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Why is a Pentium 1 faster than Pentium 3 online?

By moriarty ยท 7 replies
Feb 12, 2008
  1. Please don't laugh, but I am still using a Pentium 1 (233MMX) machine as my main everyday computer (running Win98SE). I have made several attempts to upgrade to P2 and P3 over the years, but each time I have had to go back, because the P1 always seemed much faster online (dial-up), even when the upgrade was to a machine running identical software and the same external modem.

    The P1 is rapidly dying, and less and less of its software is working, so I have set up a Pentium 3 with Win 2000 Pro and all software installed. I did careful tests this time, checking download speeds on zip and jpg files (to check actual speed) and large html-only files (to check compression), and found the Pentium 3 to be as good as, or a bit faster than the P1.

    I made the change-over yesterday, but as soon as I go to eBay pages, for example, it is "watching paint dry" time! In every test (clearing the cache between each one) the P3 is 25% to 95% SLOWER than the old machine. I've checked and double-checked that all relevant settings are the same, and tried every tweak I can find, but no matter what I do, the old machine is ALWAYS faster on real-world web pages. My browser is SeaMonkey on both machines, though on previous attempted upgrades it would have been Internet Explorer.

    This makes absolutely no sense to me, but unless I can find out what the problem is, I am just going to have to stick to the Pentium 1, for online use at least. Can anyone suggest a rational explanation?
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    The Internet speed is not governed by your computer
    It is changed only by the Modem connection and your Server.

    I suspect the differences were due to the newer system caching more in system bios (or in Windows) this copying process may quicken (or slow down) your Internet pages from displaying.

    Also you cannot get a true reading, as both computers are too different.
    There could be lots of other reasons (Firewall; Antivirus the list goes on)

    By the way lots of Linux servers (firewall) use P1
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    How much RAM is in these computers?

    Have you tried Win98SE on the Pentium 3? 2000 is a lot heavier than 98 and it is optimised for corporate anvironments (read: LAN) as opposed to 98 that is for home users (read: dialup). Also, are the browser and plugin versions identical? Newer browsers and plugins are havier than older versions.

    You might want to read some dialup tweaking guides too..
  4. moriarty

    moriarty TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Thanks for your replies - I've been offline all day and didn't expect a response so soon!

    I admit I didn't really think the CPU could have any effect, but I cannot understand why, with identical settings, the newer machine could be so much slower. I measured all times accurate to the second, and the Pentium 3 machine was always much worse. Why is it faster on tests with compressed files and html-only, but slower on web pages? The only fundamental differences I can see, particularly with eBay pages, are: 1) the presence of javascripts, and 2) the fact that various components of the page are often on different servers.

    I use Agnitum Outpost firewall, and there is one minor difference I can see here. In the "Allowed" log under "Allow DNS Resolving" the Win98SE machine gives the URL of the Remote Host numerically, whereas the Win 2000 machine shows it as text (I can't remember the correct terminology!), but I'm sure this must be a red herring.

    I swapped some RAM from the P1 machine to the P3 when I attempted to change machines. The P1/Win98 currently has 96M (down from 192M but this hasn't affected online speed) and the P3/Win2000 has 256M. Apart from the operating systems, all the other software is identical. One of my previous attempted upgrades was to a P3 with Win98SE, which I abandoned for the same reasons, though it was a long while ago and I can't be sure my comparisons were as accurate. I've checked through the article on this site on setting up a modem in Win 2000, the modem in question being an external US Robotics Sportster Flash V90.

    There must surely be something I can do to improve matters. The P3 machine really is painful to use online, and the P1 is painful offline! Running both for separate functions would get far too complicated.
  5. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    W2K has a diff reg setup then 98
    as stated you need to tweak it to get better web speeds
    it could be poorly written drivers for your modem more tweaks here
    try firefox may work better
    Internet browsing has advanced with the need for faster machines or is that the other way around??another way to get consumers to buy better machines ahya what

    good luck
  6. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,426   +112

    PIII has that Intel SpeedStep technoloy which was a bad idea make the systems slower but save battery though. I have PII 266MHz Intel CPU with 512KB L2 cache and 256MB of SDRAM running a wireless Belkin G54 and Windows XP Pro SP1. Internet on that is pretty quick. The secert is I replaced the HDD from a slow poke 6GB Toshia to 40GB Hitache 7200rpms.

    PIII, P4, Centrono laptops pretty much run at 800MHz speeds when not plugin to AC power.Even though the CPU is rated at 1GHz to 2GHz it's always going to be slower. AMD does the same thing but they have a tool that can push the power back to the GHz level and over some too. AMD Power.
  7. moriarty

    moriarty TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Thanks everyone for all the input. It looks as though there is no simple answer to my problem!

    I have been experimenting with an old internal ISA Rockwell ACF modem on the P3, and getting somewhat better results. It is still slower than the older machine, but only, on average, by about 10%, so I guess I can live with that for the sake of faster off-line speed. I'll have to look around and see if there are any tweaks that might be of benefit, but I've never found that messing about with MTU settings, and the like, does any good, and have always ended up going back to default settings.
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,426   +112

    Tweaks are on MTU for the dial-up is 56 and DSL 1492 and Cable/LAN 1500
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