Chapter 49. Performance Tuning Your System

Compared to most machines, a computer requires virtually no maintenance. That's because it has fewer moving parts compared to other machines. However, you can do to some things to keep your computer running at its optimum.

For example, the more the hard drive is used to store data, the more fragmented the data on the drive becomes. That doesn't pose any problems for reading the data, but it does slow down the process. To speed it up again, you can defragment the drive. This topic, and others that will help you optimize your computer's performance, are covered in this chapter.

Getting to Know Your System

A computer system is made up of many different components. The two main components that make up the actual "computer" are the CPU and RAM. The overall speed of your system is largely determined by the speed of your CPU and the amount of RAM in your system. The speed of a CPU is measured in gigahertz (GHz), billions of instructions per second, or for older (and slower) systems in megahertz (MHz), millions of instructions per second.

The amount of RAM determines how much data the CPU can work with at any one time without accessing the much slower hard drive. RAM chips do come in various speeds. But the ...

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