optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

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ginahoy
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optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#1 Post by ginahoy » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:01 am

My wife has a T42p that she uses exclusively for browsing. It's running 32-bit XP with Firefox 52. Lately the browser tends to get bogged down unless she frequently closes and reloads to clear the memory. I've seen memory usage climb above 1GB (!!) with certain websites when multiple browser tabs are open. Until I can buy a new laptop later this year, I'm considering installing Linux Mint Xfce to improve browsing performance. I have questions:

Will a lightweight OS such as Linux Xfce perform better than XP on such an old machine?

Is there a lighter-weight browser that would do a better job of managing memory when browsing 'heavy' sites? I already use NoScript to block unnecessary scripts.

I have a Pentium M 765 CPU I plan to install. Adding more RAM would also help, but it already has 2GB. Is that the max?

Thx

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#2 Post by kfzhu1229 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:12 am

2gb is the max for this machine.
and you do NOT have to rage when the RAM usage goes above 1gb! I use Windows 10 x86 on my t43p with 2gb of RAM and it always goes over 1gb but i see zero slowdowns that i feel like can be solved with extra ram. Even in windows its when you use over 1.5/2gb that you may start to see slowdowns. Now lower your expectations and everything will be fine.
For most of us folks here Windows XP is the preferred choice for T4x. Folks who would want every single bit out of this computer goes for Windows 2k or Linux. Then there is the other end of the spectrum where I am who pushes the computer to Windows 7 (I push my T43p to even Windows 10!)
I suggest you to get some time, get a blank hard drive, sit in front of the T42p and try all appropriate distributions of Linux, W2k, xp and 7 (or 9x and NT 4.0 too if that's your thing) and see which one you like the most, since everyone has a different opinion here and what we say may not fit you the best.
good luck
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#3 Post by dr_st » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:04 am

ginahoy wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:01 am
Is there a lighter-weight browser that would do a better job of managing memory when browsing 'heavy' sites? I already use NoScript to block unnecessary scripts.
You should also use an Ad Blocker and (possibly) a Flash Blocker.

As kfzhu1229 said, it is quite possible (I'd say even probable) that the slowdowns are not caused by memory at all. The single-core CPU on these systems is already barely adequate for the modern web. I also second his suggestion about experimenting with a few operating systems before deciding on one of them.
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#4 Post by Dekks » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:21 am

Modern JS libraries on websites nowadays are compiled for multicore and cant handle single core very well, if she wants "good" browsing go to a T61 or newer.
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#5 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:25 pm

ginahoy wrote:My wife has a T42p that she uses exclusively for browsing. It's running 32-bit XP with Firefox 52. Lately the browser tends to get bogged down unless she frequently closes and reloads to clear the memory. I've seen memory usage climb above 1GB (!!) with certain websites when multiple browser tabs are open. Until I can buy a new laptop later this year, I'm considering installing Linux Mint Xfce to improve browsing performance. I have questions:

Will a lightweight OS such as Linux Xfce perform better than XP on such an old machine?

Is there a lighter-weight browser that would do a better job of managing memory when browsing 'heavy' sites? I already use NoScript to block unnecessary scripts.

I have a Pentium M 765 CPU I plan to install. Adding more RAM would also help, but it already has 2GB. Is that the max?

Thx
Personally I would recommend a FrankenPad. I tried browsing on a T42, and call it hell. A W700 is a perfectly useable machine, especially with a C2Q. Anything pre-penryn is unusable.
The only acceptable use for a MacBook is to shop for a Thinkpad.

There's too many TouchPads. Too many MacBooks. Making too many problems. And not much nubs to go round. Can't you see this is the Land of Confusion.

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#6 Post by Dekks » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:38 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:25 pm
Anything pre-penryn is unusable.
any dual core is fine.
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#7 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:44 pm

Dekks wrote:
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:25 pm
Anything pre-penryn is unusable.
any dual core is fine.
My habits a bit more demanding then the average joe. My main computer runs a 8 core i7-5820K, and I use every bit of it.

