SuperFassst boosts program loading, multitasking


From the oldest 486 to the newest Pentium Pro, we all want faster performance.

We keep buying memory, faster drives and graphics accelerators in an endless quest to keep
up with ever-multiplying software. Last year brought a spurt of software RAM boosters,
some with dubious benefits. Now there's a package that claims to speed up program loading
and multitasking.

Acceleration Software International's SuperFassst 1.1 is the only program I've seen that
improves hard-drive performance beyond the gains achieved by periodic defragmentation.

If you have a PC running Microsoft Windows 95, a fast CPU, accelerated video and plenty of
RAM, SuperFassst could be your next step to better performance. Available only for Win95,
it requires a minimum 16M of RAM. 


SuperFassst takes a three-pronged approach, with an application accelerator, disk
accelerator and multitasking accelerator.

The application accelerator reduces application loading time. The disk accelerator boosts
disk input-output rates without compression or caching. The multitasking accelerator works
automatically in background to hasten various multitasking functions.

Installation proceeds with very little user interaction. Afterward, the setup program
offers to run ScanDisk for Windows and Disk Defragmenter. I recommend you let both these
utilities run to completion for best results with SuperFassst.

The printed documentation is minimal; it's a small foldout packaged in the CD-ROM jewel
case. Online help is more comprehensive but probably won't answer all your questions. Tech
support is available via toll call, fax, a company bulletin board system or the World Wide
Web.

I phoned tech support about a minor problem. The call was answered on the third ring, and
I had an answer in less than five minutes.

SuperFassst's interface is very easy to use. You can choose to leave SuperFassst on or
off. When it's on, you have many options. For example, if Start Menu Acceleration is
enabled, every program launched from the Start Menu gets accelerated.

The drawback here is that every time a program launches, a new icon with a SuperFassst
suffix pops up in the Start Menu. The icon clutter quickly becomes annoying.


A better method is to drag and drop programs on the SuperFassst Accelerator. This way,
you see SuperFassst icons only for the programs you always want accelerated. Other options
let you clone or replace shortcuts, enable or disable multitasking acceleration and
schedule daily defragmentation.

Acceleration Software International promotes SuperFassst for high-end systems,
particularly Pentium Pro PCs. I tested the program on a 200-MHz Pentium Pro, a 100-MHz
Pentium and a 33-MHz 486DX. With one glaring exception, my test results supported the
company's claims.

On the Pentium Pro 200 with 48M of RAM, I charted the load times of four programs:
Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, CorelDraw and Netscape Navigator.

On a percentage basis, the SuperFassst-accelerated programs launched faster by 140 percent
to 340 percent. The actual savings in launch time was 1 second to 2.8 seconds.

On the Pentium 100, a Micron Electronics Inc. PC with 16M RAM, I tested load times of
those four programs and got results that were just the reverse: In every case, it took
longer for these programs to load with SuperFassst. The accelerated load times were 105
percent to 140 percent slower than normal.

I tried closing all my programs running in background. Nothing improved. Tech support
could only guess that it might be a problem in Micron's IDE drive port implementation.

On the 33-MHz 486DX PC with 20M RAM, I tested a different mix of programs: Word, Navigator
and PointCast Network. SuperFassst improved the loading time of Word by 2.8 seconds and
that of Navigator by 7 seconds.

But PointCast Network loaded slower with SuperFassst, taking 4.7 seconds longer.

Because of the relative slowness of the 486 microprocessor, SuperFassst's percentage gain
was less than on the Pentium Pro 200, but the time in seconds gained was significantly
greater, except for PointCast Network.
 


I tested SuperFassst's multitasking and drive I/O acceleration only on the Pentium Pro
and saw improvement. I used eight identical 8M files with a batch file to launch four
simultaneous file-compare windows.

I charted the time required to complete each file comparison and the kilobyte/sec
throughput for each window. Without SuperFassst, it took 28.3 seconds for the four windows
to compare the files. The throughput was 2,373 kilobytes/sec.

The same test with SuperFassst acceleration took 22.2 seconds with a throughput of 3,017
kilobytes/sec.

Except on the 100-MHz Micron Pentium, SuperFassst lived up to its claims of decreased
program load times, increased drive I/O and faster multitasking. This program has earned a
permanent place on my Pentium Pro. I also use it to decrease the load time of selected
programs on my old 486. On the Micron Pentium 100, I deleted all traces of SuperFassst.

I recommend SuperFassst to anyone who'd like to supercharge a machine. But try it before
you buy to avoid system incompatibilities like the one I encountered. 


William M. Frazier, a PC hobbyist, is the postmaster of Ocean Shores, Wash.


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