, our jobs go through a long chain (HDD, RAM, etc.), and all pieces are not always accordingly fast. And also that the more opened tasks, the more interrupts to the processor.

Bruno Ombreux adds:

I found that the biggest bottleneck on my machine was the ZoneAlarm firewall and antivirus suite.

I got rid of this horrible piece of bloated junk. It has been replaced by a hardware firewall and an antivirus that is light on ressources yet efficient: Avira.

A DSL router acts as an impregnable firewall, is very cheap and doesn't use any computer ressources since it is sitting outside. If one absolutely wants a software firewall, Comodo is much better than ZoneAlarm. It is free and light.

Another thing to get rid of is Windows auto-update. This can slow the machine.

Jeff Rollert remarks:

I have found putting all communication (e-mail/IM programs, browsing) on a single machine makes crashes far less likely and speeds things quite a bit.  I also use Outlook 2007 (a pig) and Firefox (with so many tabs open I can't count them).

I will also keep Firefox windows open by subject, with tabs like chapters.  Doesn't help speed, but it does help organize thoughts.


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