"What exactly is new with 2.4, and how does it improve the
experience of the average desktop user?"
"There are several new relevant features, including Pentium IV
support, MMX2 support, Universal Serial Bus (USB) device support,
Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI), DevFS, various internal
cleanups, and other new device drivers."
"As with all other Linux kernels for the Intel platform, at
least an i386 is required, with 2.4 support for Intel's latest
offerings as well. On the desktop, this means direct speed-ups for
Pentium IV based systems. Other Intel-compatible chips such as the
AMD Athlon are also supported. This translates to the kernel making
more efficient use of the computer's "brain", the CPU. Speed always
makes for a more pleasant user experience on the desktop."