What Makes a Computer Slow?

Have you ever wondered what makes a computer slow? Lately we’ve had a lot of customers complaining that their computers which are two or three years old are slower than they once were. Even if their computer has been wiped clean and restored to factory specs, they say they are experiencing slower operating speeds. Well…..there are some reasons for that.


Moore's Law and Where We Are Today

You may have noticed that technology is increasing at break-neck speeds. In the 1960s, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation, stated that the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years. This became known as Moore’s Law. This is the benchmark that technology has followed in the expansion of computing power. Basically what this means is computers have been able to shrink in size and increase in processing speed very quickly and do so at an economically stable margin. Therefore, we have seen rapid changes in computers and the programs that we run on them. We now have tablets the size of a small library book and phones the size of a thin deck of cards that do almost everything our laptops and desktops do.

With the increased processing power and memory capacity of these new machines, the websites we visit are more technologically complicated in their use of graphics. Also, the programs and games that we run require more from our computers. For new computers, this is no problem, but for older machines, and here we are talking about machines that are maybe four to five years old, this is a difficult task. These increased requirements will definitely make a computer slow.

This is similar to asking a fifty year old man to challenge a twenty year old to a foot race. Unless the fifty year old is an Olympic marathon runner, the twenty year old is going to win the race. Now before you attack me for hating on fifty year olds, you need to understand that I’m pushing fifty and I know I couldn’t keep up with a twenty year old in a foot race and I used to be a runner.

Chrome, Chrome, Baby...

Another example of changes in computing: Back in 2008 when Google released its first version of Google Chrome, it was a fairly simple browser and didn’t require much of your computer in order to run. As we fast forward to 2014 and the newest version of Google Chrome we find that this browser is data intensive and is designed to sync all of our devises. These new demands often crash older systems or at the very least make a computer slow.

Next, we come to malware. Since April of 2014 we have been in a malware tsunami. That means that it doesn’t take much to load your machine up with malware. Even with anti-virus software, your machine is still vulnerable to new malware that hasn’t been detected by the AV software teams. Many people tend to run competing anti-virus software programs and in the process, crash their computer.

Adware Will Definitely Make a Computer Slow

Add to that headache the rise in adware programs. These usually get loaded onto your machine while you are updating existing programs, uploading games, or even changing your browser. While adware isn’t considered malware, it still eats up data and gives your processor an unnecessary workout by constantly running in the background behind other programs.

Any peripheral USB devices like light-show speakers, fans, pencil sharpeners, etc… can also bog down your computer. They basically are running off of the power supply that was designed to just run your computer.

These are only a few examples of things that can make a computer slow or even crash your computer. If you are unwilling to buy a new device every two years, then you will need to learn to slow down and appreciate the device you have now.

Does anyone remember the early days of the internet and dial-up? First you would initiate the connection to the net and then go start a pot of coffee. Next, you would click on AOL or CompuServe or whatever you were using and go pour a cup of coffee. You would then have time to go to the front porch and retrieve the morning newspaper. By the time you made it back to your desk, you had a connection to the internet. Could you imagine dealing with that kind of lag time now? I know many who threaten to throw their machine out of the window if Facebook doesn’t load in three seconds!

This article was originally posted in February 2015 on our Binary Aether Blog which is slowly being migrated here to our website.

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