TrangleC wrote:...Still weird, considering that every desktop PC I ever had (even way slower ones than the Pi 3) used conventional hard drives and no matter how cheap and slow the SD card I'm using in my Pi might be, it still must be infinitely faster than those HDD.
Don't know where you got that strange idea, but it's completely wrong.
An SD card is NOT and SSD drive. While they both use solid state memory as storage, they are completely different devices.
SSD drives have much more powerful controllers and are optimised for use on computers. They have very fast read and write speeds in both sequential and random I/O. SD cards and most USB flash drives are only optimised for sequential I/O and usually perform horribly at random I/O. This is unfortunate when they are used as a computer OS drive because a lot of what a computer does is non-sequential (random) I/O.
Take any SD card or USB flash drive you happen to have and copy a large single file to it and note the transfer speed. Then take a large folder full of tiny files and do the same and see what happens. I have USB 3.0 flash drives that can read/write at over 200MB/second sequentially, but drop to single digits in random reads (6MB/s) and sub-MB in random write (0.026MBs).
Alternately you could run a benchmark like CrystalDiskMark to compare your SD card to a hard drive or SSD and see what's happening. While it's possible that some of the fastest SD cards might beat a hard drive at sequential I/O, most will get clobbered in random I/O.
The best bang for the buck in SD cards that don't suck horribly at random I/O is probably the Samsung EVO+ series.
That being said, there seems to be some odd misconception that the Raspberry Pi3 is a fast computer. It's not. The Raspberry Pi3 is... a very fast Raspberry Pi (10 times faster than the original PiB). But we are talking about a SOC based on mobile technology with only 1GB of RAM and USB 2.0. A cheap laptop, chromebook and even some of the better netbooks will outperform it (and probably won't cost much more by the time you add all the extra stuff you need for the Pi3).
If your goal was to get a fast computer on a budget, you should have looked for a deal on a used laptop or chromebook.
As far as a media computer goes, you should be able to do that well with any Raspberry Pi. I used our original PiB as a media device for years, but it was dedicated to media consumption.
My mind is like a browser. 27 tabs are open, 9 aren't responding,
lots of pop-ups...and where is that annoying music coming from?