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P Gaming Desktop Pavilion 590-p0007c Intel Core i7 8th Gen 8700 (3.20 GHz)
P Gaming Desktop Pavilion 590-p0007c Intel Core i7 8th Gen 8700 (3.20 GHz)

What’s The ideal Speed for Your PC

  • A 1.3 GHz processor and 2 to 4 GB of RAM is sufficient for using the internet and watching Blu-ray movies.
  • A 3.5 GHz processor and at least 8 GB of RAM are recommended for CPU-intensive gaming.
  • Check the individual RAM, processor, and internet speed requirements for the programs you want to use.

How fast of a processor you need depends on how you intend to use your PC. Most computers are overpowered for what the average user needs, so unless you play a lot of CPU-intensive online games, you can probably get by with an affordable desktop PC or budget laptop.

How Fast Does Your PC Need to Be?
The processor (CPU) and RAM are the two most important components to look at when accessing a computer’s speed. RAM is typically measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB) while processing speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz).

The everyday tasks that most users perform are so minimally hardware-intensive that the lowest-end processors in newer computers are plenty fast enough. For example, 2 to 4 GB of RAM and a 1.3 GHz Intel Core i3 processor would be completely fine for browsing the web, watching Blu-ray movies, and basic productivity tasks.

Internet Usage
Most people use computers for internet-related things only, such as sending emails, browsing the web, checking social media networks, and streaming media content. While such tasks might be restricted by the speed of your internet connection, they aren’t limited by processing power.

Productivity Tasks
Creating documents, editing spreadsheets, and putting together presentations for school or work fall under the category of productivity. With web-based tools like Google Docs, you don’t need to run software to compose and edit documents.

Playing Videos and Audio
Many people use their computers for watching movies or listening to music that is stored either on physical media (CD or DVD) or locally as digital files (MP3 audio files, MPEG videos, and others). Even with high definition video, computer hardware (the CPU, HDD, and RAM) has been optimized to handle the various standards so that very little computing power is required to watch a 1080p HD video.

If your computer has a Blu-ray drive, you’ll have no problem watching Blu-ray movies; however, the quality of the picture is limited by your screen resolution.

When to Buy a Faster Computer
If you plan to use your computer for any of the purposes listed below, then speed should play a factor in your decision:

  • Video editing
  • 3D animation
  • CAD software
  • GamingCheck the individual RAM and processor requirements for the programs you want to use before purchasing a PC.

IMPORTANT: You should also test your internet speed to make sure it meets the minimum requirements for online tasks like streaming videos and playing online games.

Video Editing
Video editing requires the computer to calculate the various frames one by one and then stitch them together along with an audio track. This is something that a low-end computer cannot perform in a timely manner. With a faster machine, you can see a live preview of the edits as you’re editing.

3D Animation
It takes a lot of computing power to build a 3D model out of polygons, but rendering 3D models is even more taxing. That’s why companies like Disney have huge banks of computers to produce spectacular animated movies.

CAD Software
Computer-aided design, or CAD, is used to create blueprints for products and buildings. CAD is demanding because it does a variety of computing dealing with the physical and material aspects to ensure that the design will function when it’s finally assembled. It can involve a great deal of high-level math involving calculus and scientific formulas to ensure accuracy.

All of the 3D graphics, HD audio, and complex AI make PC gaming hardware intensive. If you’re a hardcore gamer, you might want a PC built for gaming with multiple monitors, like UltraHD (4k) displays, to achieve more screen real estate. A system that has at least 8 GB of RAM and a 3.5 GHz processor is plenty for most video games.

IMPORTANT: Check the graphics hardware requirements for individual games to make sure your PC can play them.

What About Chromebooks?
Chromebooks are a popular alternative to PCs due to their low price and portability. These systems have fewer capabilities and less storage space than a traditional computer.

Chromebooks are primarily designed for internet connectivity, so they do not support the same programs found on a Windows or Mac device. Therefore, RAM and processing speed aren’t something you need to worry about when buying a Chromebook since the operating system is limited.

NOTE: Chromebooks also have limited potential for upgrades. While it’s possible to add more RAM or upgrade the CPU on a desktop computer, a Chromebook doesn’t offer that kind of flexibility.

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