A post-pentium will probably do fine upon reconsideration(except core solo)
The only acceptable use for a MacBook is to shop for a Thinkpad.

There's too many TouchPads. Too many MacBooks. Making too many problems. And not much nubs to go round. Can't you see this is the Land of Confusion.

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#8 Post by kfzhu1229 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:30 am

As of 2017, I personally use my maxed out ThinkPad T43p for portable use all the time and I like the screen and stuff and it also brings me the memory and trust I have with it after using it for around 7-8 years. Yea it may be a bit slow under Windows 10 x86 and 2GB RAM, I would say it is nothing unusable in my opinion. Then I also have a T530i for some portable heavy stuff (though the LCD sucks very much). The desktop I have for stuff that my T43p wouldn't handle such as video editing is Dell OptiPlex 755 with Xeon X3363, 8GB RAM, Kingston 120GB SSD and NVidia GT 730 1GB DDR5 V2 which is cheap but gets its job done.
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#9 Post by ginahoy » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:36 am

Thanks for quick replies. Lot's of input to consider.

To kfzhu's point, I don't think this is a matter of lowering expectations. I run XP on my desktop, which has a old but more powerful CPU than the T42p (dual core AMD Opteron 185 @ 2.6Ghz, 2GB RAM) and I'm experiencing the same problems browsing certain websites. It's intolerable. Yesterday I was on tripadvisor looking for accommodations. They've redesigned the site recently and it's locking up Firefox for 10's of seconds every time I change search criteria or open a tab for an individual hotel. Browsing Netflix streaming section is just as bad. When I first open the page "Watch Instantly" link (to browse streaming titles, not watch), the browser freezes for probably 20 or 30 seconds.

As long as I don't have one of the 'heavy' sites open, browsing remains fairly snappy on both computers. I can open multiple websites in tabs and switch between tabs almost instantly. My comment about memory creep was based on my observation that when a heavy site starts locking up the browser, memory usage is always well in excess of 1GB. BTW, we both have Firefox 51 with AdblockPlus and NoScript. Also, I've optimzed my system by unloading all but essential processes (typically only 18 processes running after boot=up).

I did some testing today by unloading addons one-by-one (I have a lot more FF addons than my wife's laptop). Turns out only one addon made a discernible difference on the sites like tripadvisor that freeze Firefox in fits-and-starts, and that's NoScript. When I unload NS, browsing @ Netflix and tripadvisor improves dramatically. Hmm... I searched the NS forum and found this thread: https://forums.informaction.com/viewtop ... =7&t=22881. Although the OP is about a different site, several contributors mentioned tripadvisor freezing up FF when NS is running. Seems there's an XSS filtering issue that affects certain sites. I'll forego the details since this is getting a bit off-topic.

Anyway, my question regarding T42p RAM limit was answered, and I can see there's a variety of opinions here as to whether a lightweight Linux distro would perform better than XP on the T42p. I do have a spare T42p HDD (60 gigs, 7200 RPM) I can experiment with. And I found an in-depth thread in the Mint forum with opinions alternatives to Firefox for Linux, although it turns out FF is apparently not the immediate problem that led to my post.

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#10 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:20 am

Have a look at Firemin: https://www.rizonesoft.com/downloads/firemin/
Greatly reduces memory use on FF and its derivatives.
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#11 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:33 am

Also try K-Meleon. Extremely lightweight.

Also allows you to disable intensive web parts like Flash and JS on the spot.
The only acceptable use for a MacBook is to shop for a Thinkpad.

There's too many TouchPads. Too many MacBooks. Making too many problems. And not much nubs to go round. Can't you see this is the Land of Confusion.

