Compare Computers By Speeds

Collect speeds of different components

“Faster is better” is generally an axiom but not always necessary. An important thing to keep in mind is that not all speeds are created equal, meaning that you may need fast speeds in some parts of your computer, whereas a slower speed in some other component will be entirely sufficient for your needs. Every vendor will vouch that its computer is the fastest. It can get confusing to decide what should be the fastest thing you should go for in a computer. You should aim at getting the right speed in the right part of the computer, depending on your typical usage pattern.


1. Categorize the applications in terms of graphical or process or data intensive.

2. List the ports that your frequently used devices support.

3. List the types of networks and their speed (e.g., wired gigabit Ethernet/wireless 802.1n) you plan to use your computer in.

4. CPU processing speeds

Compare the front-side bus speed and the CPU speeds of the two computers. These numbers are typically in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz) and depict the speed at which the computer can process data. Choose higher processor speeds if you use the computer for process-intensive business or gaming applications.

5. RAM memory speed

Compare the RAM speed, generally in MHz. For most computer users, RAM speeds do not have a substantial effect on the experience.

6. Hard disk speed

Compare the disk speed, which is typically denoted by rpm (round per minutes). The faster the disk can spin, the sooner it can fetch the data needed by your application. Go for faster disks if you know you will be running data intensive applications on your computer.

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7. Graphics memory

Compare the graphics memory card. Viewing movies and playing games are graphics-intensive activities. Although the graphics card will not mention the processing speed, any extra video memory available in the graphics card will speed up graphics-intensive applications.

8. Wireless speed

Compare the network speeds. This speed can be either wired (Ethernet) or/and wireless.

Step 8a: For wired network connections, gigabit Ethernet is the higher speed available. Keep in mind that the network to which you connect should also support that speed. For most practical purposes 10/100 Mbps speed is sufficient to meet your network needs.

Step 8b: For wireless connections, 802.1b/g/n cards are available. With 802.1n being the fastest card with wider range. Bear in mind that you may also need to upgrade your wireless router to support a faster card.

9. USB speed

Compare the USB version supported. Higher versions will typically allow faster transfer rates. This speed becomes important if you plan to frequently use USB devices.

10. Firewire/iLink port

Check if IEEE 1394 port is available. This port is well known as Apple FireWire or Sony i.Link. This is an alternative to USB and supports much faster transfer rates. Look for this port in case you have devices that use FireWire technology.