When I did my last round of server and desktop deployments here at the house, I tried to set up each of my servers (Windows Server 2003) with at least 256MB of RAM and each of the desktops (Windows XP Pro) with 512MB. That may sound backwards, but I was working with what I could scrounge and frankly, the desktops in this house do a lot more work than the servers.
Ever since Steph’s computer died, she’s been using the kids’ computers. Now, I’ve known for a while that it is noticeably slower than our machines, but it does have the slower processor, the motherboard has a slower front-side bus, the hard drive is smaller and older (which means slower), and it had the least powerful video card, so I didn’t think it terribly strange. Steph has been complaining about it, and since she’s been using it regularly while we wait for the parts to rebuild her machine, I finally decided to take a look and see what I could do to speed it up — maybe defrag the hard drive, run a spyware scan, that sort of thing.
Turns out the damn thing only had 128MB of RAM. Obviously, I didn’t get 512MB in that system. I can only speculate that I thought I was putting a single 256MB stick of RAM in there after a late night of troubleshooting, and promptly forgot to a) check the machine while it was booting up and b) scrounge the rest of the RAM.
 The front-side bus (FSB) is a techy term for how fast the CPU can access other portions of the computer; in this day and age, a FSB is usually somewhere around an order of magnitude (10x) lower than the CPU’s rated speed. A 1GHz CPU might be running in a system with a 100MHz FSB, which means the system is configured with a 10x clock multiplier. The same CPU on a system with a 133MHz FSB would be running on a x7.5 multiplier. Clear?