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 amount of RAM you have, more so than its speed, really determines the overall speed of your system. RAM is measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). A megabyte is roughly a million bytes. (A byte is the amount of memory required to store approximately a single character, such as the letter A.). A gigabyte (GB) is 1,024 megabytes. In short, the faster your CPU and the more RAM the computer has, the better its performance.

Knowing your CPU and RAM

To see the brand name and speed of your processor and the amount of RAM you have, right-click your Computer icon from File Explorer and choose Properties. Or, show the Charms Bar, type sys, click Settings, and click System in the Settings list. The System Control Panel applet that opens shows the basic computer information as well as information about the version of Windows you’re using, as you can see in Figure ...

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