So you just finished building your first custom PC. You’ve installed all of the state-of-the-art equipment and the latest and greatest operating system. You press the power button for the first time and you are amazed at how fast it loads. It is a truly mesmerizing experience. If you’re a geek you know what I’m talking about. It feels great right? Well get this, you might not be getting the most out of that awesome PC. I myself recently realized that my custom build PC was not running at 100% and that after a few simple modifications I gained a 20% increase in speed without any new hardware. These tweaks where due to my lack of knowledge and overall haste when originally building this PC.
Before we get started I wanted to say something that causes many slowdowns on new systems. These slowdowns are caused by users installing drivers from the CD included in your hardware packaging. These CD’s contain outdated drivers and sometimes broken software. Some of the biggest speed increases you will ever see will be by simply updating these drivers. Most driver updates can be found on the website of the hardware manufacturer. Before continuing with any other tweaks be sure to always download and install the latest drivers first. Okay, now we can move on.
Firstly, I had purchased and installed an OCZ Agility Solid State Drive in the system. My motherboard is a P55 SLI and supports both IDE, RAID and AHCI configurations. The issue was the motherboards default settings were set to IDE. Something that may not always be the best idea for a SSD. The best configuration is AHCI. This will allow the computer to pass TRIM commands to the drive as well as increase the overall speed of the controller by 50%.
RAM was second. My motherboard came with 2 x 2GBs of Corsair DDR3 1600Mhz memory. However, in the BIOS configuration the motherboard was set to only use this memory at 1333Mhz. Preventing the RAM from reaching full bus speed. After a quick modification in the systems BIOS it was running at a solid 1600Mhz. This was by far the largest increase in speed for the system. Improving the overall processing speed by almost 15%.
Lastly, was again the RAM. In my original haste I had installed the RAM in the first two slots. This prevented the RAM from running in dual channel mode and robbed me those benefits. Simply opening the case and installing the ram in slots 1 and 3 got me a 2% increase.
Overall I learned to take my time when building a PC and always make sure you get parts that work well together, not just the best parts. Check out the picture below for the before and after benchmarks.