What Makes a Laptop Fast?

By Andrea Helaine

A slow laptop may affect how you work, causing programs to run slow or freeze. Knowing what makes a laptop fast may help you decide whether it is time for an upgrade as well as determine the speed you require.


RAM, or random-access memory, is measured by the amount of time it takes for the memory module to deliver the data requested by the laptop user. The lower the speed in nanoseconds, the faster the RAM or memory, the faster the laptop. A fast laptop should have approximately 3 to 4 GB of RAM.


Laptop speed is also affected by the processor, also known as the CPU. The laptop processor will change its speed and power consumption depending on the number of applications open. The speed of the processor will change if the laptop is inactive or when the user is running an application that does not demand a lot of power. For a fast laptop, a dual core processor can improve the speed, but it will affect the battery life of the laptop.

Hard Drive Speed

A fast laptop is also determined by the speed of the hard drive, as it affects how quickly programs will load. There are four categories for hard drives: 4300 rpm, 5400 rpm, 7200 rpm and SSD---or solid state drive. When the rpm of the hard drive is fast, the programs will load and run more quickly. SSDs are three or four times more expensive, but they are also three or four times faster than other hard drives.