What Makes a Computer Fast?

What Makes a Computer Fast?

When you customize your PC you select parts that fit your needs. If you are editing videos, designing graphics, or gaming, then you want to have a build that can run these tasks without lagging. You may be wondering what makes a computer fast? or if there is any part in particular that makes it faster.

The different components and how they work together determine what makes a computer fast.

What Affects Computer Speed the Most?

The processor is what affects computer speed the most because it is considered the main component of a computer.

That said, there are eight different aspects to consider when talking about computer speeds. The processor alone does not determine the speed of a computer so things such as the memory and graphics card also affect how fast the computer runs.

Processor (CPU)

The central processing unit, also known as the CPU or processor, is one of the most important elements of a computer. The overall speed, known as the clock speed, depends on how fast the CPU processes data.

Computers nowadays have multi-core GHz processors that can process more than 100 billion instructions per second. A dual-core processor can handle simple tasks but most modern games run better with at least a 6-core processor, like the Intel Core i5-11600KF on the Apex Carbon.

Although processing cores are fast, each core can only process one set of instructions at a time. To future-proof and increase your computer speed you can upgrade to an 8-core processor or above like the Intel Core i9-11900KF. A good processor with a high core count will make a computer fast.

Cache

The cache is the fastest type of memory inside a computer and it stores data so it can serve future requests faster.

The CPU relies on the computer’s memory to serve instructions so it can process and execute tasks. The random access memory (RAM) and hard drive are slower than the CPU so it uses the cache to transfer data between all components. Computers with more cache can run more efficiently so it is best to get a processor that has a level 2 or level 3 cache.

Memory (RAM)

RAM or Random Access Memory, plays a major role in loading data quickly for your processor to compute.

Your computer loads in blocks of information before it needs to be processed, so having more RAM streamlines this process more and more. In the case of lack of RAM your PC must load this data directly from your hard drive or ssd. With RAM being much faster than even the fastest SSD, it is important to make sure that you have a sufficient amount to keep up with your memory needs. 

Motherboard & Bus Speed

A bus is a circuit board that connects the parts of the motherboard. If the bus can handle more data at the same time, the information travels faster between all components.

The bus speed refers to the front side bus (FSB) which connects the CPU with a chipset that communicates with the processor and controls interaction between the memory, known as the Northbridge. An efficient bus results in less wait time for the processor to receive instructions. A motherboard with a fast FSB speed makes your computer run faster.

Video Card (GPU)

Graphics Processing Units (GPU) otherwise known as graphics cards can contribute greatly to the overall speed of your PC.

While modern processors are capable of outputting graphics, these are meant for everyday users and casual gamers. With modern graphics cards, you have extended benefits for your viewing experience such as expanded resolution and high frame rate output. With 4k and 8k gaming becoming the norm, a GPU is essential to quick performance and a good overall experience. If you want a fast computer with 4k gaming then the Apex Xtreme might be the right choice for you.

Hard Drive

The Hard Drive is arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to speed, and while this is true it is important to note that this is the first place users start to speed up their operating system’s performance.

If you are using a hard drive disk to either run your operating system or load your gaming library it might be a good idea to consider switching to a solid state drive (SSD). SSDs offer a greater increase in speed over traditional hard drives due to the lack of moving parts and the use of solid state media. With this increase, you will see faster boot times, load times for apps, smoother web browsing experience, and overall more responsive. 

Operating System

An often overlooked factor in the speed of your system is the operating system in use.

If you are using an older operating system like Windows 7 or Vista,  you may realize that your PC runs slowly with applications. Many Apps and software are optimized for the newest OS. Running on the most current and updated operating system usually gives you the fastest experience. 

Software

Software includes all the applications installed on your computer and they must stay up to date. The size of the software, their update frequency, and how they run all affect your computer's speed.

By regularly updating your software you fix any issues that may slow your computer down. If there is software that you no longer use, like some of the pre-installed programs, then uninstalling them also helps improve the speed of your computer.

You can also check your computer for programs that are set to automatically open when you start your computer. Additionally, you can make your PC faster by disabling unnecessary programs from running upon startup.

What Specs Make a Computer Fast?

There are many components and softwares involved in determining the speed of your pc. That said, the most important specifications would be Processor, GPU, and Hard drive and/or SSD. A good place to start is with a multi-core processor with a clock speed of 3.5 GHz or above, an up-to-date NVIDIA or AMD GPU, and at least 16GB of RAM.

How Fast Does Your Gaming Computer Need to Be?

How fast your gaming computer needs to be is relative to the software you want to run. In order to determine how fast your computer needs to be, you need to check the individual RAM, processor, and internet speed requirements for the programs you want to use.

That said, the minimum recommended requirements for PC gaming are at least 8GB of RAM and a 3.5 GHz processor. The Apex Silver is a budget-friendly gaming PC that has better than the minimum requirements with a 16 GB Vulcan RAM that can be upgraded as well. If you plan on using your PC for other purposes such as video editing or streaming, you need at least 16GB of RAM and a 4.0 GHz processor to avoid slowing down your computer.

Computer Speed FAQ

What is a Good Processor Speed for a Gaming PC?

Faster clock speeds allow data to be processed quicker. A clock speed of 3.5 GHz to 4.0 GHz is considered a good processor speed for gaming. Aside from the clock speed, you want to make sure that you also have a multi-core processor that can process data for multiple tasks at the same time.

What Makes a Computer Faster; RAM or Processor?

In general, more and faster RAM results in a faster processor but it is important to have compatible hardware that works well together for a faster computer.

What Makes a Computer Faster; RAM or SSD?

Although RAMs are technically faster, an SSD has a faster transfer speed over a hard drive disc. By replacing a traditional hard drive disc with a solid state drive you can make your computer faster.


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