Why is my six-year-old PC faster than my work laptop?

About six years ago I built my own PC. To this day it outstrips any work machine I’ve ever had. Why is this?

The PC is nothing extraordinary. It’s built around an AMD XP2100 processor on an Asus A7S333 mobo, with 750MB of Crucial RAM, running Windows 2000. When I put it together it was screamingly fast – about as fast as a PC got then. But compared to any work machine I’ve had in the intervening years – mainly from Dell or HP – it’s still, well, screamingly fast.

I notice it particularly on searches. I try to keep my work as organised as possible but often, when working across accounts, you need to look for files according to someone else’s idiosyncratic filing system. Google Desktop is great for looking by search term, but if you need to do it by filename, well forget it. It’s sluggish in the extreme. Yet my own PC at home rifles through thousands of files in the blink of an eye.

It gets worse if you change applications. I know apps get cached and they speed up the more you use them but I can switch to a browser after doing any other work at home painlessly. So why do I have to wait for several seconds while my work machine thinks about it? Why can I load up apps like Photoshop instantly at home, but it takes a minute or two of painful loading at work?

Is it Windows XP? Is it really so bloated that higher spec machines run more slowly with it than lower spec machines running Win2K? Or is it the preference of UK companies to provide their employees with the lowest spec machines possible?

I’m seriously considering overclocking my laptop at work. At least it’d keep my lap warmer, even if for a shorter period of time.

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7 thoughts on “Why is my six-year-old PC faster than my work laptop?

  1. I am having the SAME problem. Just bought a new HP 5000+ and it can’t handle the same tasks my 2001 PC does with ease. Same situation, built it myself, dual monitors and everything. If I hadn’t ran out of plug-ins on the board I would still use it……..

  2. Searching for files could be an indexing issue. As I understand it windows keeps a database index of files on your hard disk to make searches quicker. Maybe this is enabled on your home PC but disabled on your work machines?

    As far as application switching goes it could be down to the amount of processor cache you have (typically work PCs, especially branded ones will have lower spec cacheless CPUs), the speed of your hard disk (since any windows-managed virtual memory is actually stored on the hard drive in pagefile.sys), or any number of other configuration differences.

    There are tools and tutorials around to help you speed up your PC, typically background processes are one of the first targets, but even the number of fonts you have installed and the number of icons on your desktop can affect system performance.

    Generally speaking the performance of any PC will degrade over time due to the hard disk becoming fragmented, additional programs being installed, the number of files on the disk increasing and so on. Sometimes the best thing to do is to backup your files, wipe the disk and re-install only the applications that you really need.

    Good luck!

  3. The reason your computer with Win 2000 runs faster than your other one because win 2000 doesn’t have all the visuals that the new operating systems do.When you add new technology to old you pretty much get something faster.Find a computer with xp on it and set is visuals to win 2000 look.Do what you normally do and watch the performance difference

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