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Old 05 November 2017, 00:00   #41
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Dublin, then Glasgow
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It's very easy to dedicate a separate partition to 3.9 and 3.1, switching between them if needed. A lot of the impact comes from four areas:

First, loading and installing the replacement ROM image/ROM modules and the associated double boot which greatly slows the boot process. There's not a lot that can be done about this, but chances are if you're running a patched 3.1 setup, you probably have similar patches and reboots in your startup slowing it down anyway.

Second, lots of extra things started in the background on bootup, such as ARexx, a few standard commodities, BenchTrash, AmiDock, AsyncWB etc. I always get rid of BenchTrash straight away, most of the other things can be done away with too (some people don't like AmiDock for example), but I hate using a Workbench without AsyncWB, and ARexx is almost essential for so many things. Still, they can all easily be disabled to reduce the loading times if desired.

Third, 3.9 has more eye-candy. By default the screenmode has lots of colours (maybe 16 or 32? I can't remember...) compared to 4 colours as standard under 3.1. This will make everything feel slower - opening windows, dragging things around, etc., especially on ECS machines. Obviously graphics card users don't need to worry about this. Also, there's a colourful backdrop set by default that can take several seconds (or even minutes if you're on an '020) to decode and scale to the screen, using all the CPU time in the process and making things crawl until it's finished. Switching Workbench to 4 colours will give a similar redraw speed to 3.1, thought the icons will be ugly as they're intended for more colours. Removing the backdrop will also stop all the CPU time from being used after startup until the image is displayed.

Finally, the 3.9 programs all use ReAction for their GUI, which is a little slower than GadTools. Not much getting away from that really, but at least you get some extra functionality, and with a faster CPU it isn't really noticeable. And it doesn't cause anything else to be slower.

In summary, two areas where a big impact can be made are to reduce the colours and get rid of the backdrop, and remove the extra startup items. That'll give you an experience much closer to 3.1 but still have many of the 3.9 benefits in place.
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