Information Technology update – 10 October 2020
Welcome to this month’s Information Technology update. This month lets explain why the computer you are using does not seem as fast as it used to be.
The resources on your computer are limited to what you have installed. Let’s look at each main component real quick:
- Motherboard: This is the main board on the computer. Everything else installed plugs into the motherboard. Consider this the backbone of our computer.
- CPU or central processing unit: Think of this as the brain of your computer. This is what tells the rest of the components what to do. Without the CPU, a computer is just a large paperweight. The speed of the CPU determines how fast it can interact with everything and could be a reason for a newer application to run slow.
- System memory: One of the most important parts. Every program or file you open goes into the memory. If you are primarily working in a web browser or office programs, you do not need a huge amount. Gaming and video editing do require minimum memory and having more is always better. Memory has a speed just like the CPU to help move data around. In most cases, memory modules are installed in pairs, meaning if you have 8GB of total memory, you most likely have 2 4GB chips.
- Graphics: This is critical for gaming and does come in handy with video editing. The graphics processor, or GPU, will depend on how you see all your applications on the monitor. Lower end built in GPUs on your computer will do the basics fine. To run high end games, get a high-end GPU. GPUs also have built in memory separate from the system memory. GPUs generally are the most expensive part of the PC.
- Monitor: Just like your TV, your monitor is your display for viewing what your PC is running.
- Hard drive: Your hard drive, or HDD, stores all of your programs and files so you can access them when you want it. They come in many sizes and types and are generally inexpensive. Older style magnetic HDD’s are being slowly replaced with SSD, which have no moving parts, are lighter weight and have faster speeds.
Knowing what is in your computer, we can now figure out why it is running slow. Most people do not delete things from a computer. Your HDD or SSD could be getting full and fragmented. Easy fix: remove those old programs you do not need. Backup files you wont use on a regular basis. There is also a built-in tool in Windows to help defragment your drive to help clean it up. You can also add in a second or third drive to expand your storage.
Your CPU and GPU could be getting old. Over time, newer programs just cannot run on older equipment. It will try its best, but you will notice bad performance, crashes or just a warning it cannot run.
Check your memory usage. Newer programs could be requiring more than you have. A PC will use some of the HDD as virtual memory, but that is limited to how much drive space you have left.
So, is it worth upgrading or buying a new one? That is a hard answer to give. Cost would be the main thing to check. Also, the age of the computer. If it is more than 5 years old, you might have trouble finding older hardware to upgrade in it. However, A newer computer with a lower grade GPU could easily be upgraded with a new one without any other changes being made.
Hope this helps, and if you have any questions, stop by and see our IT officer.