Understanding your PC

Sometimes people do not understand computers and what causes them to run fast or slow, what memory is, and how to upgrade their system. The main three components of a basic system are as follows:

CPU - This is the central processor, the part that does all the number crunching. When a program is running the CPU is what is doing the work and making it fast or slow. You might have a PC that has a 3.0Ghz processor, which means that it will process 3.0M pieces of data per second. Often people will say their computer has a 3.0 gig processor. The faster the processor, the faster and better you will be able to run software, but it might be limited by the amount your RAM.

RAM -  Short for random access memory, RAM is a temporary storage area for programs. Everything is kept on your hard drive, whether it is running or not, but RAM is just for programs that are running. The reason for RAM is your hard drive is filled with many programs and it takes the CPU a long time to get access to the program you want and keep it running. RAM is much faster and allows the CPU to get access to programs directly. You may have a fast CPU, but it you run out of RAM your computer may seem very slow if you are doing much processing. If you have enough RAM then your processor will be able to do its work better. If your computer  seems slow, adding more RAM can make a big difference. You should have at least 2GB in your PC. Most systems these days ship with 2GB. Having 4GB or more is better. 

Hard drive space - This refers to how much data storage is on your computer to hold software programs, pictures, music and other files. Everything on your computer is kept on the hard drive for when you need it.  A system with 500 Gigabytes is normal these days and is usually enough for most users. Hard drive space is memory and different from RAM, which is often what the term memory is referring to. The amount of hard drive space has nothing to do with your computer's speed, only how much data you can store on it. A hard drive with good read, write and transfer speed will help your CPU keep up with the demands of processing.