Part 3: Hardware
Now that the software has been addressed and you have confirmed that running Vista and/or Norton/McAffe is not your problem, its time to consider your hardware. No amount of tweaking your software will make your system as fast as you want if your hardware is too old or lacking in a certain area causing a bottleneck. Ask yourself, is your hardware slowing down your computer?
First thing to check is your processor, if you don’t have at least a Pentium 4 (or AMD equivalent) you are likely going to have a bad time, some might even say if you don’t have at least a Dual Core your computer is going to seem slow.
Now don’t confuse memory with hard drive storage space. Having more memory allows you to have more programs open at once, or have larger, more memory intensive programs run well.
If you have Windows XP, 512 MB or RAM is the minimum to run “well”. Recommended memory for XP is 1 GB, but more is always preferred. Keep in mind, with RAM as with many things you can never have too much, except for in the case of XP (or any 32 bit Operating System), anything above 3.5 GB in XP is useless. Its more than we need to get in to, just know that they can not make use of any more RAM than that.
If you have Windows Vista or 7, 1 GB is the minimum to run “well”. Recommended memory is 2GB or more. If you have the 64 bit version the sky is the limit, if not don’t waste money going above 3GB.
There are many ways your hard drive can affect your performance. But there are 2 things that are more important to keep in mind.
First is don’t let your hard drive get so full that there is less than 10% free space, having less than that will cause issues when it needs to move files around and slow you down fast.
Second is as a hard drive starts to fail it will start running slow and even freezing up / blue screening. This is a good time to make sure you have a complete backup, you always should back up of course, but this is an even more important time to make sure your backup is current. There are utilities you can run to find out if your hard drive is going bad, but it is generally recommended you take it to a professional if you suspect it is having issues.
If you are having issues with video being choppy either when watching on the internet or through a DVD it could mean your video card is under powered for what you are watching. Upgrading your video card will also help with video and picture editing programs, as well as games you might be playing.