What makes a computer fast?  There are several reasons and factors that speed up a computer and when it comes right down to it, it really depends on what you need to do with your computer.  We are going to go through what different pieces of your computer affect what part of the performance.

Processor – this is the number one thing most people look at, however, just seeing a high number doesn’t tell the whole story.  Processors come in many different options and serve different purposes.  These days, there are two main factors: speed (e.g. 3.3ghz) and the number of cores (e.g. quad core).

In general, the faster the processor, the faster programs and processes will run.  The other factor is how many cores are on the processor.  Server processors can have as many as 16 cores on one processor. Desktops tend to have 2, 4, or 6.  The more cores you have, the more the processor can multi-task. The gotcha is that not every program is written to use all the cores.  If you use a program like Adobe Premier for video processing, then you would want as many cores as possible since it uses every core to process the video.  If you use Microsoft Word, the cores are mostly going to sit there waiting for something to happen.  Excel can use a lot of processing, but it really depends on what you are asking excel to do.

In summary – go for the highest clock speed possible with the most core possible.  Our favorite recommendation is the Intel i5-4590.  It’s a quad core running at 3.30 ghz.  It’s a great all-around processor that won’t leave you hanging.

Memory (RAM) – this is a very important aspect of computer hardware and when you don’t have enough of this, your computer performance gets really affected.  Random Access Memory (RAM) is where information goes when it needs to be readily available.  All the functions necessary to run say Excel are loaded onto memory so that when you to do something in that program, it happens right away.  Not having a lot of RAM can be ok if you can work in one program at a time.  However, as soon as you need more than one or two programs open at the same time, then RAM becomes critical.  We recommend that you have at least 8gb of RAM.  There is more information about RAM and it’s role in computing here.

In summary – more RAM gives you the ability to run more programs at the same time.  Add more RAM! It is not expensive and makes your computer less frustrating to use. 

Hard drive – Hard drives are where you store your information.  This might include programs, pictures, videos, music, documents; pretty much anything that is on your computer is in the Hard Drive.  There are two kinds of hard drives.  Solid State hard drive and Spinning hard drives.  Spinning hard drives are the most common option because you can store a lot of information for not a lot of money.  They are fairly fast and for the most part, the best bang for your buck.  However, Solid State Hard drives have become increasingly affordable and give you much more speed.  A SSD is about 5 times faster than a regular hard drives and so it makes your computer feels much faster.  Opening a program feels almost instantaneous and boot times tend to drop drastically.  The downside of SSD’s is that they cost more per gigabyte than their spinning counter parts, however they are well worth the upgrade.

Summary – Spinning hard drives if you need a lot of space or SSD’s if you want speed.

 Overwhelmed with all this geeky information and don’t know how to make your computer faster?  We love to help people with that and we can even figure a plan for your company to help you move your computers to a fast productive state.  Call or email us why don’t you?