Playing Quake 3 on the latest 486
As the weeks and months roll by, you find yourself constantly reading about the latest hardware trend - the newest devices, the fastest graphics cards, highest fidelity sound cards, speediest SCSI RAID controllers, and blazing gigabit network cards. The current processor in your system has been feeling a little "out of it" lately and you can't figure out why; it seemed pretty fast when the system first arrived.
Your hard drive's been crunching too much lately. It's making strange clanking sounds you've never heard of before. Windows has been smashing your platters a lot, swapping data between your system memory - which has become suffocated, choking away at your applications, crippling your load time and flashing you with those awful blue screens.
No need to worry, you'll just run out to your local computer dealer and pick up a new motherboard, and some DDR RAM to fix those slowdown woes. A brand new 2GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, maybe 4 Ultra160 SCSI hard drives with a SCSI RAID controller thrown in for good measure, striped of course.
You play all the latest games, so a sound card with 32 hardware 3D voices is a must to process all the sophisticated reverb and positioning effects. But when you're not climbing the latest frag ladder, your system is being used to architect the next generation of database technology. For a job like that, only a multiprocessor system will do. Multi-threading, parallel processing, double-data rate, dual channel RAM, multi-way network fabrics, optical backing and archiving, just many of the everyday jobs your ultimate workstation handles. Your computer, is the best there is, powered by the hottest components found anywhere on earth - running on 486-old technology.
That's right. As of right now, all your multi-gig hard drives, SCSI channels, giga-pumping RAM modules are blazing to the hum of 33MHz. They say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and right now, our computers are being held together by Peripheral Component Interconnect, more passionately known as PCI.
PCI is the I/O interface that connects all the expansion cards, hard drives, and optical drives to the system, and lets them communicate back and forth with each and with system memory and the processor. While it has served us well for the past decade, it's showing signs of age.