Sometimes, the reason your computer seems to be slower is simply because the hardware you’re currently using just can’t keep up with the newer technologies that are in use today both in software, and on the web.
As technology advances, more code is used to make software more functional and more visually appealing. In order to use these newer suites, your computer must handle more code that it may have done in previous iterations. As the components running your system typically do not update by themselves, you will find that the more it has to handle, the slower it completes your requests overall.
There are a few choice components that will net you performance and speed gains, and some are more effective than others.
CPU (or Processor)
Your CPU is effectively the “brain” of your computer; it hands out instructions to the other components, and processes code and information into something you can see and manipulate on your screen.
Updating your CPU will help with software hangs, slow responses to your input, and of course overall speed of your system. However, these slowdowns can also be attributed to other components, so if you’re not “tech savvy”, it’d be worth consulting with a specialist or technician to help diagnose what would be most beneficial to you.
Please note that updating your CPU to newer generations will frequently require you to update your motherboard too. Make sure that your new processor is compatible with your existing motherboard, or, that you pick a new motherboard to use in conjunction with your new processor.
In short, your RAM is where your computer stores files for fast access. When you open a piece of software, your system reads the files from your hard drive, and then puts those files onto your RAM to use – RAM is significantly faster than any hard drive currently on the market.
If you have many pieces of software open at once, your RAM will quickly fill. If your RAM is full, it has to carefully select the most crucial files to store, and the rest will be accessed from your hard disk. When this happens you can experience substantial slowdown whilst the RAM processes new files into its storage, and removes the older files that you’re not accessing right now.
If you’re experiencing hanging when multitasking or switching between suites, it is possible that an upgrade of your RAM could benefit you. You could go for increased RAM speed, or increased RAM capacity; though if you’re running 4GB or less, I would definitely recommend an upgrade in capacity.
Remember when upgrading your RAM to make sure that your motherboard is compatible with the technology you purchase. If your motherboard only supports DDR2 memory, you will not be able to place DDR3 memory in your system and have it function.
Upgrading RAM past 4GB on a 32-Bit operating system is not an effective upgrade as 32-Bit OS’s will only read up to 3GB – If you want to go bigger than this, consider upgrading your operating system too.
Accessing files and navigating through your storage to find files is all done via the HDD. If your hard drive is a slower speed, it takes longer to do every data-related task. If you’re running a slow hard disk and your RAM is full, you’re going to notice a HUGE performance decrease when multi-tasking. A faster hard drive can increase your boot times, load times, and overall productivity by a huge margin.
SSDs are a relatively new addition to the market but are gaining a huge momentum as boot or software install drives simply because they are so fast. In many cases you can see 3-4x performance boosts simply by installing Windows and choice applications onto a Solid State Drive. If SSDs are incompatible with your system, then consider getting a drive with a higher RPM than your current one. You will see a performance gain, though it won’t be near to the gain you’d experience with a Solid State Drive.
When upgrading hard drives, the thing you need to consult is interfaces. If your motherboard supports SATA, then most of the hard drives today will function fine – but if you look at purchasing a SATA3 drive and your motherboard only supports SATA2, you could see yourself wasting performance due to an older interface. If your motherboard doesn’t support SATA at all, then you’d be looking at getting an IDE drive – though I would recommend getting a new motherboard, instead of purchasing IDE technology, which is well past its prime.
From ThinkComputers, we hope this guide has helped in boosting the performance of your system. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via our forums! We’d be glad to help.