Trivia

Hard

What Effect Did The Turbo Button Have On Early Personal Computers?

Sped Up the Processor
Slowed the Processor
Dumped the Disk Cache
Doubled the System Memory
A vintage computer ad for 386 and 486 computers.
Northgate/PC Magazine

Answer: Slowed the Processor

For hundreds of thousands of young computer users, the “Turbo” button was like a mystical power booster that could solve most computer ailments. Except that, counter-intuitively, the Turbo button was never designed to speed anything up, but to instead slow a computer down.

In the early days of computing, programmers relied heavily on the processor speed for timing. As a result, thousands of applications, such as early PC games, relied on the processor’s speed to govern the timing of in-application events. If you played a game that was intended to be played on a 33MHz system on a 66MHz system, for example, the game would run twice as fast and be rendered unplayable. The Turbo button served as a hardwired compatibility tool, and flipping the Turbo would slow down the processor and ensure that older software would run properly.

While the application of the button and the accompanying light wasn’t consistent across early computer manufacturers (some companies designed it so that pushing the button in would turn the light on and actually run the computer at full speed while others had it set so that clicking the button out and “off” would turn the turbo on), the button existed solely to allow the end user to dial back their computer’s processing power as needed. After all, if it wasn’t necessary to slow the processor down for some purposes, no company on earth would include a button that made the machine run below the advertised specifications.

On modern computers, this process is handled by the operating system or emulation software, and the Turbo button has gone the way of the 5.25″ floppy drive.

Trivia

Hard

In The Original Bram Stoker’s Tale, Dracula Isn’t Harmed By?

Trivia

Easy

Despite What Jurassic Park Would Have Us Believe, Which Dinosaurs Were Quite Tiny?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These Shows Ushered In Frequent Use Of Cliffhangers In Television?

Trivia

Hard

What Accounts For One Third Of America’s Evening Internet Traffic?

Trivia

Easy

Which Tech Company Derives Its Name From A Mythical Creature?

Trivia

Hard

Which Popular Website’s Name Is The Result Of A Misspelling?

Trivia

Easy

Since The 1980s Japanese Farmers Have Been Growing What Peculiar Crop?

Trivia

Easy

Which Astronomical Phenomenon Did Mark Twain Predict Would Coincide With His Death?

Trivia

Hard

During World War II Urine Was Recycled To Extract?

Trivia

Hard

The Largests Nests In The World Are Built By?