Even the best Windows-based computer rigs can get bogged down, when you want to get the most performance out of them, whether you want that performance for Second Life or for general gaming.
In your average Windows system, your RAM and your CPU cycles get nickle-and-dimed away by all sorts of background tasks and services, few or none of which you actually need at the time you want your system performing at its best.
I was really quite impressed when I stumbled onto a tool called Game Booster.
It’s tiny, it’s lightweight, it’s free, and as near as I can tell it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Start it up, and it allows you to ‘switch to gaming mode’. It stops your choice of services and background tasks (proffering a recommended list) and remembers the ones you chose for next time.
Having cleaned all the dross away, it minimizes itself to the system-tray, and you can call it up again when you’re done, click the ‘back to normal mode’ button, and it’ll restart everything that it stopped for you.
It also offers the option to defragment applications/games on a per-application basis. It costs nothing, doesn’t (as far as I can tell) nag you about anything, and has a noticeable positive effect on Windows system-performance.