My Athlon XP 2000+ died at the end of July; it appeared to the be the CPU. I had a 1GHz EPIA-M Via board sitting around, so I installed that and figured I'd have a look at sexy Core 2 Duo kit eventually. I did, and I've ordered some, but I suspect it's never turning up and I have to cancel the order and place a new one (combination of wanting an Intel G965 based board given their decent Free driver support as well as a silent case that wasn't in stock but was a lot cheaper than elsewhere).

However, I cracked and bought an XP 2200+ CPU off eBay. The Via just worked out too slow and the hot weather has passed so I'm less concerned about heat generation. Even though this CPU is only slightly faster than what I've had for the past 3 years the 2 months on a slower box makes me really appreciate it. Aside from the raw speed increase the Athlon also has 4 times as much level 2 cache (256k vs 64k), twice as much RAM (the Via only has 1 DIMM slot so had 512M, while my Athlon mobo has 2 so gets 1G) and a real video card (the Via CLE266 seemed quite poor; even when the system was unloaded I was sometimes seeing a couple of seconds lag in focus-follow-mouse. My ATI 9200SE is much nicer. And doesn't steal system memory.) Plus there's the fact I can put my 4 port serial card back in. Living with 1 port is so primitive. :)

I know that what I've got now is still a lot less powerful that what lot's of people have on their desktop (and conversely I know people who'd be glad of the Via), but my point is more about just how grateful I am for it after only a couple of months on something slower.