Apollo Via 133 motherboard: adjusting L2 cache speed

According to a recent review, it is possible to adjust the L2 cache speed on this MB. As I use a software program (Dragon dictation, in Word 97) that, I am told, loves a fast L2 cache, this MB would seem to be an interesting choice for me.

2 questions:
1) Why (in laymen's terms, please) would Dragon love L2 cache speed and
2) Would there be any down side whatsoever to maximizing the
L2 cache speed on this MB for someone like myself, who only uses Word 97 and Dragon Dictate.

Thank you for your help!
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1.  All programs would like more memory.  Your processor goes to any of about three places for information: (1) the cache (which is in/on (L1) the processor) or "next to it" on the motherboard (L2), (2) the RAM which is solid state and typically has a response time of 8 to 10 nanoseconds, or (3) to the disk which will have a response time in the 8 to 10 milliseconds (hard disk) or 150 to 350 milliseconds (CD).

2.  Your system will crash.  Just like driving your car, the slower you go, the better you are at keeping the car in the road.  When you drive fast you might loose it.

Summary: I would imagine that Dragon uses an enourmous amount of memory during use.  Look at the box it came in and make sure your PC has at least as much RAM as the program suggests.  Don't worry about the other.  You probably won't notice the 10 nanosecond delay...
RombasAuthor Commented:

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my question. I do appreciate it.
Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't feel as though you answered my
questions directly, i.e.
1) WHY L2 cache speed (latency?) would be so impt. for Dragon
and 2) you simply say that my PC will crash, without giving a real explanation as to why this would happen.
If you (or someone else) could respond to these questions a bit more directly (in laymen's trems) I'd be grateful.
Either way, thank you again for the time that you took for your first answer.
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> WHY L2 cache speed (latency?) would be so impt. for Dragon

If the software accesses a wide range of memory-addresses, a larger and faster cache is better than a smaller and slower cache, due to the lower latency.
Presumably, software like Dragon *does* access a large range of addresses, unlike, say, a vector-multiply: X(i)=Y(i)*Z(i) for i=1 to N.
You requested an answer in lay terms.  I tried.  I probably could have gone into greater detail on why the system will/might crash...

Again, in lay terms: your processor is looking for electrical impulses at a certain rate (i.e. system bus), within a range.  When you increase the rate, the range will decrease accordingly.  If everything on your board is performing well within specified ranges, you should be able to speed everything up.  If, however, you have components that don't perform exactly as they should, you would get problems (system crash).

To put it another way:  Imagine you're shooting basketball freethrows.  With a standard size hoop, you can make the shot without any problem.  When you make the hoop smaller, you have to be more accurate in order to make the shot.

My opinion is this:  if everything works well now, great.  If you change the speed on the board and everything still works, even better.  If it starts crashing on you, change it back.  To clarify my answer further, as long as you take proper precautions when you start monkeying with the motherboard and you don't lose any screws (It seems I always lose a screw or two when opennig a case!), there should be no irreversible negative effects from trying it.

If you want more technical information, please ask.
RombasAuthor Commented:
Dear ShaneTampa,
Thank you (again!) for taking the time to respond.

I should have told you that my favorite sport is soccer, not basketball.

If I understand what you're saying, it's a matter of trial and error. In other words, even if I tell you what hardware I have at this time, you could only guess as to whether or not buying an L2 cache-latency adjustable MB (and increasing the latency) would cause stability problems running Word 97/Dragon.

Looks like maybe you're fishing for information about which motherboard to buy...

I have no specific knowledge about which boards work well with Dragon.  All I'm saying is that one potential problem with increasing the cache speed on an adjustable speed system is that everything might not mesh, causing the system to crash.  (Typically, that's why those things are adjustable.  Otherwise, why make it adjustable in the first place, because who WANTS to go slower???)

The stability problem I'm referring to is not a software issue.  

If you're looking for advice on which board/system to purchase, look again at the review and your software documentation, and post a question or two about it.

And, oddly, I prefer soccer to basketball as well...  :)

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RombasAuthor Commented:
Thanks again, ShaneTampa
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