I just purchased an Acer Extensa(model # 5230E-2177)laptop to replace my daughter's Dell Dimension desktop (2400 series). I just noticed that they both have intel celeron processors. Does this mean her new laptop will be as slow as her 7 year old desktop?
FYI, the CPU is often not the slowest part in a system. For general use it's usually the hard drive. In a year or two, consider getting an SSD.
Even an ATOM CPU which is really slow can often be adequate but it gets bogged down during HD Video, Antivirus scanning and other things.
You can monitor your CPU by using the Task Manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL). It has options to change how often it samples and it can HIDE when minimized. Anyway, leave it running in the background then try doing certain things and see if it ever gets maxed out.
Try running HD video (such as a 1080p video).
Some video pointers:
1) Quicktime doesn't run as efficiently as WMP and other video players.
2) If you watch videos, try getting the K-Lite Codec Pack (STANDARD) www.free-codecs.com (and use the included WMP player)
3) you likely have a Intel video chip, but if you have NVidia or ATI you may be able to more efficiently decode video using K-Lite (check DXVA for AVC/H.264 and for VC1)
That Celeron 900 is basically a single core Core 2 Duo. Penrym-3M design, 35W, 45nm tech, 800MHz FSB. It will be noticeably slow when running multiple apps. I snagged a T4300 Pentium Dual-Core CPU off eBay for $40 or so. It has made a noticeable difference due to a second core being available. It took me less than 10 minutes to swap processors. I didn't even add more thermal paste, just scraped the paste on the heatsink into a small cone and put it back on. Minimal temperature differences. Cold idle is actually cooler. I would highly recommend anyone who buys one of these Celeron 900-GL40 laptops go get a T3000, T3100, T4200, or T4300 dual-core processor and do the swap. The chips are cheap because they are low-end, and they can make a huge difference in an otherwise unexceptional machine.
My next project, an eMachines D620 with an Athlon 2650e single core, AM2 socket. Tiny plain laptop running Vista Home Basic. I intend to get a dual-core low-power AM2 processor and swap it in. Candidates include the 4050e, 4450e, and 4850e. 5050e seems to run too hot. 4850e also but I can undervolt it. 4450e is the chip I want most, *IF* I can find one cheaply. I traded a clean running Acer Aspire 5920G with a T5450 for this thing, so I need to do SOMETHING with it. Did it as a favor for a friend who doesn't know jack about computers. And I think I can make the D620 a decent portable machine. The Acer 5230E-2177 laptop I have and am posting from now is being used as a desktop with a 19" LCD, speakers, keyboard, and mouse. I probably won't ever take it out of its little cubbyhole under my desk. The eMachines is smaller, and lighter, which will make it a better portable machine anyway. Maybe I can find a way to put 7 Home Premium on it so it runs even better.