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We’ve all been there – late for an appointment and in need of directions to get there. Then, when you go to print them out, you waste previous time waiting for a program to load on your computer.
No one likes a slow computer, and most don’t think there’s anything they can do about it. The first step to fixing it, though, is understanding why it is slow in the first place.
When a computer ages it also slows down. This relationship is somewhat inherent because components need to operate in concert to perform well, and an old component will slow others down, regardless of their age. The relational nature in computer hardware, however, also makes time a relative concept, since dramatic technological advances in one area can have an impact on the perceived age and operational speed of other components.
Advances in storage technology
For well over a decade, hard disk drives have been the dominant storage technology. Initially, drives were vastly disparate and some would quickly become outdated by new manufacturing advances. Now, they all will behave pretty similarly and provide a reliable solution. Over time, HDDs became so dominant that software was tailored to work with the storage platform. This made transitioning to solid state drives, an utterly revolutionary storage device, difficult.
Initially, the technology gained a reputation for aging fast. At the time, any performance benefits achieved by the technology would be negated when users loaded the drive with significant amounts of data. It soon became clear that SSDs were slowing quickly because operating systems were optimized to work with HDDs, and could not handle SSD transfer speeds. These problems have been resolved, and SSDs are now lasting much longer before they age and begin to slow down, with most proving more reliable than HDDs.
The evolution of the SSD is a clear indication of how computer components are not affected by time in a linear way. Instead, they may seem to age fast because software is unable to support them properly. Once the technology had advanced to a point that the software could handle the hardware, the technology's lifecycle improved almost immediately.
Sudden technological advances in processing technology do not only impact the perceived age and speed of CPUs, but also affect the computer as a whole. When processor technology makes a major architectural jump, older components not only will seem old sooner, the motherboard and RAM may also be affected. New processing technology typically requires a new type of port. Therefore, a motherboard that would not normally get old or slow for three or four years could seem obsolete after just a month if a revolutionary line of processors uses a port technology that it cannot support.
Analyzing the impact of processing technologies makes it clear that time and slowness are not simply linear processes that act upon hardware in a consistent way. Instead, some hardware can be made to seem older or slower because other hardware has advanced faster than originally expected.
Measuring time in a non-linear environment
Because components are all intertwined, consumers need to not only look at the age of individual hardware, but also the relative age of their machine to evaluate if their computer is old or slow. For example, a blazingly fast SSD can be negated by an old processor that cannot handle data transfer rates or RAM that cannot store enough memory to handle new programs. Therefore, the computer may still operate like it is old, even though a key component is state-of-the-art.
For more information on DRAM, go to our Knowledge Base library or our news and information page. For additional information on Crucial DRAM products, go to our product pages or support center. We have lots of videos for you to watch on our YouTube Channel. And if you’re ready to take the plunge, use the Crucial Memory Advisor or the Crucial System Scanner.