The effect of processing speed on Internet access and multimedia

Question:
I teach an Internet class to middle school students. Mycomputers only have 33 MHz processors and no multimedia capabilities. Howmuch effect is the processing speed having on my Internet access? Even if Iupgrade memory and add sound cards and so forth, won’t I still have acomputer that is too slow for multimedia production and reasonable Internetaccess?

Answer:
Depends on what you mean by “multimedia production” and “Internet access.”

To access much of the Internet, all you need is an old Apple II,a DOS clunker or closet-bound Amiga. This gives you non-graphicalbrowsing of the Web (via telnet and Lynx) as well as services suchas ftp, Gopher, Usenet, e-mail, etc. The limiting speed is notthe speed of your computer, but of your communication link.

To browse the Web in a graphical fashion, the browsing softwareis becoming greedier by the month. You need at least a slow 486(33 MHz). This will work for pages that have text, graphicsand even some Java applets. Again, the limiting factor is thespeed of your communication link.

To browse the Web with multimedia, you need a modern PC withsound card, SuperVGA, and at least 8 MB RAM, preferably 16.These are around $1,500 in mass-market stores.

To produce multimedia at a professional level, you needlots of RAM and disk space, and even then it’s not enough.A professional will spend around $10,000 on the bleeding-edge,top of the line machine, which will be obsolete in aboutsix months.

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