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#12 Post by Dekks » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:03 am

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:44 pm
My habits a bit more demanding then the average joe. My main computer runs a 8 core i7-5820K, and I use every bit of it.
Which is a rarity in a T42p
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#13 Post by kfzhu1229 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:59 pm

ginahoy wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:36 am
To kfzhu's point, I don't think this is a matter of lowering expectations. I run XP on my desktop, which has a old but more powerful CPU than the T42p (dual core AMD Opteron 185 @ 2.6Ghz, 2GB RAM) and I'm experiencing the same problems browsing certain websites. It's intolerable. Yesterday I was on tripadvisor looking for accommodations. They've redesigned the site recently and it's locking up Firefox for 10's of seconds every time I change search criteria or open a tab for an individual hotel. Browsing Netflix streaming section is just as bad. When I first open the page "Watch Instantly" link (to browse streaming titles, not watch), the browser freezes for probably 20 or 30 seconds.
Netflix never worked for me even in 144p. but youtube works with ease in 720p here.
as for tripadvisor, just sit there and wait for 10 seconds then it works just fine, at least that's the experience of me under Microsoft edge. Moreover to my experience, that lockup only appears the first time I fire it up. You arent gonna expect something this age to perform like a 22 core Xeon. Thanks to Windows 10 and FireGL V3200, scrolling through tripadvisor has no lag too under UXGA.
Sure I'm using a T43p instead of a T42p but that GPU difference is minimal that it's debatable which one is better.
My opinion is just to be patient for everything, they will all work fine.
Patience, boys. All good things to those who wait. – Mother Gothel (Tangled)
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2xT43 14.1" 2.26 SXGA+ 2gb 1*fp W10
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Flexview UXGA:
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#14 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:19 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
ginahoy wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:36 am
To kfzhu's point, I don't think this is a matter of lowering expectations. I run XP on my desktop, which has a old but more powerful CPU than the T42p (dual core AMD Opteron 185 @ 2.6Ghz, 2GB RAM) and I'm experiencing the same problems browsing certain websites. It's intolerable. Yesterday I was on tripadvisor looking for accommodations. They've redesigned the site recently and it's locking up Firefox for 10's of seconds every time I change search criteria or open a tab for an individual hotel. Browsing Netflix streaming section is just as bad. When I first open the page "Watch Instantly" link (to browse streaming titles, not watch), the browser freezes for probably 20 or 30 seconds.
Netflix never worked for me even in 144p. but youtube works with ease in 720p here.
as for tripadvisor, just sit there and wait for 10 seconds then it works just fine, at least that's the experience of me under Microsoft edge. Moreover to my experience, that lockup only appears the first time I fire it up. You arent gonna expect something this age to perform like a 22 core Xeon. Thanks to Windows 10 and FireGL V3200, scrolling through tripadvisor has no lag too under UXGA.
Sure I'm using a T43p instead of a T42p but that GPU difference is minimal that it's debatable which one is better.
My opinion is just to be patient for everything, they will all work fine.
Theres more than that, Banias is still faster than older versions. The difference from T40 to T42 is huge, also DDR to DDR2 will allow the CPU to mot bottleneck on RAM speed. T42 with youtube is 15fps but T43 works fine.
The only acceptable use for a MacBook is to shop for a Thinkpad.

There's too many TouchPads. Too many MacBooks. Making too many problems. And not much nubs to go round. Can't you see this is the Land of Confusion.

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#15 Post by ginahoy » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:02 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:59 pm
Netflix never worked for me even in 144p.
I wasn't talking about streaming, but just browsing titles on the streaming site. Streaming NF on these old systems has been problematic since Silverlight updates ended for XP.
My opinion is just to be patient for everything, they will all work fine.
As I said in my previous post, I discovered yesterday that a new bug or incompatibility in NoScript is causing the browser freeze-ups on NF, tripadvisor and a few other heavy sites I visit. When I unload NS, the aforementioned sites return to normal.

This thread has been helpful. No further replies necessary. Thanks.

