What makes a computer fast? If you do a lot of gaming, work as a designer, or simply want your computer to run as smoothly as possible, then a fast and powerful machine is a must-have. There are a number of different factors that affect the speed of a computer. In this article, we’ll cover the 8 main aspects so that you can choose the right computer for your needs.

Processor (CPU)

One of the most important elements that makes a computer fast is the central processing unit (CPU) or processor. This is the part of the computer responsible for processing data; that is, reading and executing program instructions. How fast the computer can do this is known as its “clock speed.” The more instructions the CPU can work on per second; the faster your computer will be.

The first computer processor, the Intel 4004, had a processing speed of 740 kilohertz (kHz) and was able to process 92,000 instructions per second. Modern computers have multi-core gigahertz (GHz) processors. This means that they actually have multiple CPUs, and, because of this, they can execute multiple instructions at the same time. These computers are capable of processing 100 billion instructions per second, meaning that computers are now significantly faster than they used to be.

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In terms of which CPU is best for you, it really depends on what you’ll be using it for. When you are just using it for everyday tasks such as browsing the web and checking your email, then a dual-core CPU is a low-cost and energy-efficient choice. If you want to play and live stream games, or will be using the computer for your work as a designer or engineer, then it’s worth investing in a processor with more cores. We recommend the Intel Core i9-9900K, which has 8 cores.


Another aspect that affects the speed of your computer is the cache. Today’s computers may be able to execute 100 billion instructions per second. However, they still rely on the computer’s memory, consisting of the hard drive and Random Access Memory (RAM), to serve up those instructions. The speed at which this memory is served up is slower than the CPU can go, so a fast processor alone is not enough to make your computer powerful.

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The cache is what is used to transfer data between the CPU, memory, and all of the components inside your computer. It stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. The more cache a computer has, the more efficiently it will run. Look for a computer with more level 2 and level 3 cache to ensure that it runs as fast as possible. The Intel Core i9-900K mentioned previously comes with 16MB of level 3 cache, which should be plenty for most users’ needs.


RAM is the computer’s short-term data storage used to store working data (i.e., instructions in progress). The more RAM the computer has, the better because, when it runs out of RAM, your machine will have to send some of the unused data in the RAM to the hard drive to be stored until it is needed again. This adds an extra step to processing and, because the hard drive is the slowest form of computer memory, it can really slow down the speed of your computer.

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The more programs you’re using at the same time, the more RAM you will need. If you want your computer to be capable of running lots of different programs and still be fast, then try to find a machine with as much RAM as possible. 16GB is ideal for professional work and more demanding games. A good option for this is the Patriot Viper Steel DDR4-4400. This comes with two 8GB units of RAM, taking you up to a total of 16GB.

Bus speed

Bus speed can also affect how fast your computer runs. A bus is a circuit that connects the different parts of your computer’s motherboard, including the CPU and memory. The more data the bus can handle at the same time, the faster information can travel between these components. This means that your processor will have to wait less time for instructions and so your computer will work more efficiently.

Bus speed is measured in megahertz (MHz) and usually refers to the front side bus (FSB). The FSB is what connects the CPU with a chipset that communicates with the computer processor and controls interaction with memory, known as the Northbridge. FSB speeds can range from 66 MHz to over 800 MHz. Try to find a motherboard with the fastest FSB speed possible to ensure that your computer is fast.

Hard Drive

In terms of what makes a computer fast, the hard drive also plays a part. Traditional hard disk drives (HDD) have moving parts. The speed at which these parts move, measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), will affect the speed of your computer. For example, a 5,400 RPM hard drive will be slower than a 7,200 RPM hard drive.

Unlike HDDs, the more modern solid-state drives (SSDs) have no moving parts, using flash memory instead (flash storage involves using silicon chips that are written, erased, and re-written on by electricity). Because of this lack of moving parts, SSDs are not affected by RPM, making them generally much faster than an HDD.

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For the fastest running computer, try to find an SSD with as much storage capacity as possible. We recommend the Crucial MX500 2TB, which comes with a whopping 2TB of storage.

Video Card

The video card or graphics processing unit (GPU) is the final piece of hardware that will affect your computer’s speed. The GPU is a specialized electronic circuit designed to quickly manipulate and alter memory to speed up the creation of images intended for output to a display device. If you play a lot of games or work with images a lot, then you can see why you’d need a fast GPU to render the images for your screen.

With relation to what type of GPU you’ll need to make your computer fast, it’s best to purchase a separate video card (also known as a discrete graphics card). This is because the GPU needs access to RAM to function. While integrated graphics cards will use the main computer’s RAM, a separate GPU comes with its own set of RAM. This means both that you’ll have dedicated RAM for processing graphics, and that your main system’s RAM can focus on processing other tasks.

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Which discrete graphics card you should purchase depends on what you’ll be using it for. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the best option for gaming. With 11GB of GDDR6 SDRAM (Graphics Double Data Rate type six Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory), you’ll have 11GB of RAM just for processing graphics rather than using your computer’s built-in RAM.

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The Nvidia Quadro K620 is a good choice for designers and engineers as it supports 4K displays. It comes with 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM (Double Data Rate type 3 Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory), meaning that you’ll have plenty of dedicated processing power to enable you to smoothly run the software that you need for your work.

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Finally, if you’re mining cryptocurrency, try the AMD Radeon VII. The faster the hash rate, the faster you can mine cryptocurrency. With a hash rate of 90 megahertz per second (MH/s), the Radeon VII is one of the fastest graphics cards available for this purpose.

Operating System

Another aspect of what makes a computer fast is the operating system. The operating system is the software program that allows all of the computer hardware mentioned above to communicate and work alongside the computer software. Without an operating system, your computer won’t work.

For a PC, the current operating system is Windows 10. Windows regularly release new versions of Windows 10 to repair security issues or fix bugs, which can both make your computer run slower. Keep your operating system up to date to make sure that your computer is as fast, efficient, and secure as possible.

Older operating systems will also not be able to support the latest technologies. New technology that will make your computer faster is being introduced all the time. If you don’t have an operating system that supports these new technologies, then you won’t be able to take advantage of their benefits in terms of computer speed.


Finally, to round up our list, we have software. Software refers to the applications installed on your computer (common examples are Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, etc.). Make sure to regularly update your software to fix any problems with efficiency or bugs that may slow your computer down.

Another tip is to regularly audit your software, removing anything that you don’t need. If there were a lot of pre-installed programs on your computer when you bought it, or if you’ve installed a lot of programs on there, the chances are that there will be some that you’re not using. Uninstalling these may help to improve the performance of your computer.

Your computer may also have a lot of programs set to automatically open when you start up your computer. If there are too many of these, then your computer could be very slow to get going. You can disable programs from running upon startup, though. To do this on Windows, press the Ctrl, Shift, and Esc keys together to open the Task Manager.

In the window that appears, go to the “Startup” section. Click on the programs that you don’t want to open upon startup and choose the “Disable” option. Those programs will now not automatically open when you start up your computer.


So now you know the main 8 factors to what makes a computer fast. To make sure that your computer runs as fast as possible, you’ll need to make sure that you have the best CPU, cache, RAM, bus speed, hard drive, and video card, as well as the latest operating system and software. All of these things working together will result in a fast and powerful machine.