There are many reasons why a computer is running too slowly. One of the most feared is a problem that users know by the name of PC bottleneck. This usually occurs when we try to update the hardware to adapt our equipment to new needs or when we play a particularly demanding game, although in reality it can appear at any time.
In our article we are going to see what we can do to diagnose the problem and, above all, what are the best methods to solve it. But first we have to know exactly what is going on. Go ahead, in most cases, there is a solution.
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What is the "bottleneck"?
In the jargon used by computer technicians, this is known as a "PC bottleneck" (PC Bottleneck in English) to the situation that occurs when any of the internal components of the computer is running at a speed much lower than the rest. As if in a symphony orchestra there was an instrument that is playing at a different beat, breaking the harmony of the whole.
The consequences of this mismatch is that at certain times the PC seems to get stuck, even frozen, something that negatively affects its overall performance.
El bottleneck simile it is quite descriptive and helps us understand what exactly is happening on our computer. At the bottom of a bottle, the one that is widest, the liquid has more space to move freely. On the other hand, if we turn the bottle over, the liquid will rush towards the narrowest part. Thus, when it comes to pouring the liquid, it will not come out with all the fluidity we need.
In a PC there are several components capable of handling data at high speed, thus maintaining a fast communication with the rest of the components. But when the data transmission runs into a component that is slowing down or not working as expected, the workflow slows down, slowing down the processes that the computer runs. In some cases it can even paralyze you.
Symptoms that we are facing a PC bottleneck
The very operation of the computer is what gives us the clues that warn us that we could be suffering from a "bottleneck". These are some of the señales that should set off our alarms:
- Our computer stays "hung" for no reason, or with the frozen screen.
- Startup or boot takes too long.
- The operation is slow, even when we perform simple tasks.
- Programs take a long time to open and close.
- Games have lag issues and even crash.
On the Internet there are some very practical online tools to identify this type of problem. And also to prevent it. They are called “bottleneck calculators”. Among the best and most popular, we must mention the one on the web PC builds or of CPU Agent.
How do these calculators work? Too easy. As we show in the image above, it is simply a matter of entering a series of data and characteristics of our PC: the processor type, Graphic card, screen resolution, etc. Then you have to select the type of task you want to perform with this configuration and click the "Calculate" button to test the result. This is expressed as a percentage of possibilities that exist that one of these bottlenecks will occur.
It must be said that the results of these calculators are not one hundred percent accurate, although they are reliable enough to be able to establish a good diagnosis of the situation.
Other alternative method to identify the problem is to open the task manager with the Ctrl + Alt + Delete key combination and check the components one by one from the performance tab.
Where to act to solve the problem
The methods mentioned above will give us the clue as to where we should intervene to get rid of the PC bottleneck. This problem usually occurs mostly between CPU and GPU, It is quite logical, if we stop to think about it, since these components are the two that make the greatest calculation effort and are constantly exchanging information. But the origin may be elsewhere. For each component that fails, there is a solution that we can try to apply:
If the fault is located in the CPU, the most practical thing to do is reduce the workload we assign. There are some effective ways to do that: close programs that we are not using through the task manager or disable some of those programs that start by default at startup. In the most extreme cases, you should also consider replacing the CPU with a new one.
When the bottleneck is caused by this component, it also hthere are many solutions that we can try: clean the graphics card of dust, modify the screen settings to make it less "demanding", check that the graphics card drivers are up to date, etc. It will also help to use a lower resolution when playing.
Although it is true that most of the time the bottleneck is solved by acting on the CPU or the GPU, there are other components that we cannot lose sight of:
- RAM: If it is insufficient, it must be increased to avoid the bottlenecks. This can be achieved from the "Virtual Memory" option in the "Advanced system settings" menu. Another possibility is to expand the RAM memory with an external device, if our computer offers us another input slot.
- HDD: The performance of any PC improves significantly when we replace your old hard drive with an SSD. There is even the possibility of having two different hard drives: the "slow" one to save files and the other "fast" one to play games and run programs.
- Base Plate: In this case, a good cleaning of the hob or its replacement is recommended in case it has deteriorated too much.