What Does the Speed of the Computer Depend On?

By Tom McNamara

The speed at which a computer performs is one of the key measures of its effectiveness. The speed of a computer depends on a few key factors.

CPU Speed

Central processing unit speed is measured in gigahertz, but more gigahertz does not necessarily mean a faster processor. What also matters is the size of its cache, measured in megabytes and the number of processing cores.

CPU Cache and Cores

A CPU cache is a space for this chip to rapidly store and retrieve data. A larger cache can store more information. Multiple cores allow the CPU to perform more operations at once.

RAM

Random access memory comes in "sticks" that are installed on the motherboard. RAM has its own megahertz ratings, and more, faster RAM generally makes for a faster computer.

Storage Devices

A hard drive is the long-term storage for all the files on your computer. Its speed is determined in megabytes per second. A hard drive can also have a cache, like a CPU.

Malware

Viruses and spyware can slow down your computer. A computer that has antivirus software installed can avoid the slowdowns characteristic of malware infections.