Factors Affecting Computer Performance

By Melly Parker

Both your computer components and the maintenance you perform on it affect how well it performs. However, it's also important to consider that one outdated or damaged part in an otherwise high-performing computer can prevent the other parts from working to their maximum potential. Keeping your computer updated, free of viruses and in good condition will help you get the best possible performance out of the machine.

Hard Disks

Your hard disks store all of the data on your computer, from program files to documents or photos. The space available on the hard drive doesn't have a very large affect on the computer's performance, but the read and write speed do. A hard disk that spins at 7200RPMs will be able to process data much more quickly than a hard disk that spins at 5200RPMs. Solid state hard drives are a type of flash memory that doesn't rely on moving parts, making them faster than standard spinning hard disks.

Processor Speed

The processor determines how fast your machine can run. Faster processors are better for applications like gaming and video editing, because they can quickly get data from your computer hardware to your monitor. Processors with more than one core will also improve a computer's performance because they can perform multiple tasks at the same time.

Installed Memory

The amount and type of memory you have installed in your computer determines how much data can be processed at once. Faster memory and a larger amount of RAM will make your computer perform more quickly. Attempting to use an application that overloads the RAM will give you significantly slower speeds.

Video Processing Components

Some computers have the video processing hardware on the motherboard, while others have a standalone video card. Generally, computers with a standalone graphical processing unit (GPU) are better at displaying complex images and video than computers with a GPU on the motherboard. Your video card partially determines which software you can run and how smoothly it works.


Even a computer made of the latest, best components still requires maintenance. It's important to install updates, keep the computer free of malware and perform regular upkeep. Updates from the operating system manufacturer and any hardware or software updates can help the computer run better or fix problems. Malware slows your computer down and can expose you to identity theft. An anti-virus program and regular scans will help you avoid those issues. Make sure to defragment your computer, clean up old files and shut it down regularly. Doing these things will help keep your system working quickly.