Waiting for a lagging computer to work through a simple task can be frustrating. A swift restart sometimes does the trick, but it’s not always enough.
You may be tempted to trash your computer if it has been lagging excessively of late, but that’s not really a solution. In fact, you’ll likely deal with the same problem even with a newer computer.
The answer to a lagging PC lies in understanding how computer storage impacts speed. This article discusses storage in detail, including how it affects PC performance.
What is Computer Memory?
Understanding the basics of computer memory is the first step in grasping how computer storage impacts speed. “Computer memory” is the standard term used to describe the types of data storage a PC utilizes. Different computers use different types of data storage technology, but the most basic PC memory distinction is between random access memory (RAM) and read-only memory (ROM).
Understanding RAM versus ROM
RAM is an essential component that stores data and instructions for the programs your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) regularly uses to allow for seamless retrieval. If you have both Netflix and Word going at the same time, for example, the necessary information to use either is instantly available when you switch between them because RAM stores that data in real time.
A few facts about RAM:
- It is usually measured in Gigabytes and ranges from 2GB to 256GB, depending on the PC.
- RAM chips are made up of tiny capacitors that store data electronically and require a charge to maintain the data.
- This makes RAM volatile, which means all the data it stores is automatically erased whenever you shut down or restart your PC.
The key difference between RAM and ROM is that the latter is non-volatile. This means while RAM stores data temporarily, ROM stores information permanently. It holds data for PC programs whose instructions do not change, such as initial PC startup, and cannot be altered. Data on RAM, however, can be.
Unlike RAM, ROM does not require an electric recharge to save data since important program instructions are usually written into it using binary code. This means rebooting or shutting down your PC does not have any impact on it..
A few facts more facts on ROM:
- A ROM chip stores very limited — but incredibly important — permanent data such as the BIOS program and part of the initial startup software instructions.
- Common types of ROM include:
- Programmable read-only memory (PROM)
- Erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM)
- Electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM)
- ROM’s capacity is typically small compared to RAM and is more affordable.
How RAM Affects Storage
Does computer storage affect computer speed? In a word, yes. In a few more words, RAM has a direct impact on PC performance. Here’s how it works:
- The CPU retrieves pertinent data from the virtual memory and loads it onto RAM, where it’s easily accessible and readable, each time you run a program.
- When your RAM can no longer hold more data, your CPU is forced to read data directly from the virtual memory area.
- This results in lagging, since data on the virtual memory is neither instantly accessible nor easily readable as on RAM.
What this means is that the more RAM your computer has, the more program data it can hold — and that improves its overall CPU multitasking capabilities. Basically, with more RAM comes a greater digital countertop for you.Does Computer Storage Affect Speed?
Does Your Computer Need More Memory?
Learning the two main components of a PC’s internal memory — and how computer storage affects speed — is a great first step, but how will you know if your device’s RAM has enough capacity to handle everything you need it to do? The good news is there are are a few easy-to-spot signs that you might need more RAM for your PC:
- Low Memory Alerts
The easiest way to tell if your PC has insufficient RAM is if you start getting low memory alerts. These alerts often pop up randomly whenever you’re trying to run multiple applications, or even when you’re running just a single program in some cases. If you get these messages, then your computer has incredibly low system memory.
- The Dreaded Blue Screen
Another significant sign you have a RAM problem is when you get the dreaded blue screen before restarting. The blue screen typically flashes white code that you cannot even read, and often indicates that your computer has experienced some form of system crash.
- High Memory Usage
If your CPU is using 60% or above of its RAM on startup, you might need more RAM. Keep in mind that the more programs you have running simultaneously, the higher your RAM usage will be, so it’s best to check your PC’s RAM usage when you first boot it up. You can check your memory usage through your device’s task manager.
- Random Freezing and Restarting
If your computer has been working fine since you bought it, but applications have now become unresponsive or are taking too long to boot up, then you may have a RAM problem. Random freezing indicates the gradual deterioration of RAM. In some instances, your computer may restart itself when you least expect it. You might be busy typing away, only for it to reboot itself without warning.
- Lag When Typing
A stable computer is highly intuitive and responds the moment you press a key. However, if you notice that your computer lags when you type or that it doesn’t respond to commands, then you may have a RAM problem you need to tackle.
Why Does More Memory Help Computer Speed?
More memory improves the overall performance of your computer. More RAM means your CPU does not need to continually swap data back and forth between RAM and its virtual memory, for example, because more program data and instructions are instantly retrievable from the RAM. This improves overall performance.
Being aware of how computer storage affects speed and memory will keep you on alert for RAM problems and help you know when to fix them. The best part is you don’t need to wait for an IT expert to help out! You can typically solve the problem by deleting unnecessary files from your PC to create more storage space.
Here’s the catch, though: Deleted data and programs usually go into your computer’s recycle bin, which means they are still using up space — even when you empty it. Files still exist elsewhere in your computer’s memory unless you permanently delete them using a digital file shredder like Shred Cube. This will go a long way in improving your computer’s performance without you having to shell out hundreds of dollars on RAM. Ready to augment the performance of your computer? Get in touch with a Shred Cube consultant today to learn how it works.