How to Check Computer Speed

By Todd Bowerman

The speed of your computer is an immense determining factor in your work efficiency. Speed is also an important element of whether your computer can play video games or run powerful video editing software or 3D graphics applications. Checking your computer speed enables you to spot particular areas in need of an upgrade and to determine whether your current PC setup is ready for any given task.

Processor Speed

When a retailer or computer manufacturer lists a computer’s speed, it is usually referring to the computer’s processing speed. You can quickly check your processor speed in Windows 8 by swiping to the bottom right of the screen, clicking “Settings” and selecting “PC Info.” Check the “Processor” value to see your speed. Processor speed is also available in your BIOS menu; press “Delete” or “ESC” while your computer is booting (the exact key depends on your motherboard) to open the BIOS.

Disk Speed

If your computer is experiencing slowdowns, it might not be due to the processor. Your disk speed, which is what determines how quickly the processor can read or write data on the hard drive, will play a large factor in your computer’s overall responsiveness. There are several third-party tools available for checking hard drive speed, but you can also check it right from Windows 8. Press “Windows-R” to open the “Run” dialogue and then type “msinfo32.” Press the “Enter” key to open System Information. Click the “+” sign next to “Components” followed by the “+” sign next to “Storage.” Select “Drives” to find complete information on your hard drive; use the drive serial number on the official manufacturer’s website to get an official rating on its speed.

Internet Speed

Even with a fast, powerful computer, slow Internet can be the cause of less-than-stellar performance. Many apps require the Web for functionality and will stutter when access is slow. You can check your Internet speed by visiting an online speed checker such as, Bandwidth Place, or Speakeasy. Additionally, most high-speed Internet providers have an official speed checker that you can access by contacting customer support.

Graphics Processing

Your graphics card is what’s largely responsible for the performance of your video games and multimedia applications. A computer with a fast processor might still struggle with high-end games or software if the graphics card isn’t up to the task. Check the power of your graphics card by running a third-party benchmarking application such as 3DMark or FurMark. The website Can You Run It (see Resources) is also a strong resource for gamers curious to see if their PCs are up to the task of running a particular title; the site also provides you with your graphics card and processor model names.