So I got an interesting e-mail tonight from a reader who's not extremely tech-savvy. He had a great question. He's running some applications that do charts and graphs, and they're written in Java. The Java apps run slow and take up 100% of CPU time sometimes, making his whole computer sluggish. Sounds to me like a classic software problem, especially with Java apps, but it raises an interesting question. He wants to upgrade for better performance overall, and he's dealing with this problem, which may or may not go away with software upgrades. If he does buy a new system, what CPU is best?

My answer was that he should look into a Pentium 4 with Hyper-Threading because its second logical processor often provides a better user experience in just this sort of scenario. Intel has made this argument in favor of Pentium 4s with HT for some time now, of course. But I can't recall making a purchase recommendation to an average user based primarily on, say, a faster bus or an SSE extension. Like I said: interesting.

In other news, I'm about to build myself a new PC. The old KT266A/Athlon XP 2100+ combo is getting a little long in the tooth. I have an absolute load of hardware around here I could potentially steal for use in my new box, but I can't decide myself what to use. That P4 Extreme Edition is just gonna sit on the shelf if I don't put it to use, right?

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