You just bought a new computer, and got a great deal, but it is running slow and the performance is not what I expected. What is wrong? You may not have got what you thought you were buying.
When you buy a new computer, there are four things you need to fully understand, so that you make the right selection. Those four things are; a) the type of applications you are going to utilize, b) the speed and type of processor, c) the amount of memory, and d) the amount of disk drive capacity and type of disk drive. Let us look at each of the items, with the easiest items first.
Types of applications you are going to utilize
A very basic user that only wants to do email, surf the web, and play games, can utilize computer with lower processor speeds and still achieve satisfactory performance. However, as time moves on, this basic user will migrate to an intermediate (or typical) user and might find that their computer performance has decreased when attempting to use the new applications.
The typical user that uses email, accesses web-based applications, stores pictures and music, and utilizes office productivity applications like word processors and spreadsheets, may need an intermediate speed processor.
Many applications are CPU hungry and require fast processors for good performance. An example of the applications might to QuickBooks, Quicken, AutoCAD, and various database programs.
A good practice in buying a new computer is to plan ahead and when making that get a little more than what you think you will need.
So, let us now discuss the three computer resources and what they mean; memory, the processor module, and the disk drive.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM is the temporary location that the processor uses when it is executing applications. When you do not have enough RAM, the system will utilize the disk drive for additional RAM storage. When the disk drive is used to store temporary RAM (virtual storage), your computer will run very slow while RAM is being read/written to the disk drive.
A few years go most new computers were being shipped with 4Gb RAM, which was satisfactory for the initial version of Windows 10. But, Windows 10 has grown larger (just like XP and Windows 7), and now to get the best performance, the computer needs to have 8Gb RAM.
Thus, the new computer should have 8Gb RAM or more.
This is the major cost component of a new computer. The faster the processor speed the more it will cost. However, this is the most difficult to understand.
There are two additional features that a processor module may have that can directly affect performance; turbo boost and hyper-threading.
Turbo-boost is a variable speed processor module that will speed-up when there is a demand for more processor power. This is a good feature, and really benefits a laptop user that wants to run on batteries by preserving battery power drain for a longer session life.
Hyper-threading is the ability for a single physical processor module to execute two different sets of instructions. This makes a single processor look like a dual processor (logical processors), and Windows 10 loves more processors. The drawback here is that the speed of the physical processor is split between two logical processors. This feature on slow processor modules may not provide the best performance.
Not all processor modules are created equal. New computers generally can have 2, 3, 4, 6, or 8 physical processor module, thus there is a wide range of computer speeds available from 1.2-5.0Ghz per physical processor, thus a low- end dual processor has the ability to operate at 2.4Ghz, and a high-end 8-way processor can operate at level of 40.0Ghz.
A basic user may need 4-8Ghz for satisfactory performance. The typical user may want 8-16Ghz and the high-end user may need 16-40Ghz for satisfactory performance.
Disk drive configuration
There are two basic areas to consider when selecting the disk drive configuration; capacity and speed.
The storage capacity for new computers is typically 500Gb or 1000Gb (1 Tb). However, there are a number of 2Tb drives starting to show up. Most users utilize about 100Gb of storage capacity; thus, a 500Gb disk drive is adequate, but most manufacturers are using 1Tb drives to help keep a better price point for them.
The larger disk drives are good for storing large numbers of videos, pictures, and music.
The most import disk drive option is the speed. Spinning disk drives (HDD) rotate at 5400rpm and 7200rpm, with the faster rpm being better. However, HDD is now old technology.
The new technology is solid-state disks (SDD), and the recent decline in SSD prices make these drives very attractive. SSDs are extremely fast and can reduce Windows 10 system startup from several minutes to under 30 seconds. This is a must-have for all new computers.
SSD drives can come in 128Gb, 256Gb, or 512Gb configurations from hardware manufactures. Only consider the 256Gb of 512Gb options.
Some hardware manufactures are using hybrid combinations of 256Gb SSD and a 1Tb HDD, and 512Gb and 1Tb HDD for large capacity users.
Purchase a balanced system to meet your needs.
A fast processor, without adequate RAM, and HDD disk drives may not provide good performance from the processor.
Even a slower processor, with adequate RAM, and an SSD disk drive may produce a good performance. With a faster processor, it should provide excellent performance.
Have an older computer? Increasing the RAM and replacing the HDD drive with an SSD may very well boost the performance of that older computer.
Need help with this, give us a call for a consultation.
George Cox is the owner of Computer Diagnostics and Repair. He can be reached at 346-4217.
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