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#16 Post by sdfox7 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:52 am

ginahoy wrote:
Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:02 pm
Streaming NF on these old systems has been problematic since Silverlight updates ended for XP.

This thread has been helpful. No further replies necessary. Thanks.
I know you said no further replies are necessary, but I wanted to point out that Silverlight updates have NOT ended for XP. The most recent version is 5.1.50907 released June 13, 2017.

If you cannot access it from Automatic Updates you can get it from this Microsoft link:

https://www.microsoft.com/getsilverligh ... ll/Default

Also, my XP installation has Chrome 49.0.2623.112 (the last for XP) and Firefox ESR 52, and both use HTML5, so I have never had issues watching Netflix.
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#17 Post by ginahoy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:47 am

Thanks for responding. I'm currently running Silverlight 5.1.30514.0. I can view Netflix streaming on my system but I often get an error message: "Whoops, something went wrong, Error N8202" (connection issue). It usually works on first retry. It's possible this is because Firefox has blocked Silverlight 5.1.4115 and prior, although the "Ask to Activate" option is still supported for those of us who can't upgrade. When I play a Netflix movie, for reasons unknown, there's no "Allow?" banner prompt. I'm guessing that's why the player doesn't work on first attempt. However, for reasons I can't explain, a retry accomplishes the same thing as clicking the Allow button, had it been displayed.

I visited the Silverlight web page you linked a couple of years ago, and like now, XP is no longer listed on System Requirements tab. This page simply confirms which version is installed on my system, providing no option to upgrade. Note that when when I click the "Update Now" link on the Firefox/Plugins/Silverlight page, it takes me to a Blocked Addon page (https://blocked.cdn.mozilla.net/p1120.html) and has done so for several years. Check out the "View block request" link at the bottom of the Blocked Addon page, which redirects to bugzilla. The last comment on that page seems to explain why the MS Silveright page doesn't push an upgrade to my system. I'm running XP SP3, 32-bit, and according to that comment, 30514 is the last build for my OS. If you think 5.1.50907 will indeed run on my system, I'd sure like to know how to access that version.

As for HTML5... to be honest, video coding is slightly above my pay grade. I frequently experience problems playing embedded videos in general and feel like I've fallen into a rabbit hole every time I attempt to research / troubleshoot. If there's an embedded video that won't play that I need to see, I grab a tablet that runs Win8.1 (which I otherwise detest).

I see you're running a slightly more recent version of FF (I reverted to FF51 due to changes to how stored logins work in v52). I just did a quick search and found a press release where Netflix announced in December 2015 that its HTML5 player would start shipping with FF. This was well before either v51 or v52 was released. Maybe all I need to do is uninstall Silverlight? Thanks for prompting me to take another dive into the rabbit hole :wink:

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#18 Post by sdfox7 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:37 pm

I believe the reason XP is no longer listed under system requirements is because Microsoft doesn't want to field calls from people with XP since they no longer "support" it. However, all releases of Silverlight 5 DO work on XP, since the very first release way back in 2011:

https://www.microsoft.com/getsilverligh ... istory.htm

However, other Microsoft software such as Office 2010 still receives updates under XP.

I am not sure why Silverlight is blocked in your Firefox, and I don't have a ton of time to research right now. I just wanted to reply with what I see right now. It certainly works in my Firefox ESR 52.3.0: see (image warning) here, here, here, and here.

Who doesn't love Jimmy Smits? :lol:

You can get the plug-in directly from my XP end of life directory, it's where I store the most up to date releases of popular software for XP:

Silverlight 5.1.50907 was digitally signed on May 4:

http://sdfox7.com/xp/sp3/EOL/Silverlight5.1.50907.exe

I want to note that Chrome 49 automatically uses HTML5.
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#19 Post by ginahoy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:29 pm

The reason older Silverlight versions are blocked is discussed in the bugzilla thread linked at the bottom of the Blocked Addon page. Versions above 5.1.41105 are not blocked.

