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Speedtested an old computer


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A few days ago I booted up a computer built 1999, which is now 15 years old. It has 160 MB of RAM and a 400 MHz CPU. It is running Windows 98SE with unofficial SP3. I play classic DOS games on the computer, with smooth VESA video modes and sound, like these games are meant to be played. Of course the computer has a network connection, because only Google provides all the answers these days.

I was quite surprised with the internet speeds the computer was able to pull.


The speed was actually around 18 MBit, as shown by the loading indicator on my status bar, which was completed when the HTML progress bar was only midway. OOKLA Flash started, but speed test was pathetic due to insufficient memory.

I had optimized the system with TCP Optimizer.

Evidently Win98 does support Receive Window Scaling, but for some reason it was still off by default in WinXP. So there is much room for tweaking in all these systems.

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I was wrong about the speed being near 20 MBit/s in this particular test. That was from the EU site. Since the test was not accurate, and was limited by the CPU, I went to the further Dallas, TX, where the speed was, as reported, 10 MBit/s.

I have Opera 10.63 and Flash installed. The user agent version is printed below the speed graph I linked.

I heard reports of people using Opera 11 with KernelEx. There are only a few differences between these versions (development of Opera had stalled already), and I am sticking to the known good 10.63. With it I was unable to conduct an upload test, because the page didn't switch to uploading the buffered random data. Version 12 works fine. The browser is working with modern sluggish web forums (like the present one) and Dropbox.

The performance of this browser is 2 to 3 times slower than modern Firefox or Chromium. If the browser is busy drawing webpage UI (like the progress bar), then speed will be lower. Otherwise download and upload speed is proportional to system TCP settings. Built in content filter (ad-block) can be used to remove slow executing scripts.

The browser has a unique feature for monitoring download and upload progress on the status bar, independently of any controls provided by the webpage author. This works with normal "in browser" file transfers like TestMy uses.


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I love this thread !


I've used a L600r with 512MB RAM P3-600Mhz 100Mhz FSB for several years, running the latest FreeBSD -nogui strictly used for cisco switch administration. It's lightening fast and secure, living on a subnet not associated with any other local network. 


You can use these older machines for a plethora of things, including file servers, local git repo, firewalls, ect...


Not sure about throughput though,  I can't imagine it would be all that great. 10GB HDD w/ 10/100 card, it might though. 


Either way, kudos to you for using 'old' hardware and getting great use out of it :)

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