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Maes

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    Here's an old post I made on the subject,

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  1. I often get asked by people who seek to upgrade their PC that they need a PC "just for browsing and e-mail". Now, if this was 1996 or even 2000, that would indeed be a trivial requirement. Browsing? Sure, it's all just pure HTML, browsed one page at a time. E-mail? Sure, it's just a dumb e-mail client.

    But today? "Browsing" can mean anything from Flash-laden site, Javascript VMs running in the background of even the most trivial sites, complex MPEG4 video decoding plugins, browsers using DirectX and OpenGL etc. E-mail? That practically means using web-based e-mail "clients" nowadays (who, outside of professionals, still uses a traditional POP/IMAP e-mail client program?). And RAM, oh THE RAM that even a trivial game of Farmville can suck up! You could fit 10 concurrent ZDaemon sessions in there.

    My point is, that browsing has evolved into a deceivingly requirements-heavy endeavour, and a "PC that's good for general-purpose Internet browsing" needs actually to be quite beefy, unless you're an atavist that still uses lynx and w3m, and PINE for e-mail. Thoughts?

    1. Show previous comments  8 more
    2. Bucket

      Bucket

      My netbook plays YT videos with no problem. Loading pages is hardly instantaneous but that shouldn't matter to someone with such low usage requirements.

    3. Maes

      Maes

      Playing back YT videos is a prime example of something that has become deceivingly resource-heavy. A Pentium @ 2.4 GHz is pretty much the bare minimum to play 240p videos seamlessly from within a browser, which is crazy if you think that with such a rig, you can seamlessly play "offline" video files of much higher resolutions, including and exceeding HD content. And yet, just a few years ago, I remember that a Pentium 4 was more than enough to play 240p videos, even within a browser. What the FUCK went wrong?

      And while you could put the blame of the craptastic performance on the sucky flash-based "video players", you would think the introduction of the HTML5 [video] tag would smooth things a bit, since each browser can now have its own, internal, super-optimized (?) player, but no, it actually even got a bit worse on average. ON such old rigs, I find the only acceptable way to watch YT videos is to use a YT downloader app and watch them on an external media player, with about 100x the performance. Seriously, WTF?!

      FWIW, I noticed that CPUs that come with large caches for their classes (e.g. older desktop AMDs vs equivalent Intels, and Centrino Intel CPUs of a given generation) are somewhat more adept at this particular task, including the dual-core Atom N570 CPU in a netbook I recently got for free (that little beast is deceivingly powerful, and capable of running 64-bit Windows 7, with upgraded RAM).

    4. RestlessRodent

      RestlessRodent

      HTML5 video on my browser is slower than watching slides. If I have a current requirement of watching a YouTube video, I use youtube-dl and watch it with mplayer/VLC since that is actually fast.

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