I was able to install your version of Silverlight (thanks!), so it's no longer blocked and the "Always Activate" option is back, as well as the Ask to Activate icon. Oddly, this didn't resolve the N8202 error, so my theory about missing "Ask to Activate" message was not correct.

I tried disabling Silverlight, expecting FF to use the Netflix HTML5 player as noted in my previous message, but this just triggers the "Silverlight required" warning. Sigh. Since this is a FF issue, I should take this to the FF forum. As I said, chasing down video compatibility issues with XP always seem to turn into a rabbit hole.

Thanks again for latest version of Silverlight!

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#20 Post by Dekks » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:43 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:44 pm
My habits a bit more demanding then the average joe.
How demanding for example and would you expect a T42 to compete with a 8 core.
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#21 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:58 pm

Dekks wrote:
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:44 pm
My habits a bit more demanding then the average joe.
How demanding for example and would you expect a T42 to compete with a 8 core.
A T42 wont compare to an 8 core anyday unless its clocked at 120Mhz.

Why can an RPI at 700mhz play netflix and youtube fine but a P4 which is 10 times faster cant do junk.

Hold on, let me make a T42 supercomputer out of 16 of them. That should compete!
The only acceptable use for a MacBook is to shop for a Thinkpad.

There's too many TouchPads. Too many MacBooks. Making too many problems. And not much nubs to go round. Can't you see this is the Land of Confusion.

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#22 Post by Dekks » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:38 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:58 pm
Why can an RPI at 700mhz play netflix and youtube fine but a P4 which is 10 times faster cant do junk.
15years of progress in semiconductor/CPU design
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#23 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:02 pm

Dekks wrote:
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:58 pm
Why can an RPI at 700mhz play netflix and youtube fine but a P4 which is 10 times faster cant do junk.
15years of progress in semiconductor/CPU design
Cant forget software optimamiztion. The RPI was relased 5 years after porgrammers got used to programminy on phine hardware, and with a big market, it was easy to sell programmers. For the few thousand left still hanging on to their P4s, there isnt too much reason to make a ultra efficent browser
The only acceptable use for a MacBook is to shop for a Thinkpad.

There's too many TouchPads. Too many MacBooks. Making too many problems. And not much nubs to go round. Can't you see this is the Land of Confusion.

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#24 Post by ginahoy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:27 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:02 pm
For the few thousand left still hanging on to their P4s, there isnt too much reason to make a ultra efficent browser
Hmm... are you saying when I finish assembling my new 7700K-with-32GB-DDR4-machine, I won't have to put up with oh-so-sluggish browser performance any longer? 8)

BTW, I installed Firemin, as recommended in an earlier comment by RealBlackStuff. So far it's working like a charm. Doesn't completely eliminate FF lockups but it solves cumulative memory hogging. Thanks!

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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#25 Post by sdfox7 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:33 am

ginahoy wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:29 pm
The reason older Silverlight versions are blocked is discussed in the bugzilla thread linked at the bottom of the Blocked Addon page. Versions above 5.1.41105 are not blocked.

I was able to install your version of Silverlight (thanks!), so it's no longer blocked and the "Always Activate" option is back, as well as the Ask to Activate icon. Oddly, this didn't resolve the N8202 error, so my theory about missing "Ask to Activate" message was not correct.

I tried disabling Silverlight, expecting FF to use the Netflix HTML5 player as noted in my previous message, but this just triggers the "Silverlight required" warning. Sigh. Since this is a FF issue, I should take this to the FF forum. As I said, chasing down video compatibility issues with XP always seem to turn into a rabbit hole.

Thanks again for latest version of Silverlight!
I just disabled Silverlight in Firefox and was also prompted to install Silverlight. This is a change from what I previously experienced. So it appears that Firefox does not always default to HTML5. I never noticed this, it's possibly due to the fact that Chrome is usually my preferred browser.

