Rolly polly

— 1:10 AM on June 27, 2000

Time again to wrap up our last poll and kick off a new one. Our previous poll probed the depths of the PC looking for the nastiest bottleneck. Turns out a good chunk of y'all (31%) voted like I did for our winner (or is it loser?): "Hard drive/storage." Vertias's post about the storage hierarchy on a modern computer did a nice job explaining why this one was such a popular choice. So does that grunching sound that comes outta most PCs whenever it's time to launch a program or (gack!) boot up.

However, there were quite a few dissenters, with 24% choosing "Memory" as the worst bottleneck, and another good group (17%) picking "Motherboard/chipset". (So at least 17% of our readers have Via chipsets, eh?) In light of how a PC actually works, I decided to switch sides during the week, and I'm now supporting these folks. (Kinda feels like when I voted for Perot in '92. Doh!) Yes, mass storage is slow, but with enough memory, a well-tuned system doesn't really bang on the hard drive too terribly much all the time. Memory, however, is a killer bottleneck. All these super-bad GHz processors and boffo video cards would be so much faster with really fast RAM, I just can't escape the conclusion that memory is the really serious bottleneck we've got nowadays. And the whole mobo/chipset thing goes hand in hand.

The old folks among us (a full 19%) picked "User" as the worst PC bottleneck. While this choice may be the most sound of the lot in some ways, I just can't go there with y'all.

Now I don't know whether the likes of AMD and 3dfx should be pleased that "Processor" (4%) and "Video card" (3%) barely even registered. Either these companies are going to be running themselves out of business soon, or people are just very much pleased with that they have to offer. Whatever the case, you can see the full poll results here.

Note to self: In the future, don't ask questions about the "biggest" bottleneck—bigger is better in bottlenecks.

Anyhow, this time 'round, we're asking a simple question: What do you call those socket-to-slot converter thingamijigs? It's an epic battle between two very powerful camps. (Plus Herb.) Don't let your voice go unheard.

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