Three components of a computer that impact performance are random access memory (RAM), processor speed (CPU) and available hard drive space. All information updates are performed in memory by the processor. The information is saved permanently when it is written to disk. All three of these components will impact performance.
- Random Access Memory (RAM) – All work performed by a computer is done in memory. When information is created or modified by a computer it’s either created or moved into memory and changed then it’s written to disk. Computer memory can be viewed as a grid or blocks of spaces.
- Central Processing Unit (CPU) – The processor performs all data movement, calculations and information update functions on a computer. All information must be read into memory before it is modified then it is written back to disk to be saved. The speed of the processor impacts the ability of the computer to move data from place to place as well as the performance of calculations.
- Hard Disk – Disk storage is where information on a computer is permanently stored. When disk drives are new they will have a lot of empty space allowing storage to be easily read from and written to them. As more and more disk space gets used the computer will spend more time reading from and writing to disk.