Silverlight end of life isn't until 2021, so it will still be around for a while.
IBM ThinkPad T41 2373-7FU (Pentium M 1.6GHz, 1GB RAM, Windows XP Professional)
My name is Stephen Fox. I am a '18 BBA and '20 MBA student at WCSU.
Disable Google Chrome End of Support Infobar on Windows XP/Vista

Dekks
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#26 Post by Dekks » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:27 pm

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:02 pm
Cant forget software optimamiztion. The RPI was relased 5 years after porgrammers got used to programminy on phine hardware, and with a big market, it was easy to sell programmers. For the few thousand left still hanging on to their P4s, there isnt too much reason to make a ultra efficent browser
Yes compilers/"script" lanuages have improved too thou most programmers are clueless how to optimise them and pick the wrong language for the job. For the P4/Pentium M heretics there is gentoo ;) i compiled gentoo aggressively optimised for Dothan Pent-M this march and was surprised that the speed gain was noticeable on the X32.
Home Win10/i5 Arch//Openbox R61//GNOME 3 X201i/X230 Tablet //Spectrwm T61/X61/X61 Debian 9/X32
Work - Win7/X220T BunsenLabs/Debian 9 T43
Retired T60p/T60/X30/X31/X61S RIP T400/T21/X61T/X200T

sdfox7
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Location: Danbury, CT

Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#27 Post by sdfox7 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:59 pm

@ginahoy

Two things that come to mind are:

1) I believe your Opteron processor only has a 1MB L2 cache vs the Pentium M's 2MB. L2 can make a difference in a lot of situations, although I'm not certain it is causing your issues. That processor also uses a massive 110W TDP compared to a Pentium M's 21W TDP. Your electric bill be HOT :eek:

2) What speed (RPM) HDD are you using? Going from 5400 to 7200 would be big, and going from 4200 to 7200 would be huge.

Your Opteron is several years newer than mine; yet I don't experience any lag.
IBM ThinkPad T41 2373-7FU (Pentium M 1.6GHz, 1GB RAM, Windows XP Professional)
My name is Stephen Fox. I am a '18 BBA and '20 MBA student at WCSU.
Disable Google Chrome End of Support Infobar on Windows XP/Vista

brchan
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#28 Post by brchan » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:13 pm

I honestly would just get a newer machine. An upper end T60 is the minimum you can get by while still doing real work.

If you are really set on using your T42p and can deal without using JS and flash, the Dillo browser for windows or linux is extremely fast. Even my 770 from 1997 managed to load web pages quickly.
Current Thinkpads: W530 (functional classic keyboard mod), X301, T61, T60, T43, A31p, T23, 600X, 770
Other: mk5 Toughbook cf-19, mk1 Toughbook cf-53

ginahoy
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Re: optimzing a T42p for today's browsing demands

#29 Post by ginahoy » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:08 pm

@Stephen, I already have a 7200 HDD. My 185 Opteron has 2MB L2. At the time I built the machine (2008), I was limited to socket 939 for reasons I won't bore you with. All 939 Athlon/Opteron CPU's with 2MB L2 (with one exception) were rated at 110W so there wasn't a lot choice in terms of TDP. As I recall, there was one Athlon X2 4400+ listed on the Wikipedia Athlon page that was rated at 89W but apparently it was never produced. In any case, I use SpeedFan to regulate CPU temp and I have the fan set to operate near-silent up to 45C. It rarely exceeds that so it's not drawing anywhere close to 110W. In fact, typical consumption for the system including display is less than that (I have a watt-hour monitor).

@Brchan, as I mentioned in the OP, I do intend to get a new laptop, but it has to wait until the end of the year. The reason for my question was to see what I can do in the mean time to improve performance. I'm going to install Firemin (it's helped on my system), and install the M765 I scavenged from her previous T42. I may also try one of the lightweight browsers mentioned in previous comments.

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