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Maximizing Performance in the Green Computing Trend

With attention shifting from strictly performance to performance with energy efficiency, performance-saving measures are needed now more than ever

A recent essay called Silicon Valley’s Green Detente, posted on a site called, highlights the new trend in computing designed to assist in fighting climate change and other crucial energy issues. After warring for years over browsers, hardware and operating systems, Silicon Valley is finally uniting on a single point: IT must become more energy efficient. With energy usage now on a par of importance with performance, maintaining existing performance now becomes a paramount issue. Below are some important performance tips common to computer systems and sites large and small for use in the new “green computing” era.

1. Defragment hard drives. A primary–and extremely common–barrier to performance is disk file fragmentation, in which files are split into pieces (fragments) in order to maximize disk space. Regular defragmentation is vital and is performed at most computer sites. With today’s enormous disk capacities and file sizes, however, attention must also be paid to the defragmentation technology. Scheduled defragmentation, in most cases, can no longer keep up with ever-escalating fragmentation rates, and sites would find greater benefit from a defragmenter which runs constantly and automatically, in the background, with no impact on system resources.

2. Increase memory. Today’s operating systems and applications are, in common parlance, “resource hogs”, and they’ll take as much memory as you throw at them. Hence, it is always worthwhile and will always boost performance to increase memory to the maximum allowed for a particular machine.

3. Make sure anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are installed, running and up-to-date. Viruses and especially spyware can work insidiously, unseen inside a computer, drastically hindering performance. Of course, if not caught, viruses can do much worse than hinder performance, so it behooves everyone to insure reliable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are installed and running.

4. Reduce number of running programs. Checking over servers and especially user systems, how important is it that all those programs are running? Any running program will be chipping away at precious system resources, especially CPU and memory. It behooves computer sites to implement policies and restrictions on applications to be run, and to periodically check running applications to see how necessary they really are.

5. Install faster hard drives. Another sometimes unseen hindrance to performance is hard drive speed. Although the hard drive is still the “weakest link” in terms of speed, gaining all possible speed from drives, especially those most frequently accessed, can assist in the fight for better performance.

It of course benefits us all to contribute in the fight to global climate change by “going green” with more energy-efficient computers. While being energy efficient, you can also maximize performance by instituting these and other performance-enhancing actions.

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