It takes my 300Mhz machine about 45 seconds to search through its database for a package, before it can even confirm that I want to install it. Of course, I have all the repositories enabled — current, extra, testing, unstable and community — so that adds to the workload.
If you read through this thread, and the occasional shriek of horror doesn’t scare you off, it’ll cut the access time dramatically. Even after
pacman-optimize, searching for all instances of “pacman” (as root, from vc2) took 38.9 seconds. Pacman-cage cut that to 13.1 seconds.
That’s enough of an improvement to make me a lifelong fan. Of course, remember that some people claim it makes pacman freeze, systems lock up, configuration files vaporize, fire rain from the skies, etc.
Of course if you’re running a 1.4Ghz Centrino system and you’re really worried about your pacman access times, you need to drop back to 300Mhz and remember what the old days were/are like.