I am now seeing faster response times from bitcoind. It might have been a temporary problem. It still uses significantly more RAM and cpu than the old versions. And I've never liked how much disk I/O bitcoin uses. I'm wondering if I should setup bitcoind to run on a ramfs of some sort for better performance/reduced disk I/O (and be sure to mirror it frequently to disk in case of power loss)
also looking into the JSON RPC API, thanks
As was mentioned it was unresponsive during the initial syncup— it was busily syncing blocks so quickly that the rest of Bitcoin was being starved. This will probably improve in later versions.
Bitcoin uses more resources now because the chain is much bigger— but current versions are actually much faster when compared apples to apples. Bitcoin is very fast on tmpfs.