needs to know in order to do an effective computer speed up.
A typical computer system performs many activities and in all areas
speed is a consideration but there are different kinds of speed. Some
of the areas that should be considered are;
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- General computation and management of
- Video image presentation and frame rate
(Frequency in which video frames are displayed on a monitor, typically
described in frames-per-second (fps). Higher frame rates improve the
appearance of video motion. Broadcast TV (full motion video) is 30
frames-per-second.) East Carolina
- Internet communication
(upload and download), sending and getting data
- Peripheral speed such as
printer, scanner or other attached devices
This article will focus on the heart of all
computer operations; general computation and management of data.
Please refer to the diagram, which will open
in a new window when you click here, for the discussion that follows.
The brain of the computer is the CPU or Central Processing Unit. This
component does all the manipulation, assessment and calculations of
data. It does all the math, logical comparisons and arrangement of
information. However, it is very limited in that it can only deal with
a very small amount of information at a time.
Unlike the human brain, the memory or actual data
being manipulated, for the most part, resides in a different part of
the computer than the thinking part. The memory area is known as the
RAM or Random Access Memory. The CPU has to talk to the memory all the
time to get more data and write changed data. Getting data to and from
the RAM takes time. Each RAM component has a manufactured speed at
which it can be accessed.
Additionally, RAM has a limited size. In order to
deal with larger volumes of data the RAM may not be big enough and the
hard disk has to be accessed. Hard disk access is orders of magnitude
slower than talking to RAM memory.
To complicate matters, for various electrical
engineering reasons, the CPU can’t talk directly to the memory. It has
to communicate through a communications channel known as the front side
bus. It’s as if your brain would have to phone your memory any time it
needed to remember anything.
Each of the parts has a speed limit associated
with it. The CPU has a certain speed per data manipulation, the Front
Side Bus has a speed at which it can talk to the memory, the memory has
a speed at which it can be accessed and so does the hard drive. All of
them add together to determine the time it takes to get things done.
Time needed for the computer to get data and work
on it (in simplified terms) = CPU logic time + time to “travel” on the
front side bus + RAM access time + time to talk to the hard drive (if
What counts the most
The factor that makes the most difference is RAM
memory size. If it is big enough, the system will have to go the hard
disk less often. This has the most dramatic impact on a computer’s
performance. It never pays to stint on the amount of memory that you
purchase for your computer.
CPU speed is next in importance. The speed of most
CPUs provided in modern systems is enough for most everyday types of
operations. Unless you are doing very intensive mathematical
calculation, complex database lookups, encryption or intensive graphics
such as computer aided design or modeling, you won’t need the highest
Bus speed is next. This will depend on the type of
motherboard (main system board) that your computer manufacturer
provides and basically can’t be changed after the fact for the average
Disk speed is the last factor but it should be
considered if you are doing intensive database operations.
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