Re: [NTLK] OT mini slow down was RE:Test

From: Andrei Chichak <>
Date: Tue Sep 18 2007 - 16:27:44 EDT

At 09:06 AM 9/18/2007, you wrote:
>I still have in my spare parts bucket...still in it's original Radio
>Shack packaging a 4kb Dram chip. The price tag on it shows $5.95.

When I started in Computing Science back in '78, the computer at the
Uni was able to address a total of 16 Megabytes of memory. We had 400
concurrent users. From Byte magazine, 1 Megabyte cost the equivalent
of a house at the time, about $125,000.

By '85 I remember going to San Francisco for a holiday and spending
over $300 for two Megabytes (64 pieces of 256K*1) of DRAM so I could
take my 10MHz 286 above the base 640K and have a total of almost 3MB.
So about $125/MB or three orders of magnitude in 7 years.

Around '92 we were paying $70/Megabyte because a resin factory burnt
down and there was a spike in the prices. 7 years, price drops by half.

Now cheap commodity memory is about $40/GB or 4 cents per megabyte.
15 years, three orders of magnitude. The computer in my lap has more
RAM than the original mainframe had disk space and has more computing
capability for a single user.

So, if you can't afford the memory to make your computer faster a)
live with it being slow because you don't have the money or b) wait
for the next price drop.

On the other hand to figure out why a system is slow you could fire
up a terminal session, run top and take a look at the memory and swap
space statistics to see if you actually have memory pressure. It
could be that you are short of swap space, some process is hogging
the processor, you don't have a dedicated swap partition, your swap
partition is formatted instead of raw, one process is hogging real or
virtual memory, virtual memory could be turned off, you may be having
disk pressure, you could have disk fragmentation, your free list
could be polluted with small blocks, you could be throwing system
errors, you could have a piece of flakey memory that has been
disabled, you could have cron jobs firing up at the wrong times, you
could have extra crap in your PATH variable, someone could be using
your system as a quake server, one of your applications could be
calling home to see if there are any updates, your database accesses
could be single threaded, you could have some trivial device
generating thousands of interrupts per second, someone may have
entered a command one character wrong and done a backup to disk
rather than tape filling your disk, you could have a babbling device
on your network, a cable may have turned green causing excessive comm
errors, you could be running a program in emulation rather than
native, your RAID array could be damaged and it is correcting around
a hole, or your system could be delivering mail asking to be my friend.

Why is your system slow? Because it's trying to tell you something.



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Received on Tue Sep 18 17:40:50 2007

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