Dachshund Software - Hare & Zoom ReviewBosco - January 8, 2003
Once again, the main program menu presents 4 tabs, though Hare is much more complex than Zoom. Having said that, it's probably user friendly enough for an "average" computer user, certainly most people reading this will easily be able to navigate through the menus. The 2 options on the first tab are to enable Hare and enable CPU Tasking which "will allocate as much CPU as possible to the frontmost program for up to 200% acceleration." At all times, both of these options were enabled, hey, I want to get the most out of this, right? Under CPU Tasking Settings, there's a slider to allocate CPU resources to programs, default or "optimal" is 95% and it was left there.
Hare - Wizard Options
The second tab is where things start to have a little more depth. There are wizards for Mem Doubler, Compare Speed, and WinOptimize. Clicking Mem Doubler gives you some info on how much free RAM and page file you have, and the options to either "wash" or defragment your RAM. "Washing" the RAM supposedly gives that "just booted feeling" (sounds like a feminine hygeine commercial). I used it numerous times before and after running benchmarks, with absolutely zero net effect.
Hare - Mem Doubler in action
Hare - Mem Doubler finished
The RAM defragment however does free up system memory, especially if you've been on the computer performing various functions for a while. After defragment is run (takes 10-15 seconds) you get a new graph showing how much RAM you've gained back - mine typically said anywhere from 40% to 60% gain back, and I could definitely see a difference in gaming benchmark scores on an old boot. HOWEVER, in real life, if I wanted to benchmark my system for comparison with others or go on the net for some gaming, I would be working on a fresh boot with all background programs turned off, so for me this isn't really a useful function.
I will also mention that there is an "automatically defragment" checkbox under Settings. When I set it to automatically defragment, it interrupted my benchmarking runs to defragment the RAM. So, that got unchecked in a hurry.
Hare - Benchmarking Program
Compare Speed wizard worked very much as the wizard in Zoom, giving me an entirely unrealistic estimate of what I was gaining by using the program. By the time I got to looking closely at WinOptimize, I was too scared to let the program mess with my registry and Windows database. I'll do it once the review is finished and add a footnote telling you if my Windows install survived heh.
Dachshund Software home page
The next tab is for multimedia, this is where the 3d acceleration (3 checkboxes called MultiMediaNow, GameZap and HolyVision - geez, it hurts when I roll my eyes back in my head like that) takes place. Well, in for a penny in for a pound, let's turn it all on and see what happens.
Statistically speaking, a meaningless 0.4 fps (0.7%) increase in Sam. And, yes, I find it unusual to come with the EXACT same 3DMark 2001SE score too, but this is after 8 runs on/8 runs off, averaged, so the data stands up. 0.00% improvement. Impressed?
If you have read this far you are either a) very bored or b) VERY interested...And you know what my recommendation is going to be. I haven't mentioned that I did have 3 or 4 total system hangs, it could happen anyways knowing Windows but...And I haven't mentioned that MOST (not all) settings changes require a reboot to take effect - so much for speeding things up. I ran the benchmarks on fresh boots, old boots, rubber boots, you name it. The bottom line is, I have tried my damndest to be very thorough and scientific about this and take my time looking for the benefits but they just aren't there. For $61 USD I think I'd rather have a new DVD drive or some more RAM or, well, just about anything.
Your actual results may vary.
PS - my system survived WinOptimize, with no noticable changes in the very short term.