The wonderful thing about technology in the 21st century is that there is nothing that can't be done given enough time and money. This is also, from time to time, the bad news as flexibility can be confounding.
Relative to the configuration issues you raise, there are no overall rules, although there may be some in specific hardware combinations. The challenge in these scenarios can be making sure you optimize the right thing. Maximum flexibility comes at a cost; you sacrifice application specific tuning. Depending on your situation you may get more benefit from tuning than from maximizing configurability.
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This was first published in February 2002