Speed Up Everything

Is your PC dragging? Does your broadband network creep along at dial-up speeds? These fixes will get you in the fast lane

Route Traffic Intelligently

Online games, streaming-media programs, Internet phone services, and peer-to-peer applications such as BitTorrent consume a lot of network bandwidth due to the massive amounts data they transmit. To reduce the amount of strain such apps put on your router and to improve your overall network performance, manage them more efficiently with your router's port-forwarding feature.

Log in to your router's configuration screen. Search for an option that lets you specify port forwarding; it will be labeled slightly differently from one router to another. Once you've found it, type in your system's internal IP address (usually in the form of 192.*.*.*), and then input the preferred port found in your application's configuration screen (for instance, in Skype it's located under Tools, Options, Advanced, Connection). Pick both TCP and UDP protocols for forwarding, and save your settings.

To see if your chosen port actually has a clear tunnel through your network to the Internet, fire up the application and visit CanYouSeeMe.org. Input your port number and click the Check button--if you get a 'success' response, you're all set.

Choose a Fast Hard Drive

Though we live in an age of cheap, readily available storage, the sheer number of choices available can make selecting the right drive a tricky proposition. But choosing a fast drive--whether internal or external--can have a massive impact on your PC's performance, as well as on that of your network. Here are some things to consider when selecting a new drive.

Decide Between Internal and External

The big advantage to external storage is obvious: You can hide it for safekeeping or take it with you on the road. Most home users choose external storage for backups. With an external drive, though, you'll probably sacrifice speed. External attachment technologies such as USB, FireWire 400/800, and ethernet are slower than the connections for internal storage; only eSATA can match the data-transfer speeds of internal drives. If you're faced with a choice and you want maximum compatibility, choose USB. A much better option is a triple- or quad-interface box (USB/FireWire 400/eSATA, or USB/FireWire 400-800/eSATA) that allows you the fastest possible connection under any circumstance.

Use Fast Connections

For internal storage, SATA connections are the best, fastest choice--and these days, SATA is most likely the primary (or only) drive connector in your PC. Drives with the older PATA connector are still available in up to 750GB capacities, so you can replace the PATA drive in an older system. If your older system has a SATA bus, however, use it instead.

SATA drives also have the unique ability to work externally, in eSATA enclosures. eSATA is far speedier than USB or FireWire, though your PC may require an add-on card to support this type of connector.

Examine Drive Specs

Outside of a laptop or netbook, it's rare these days to find a drive that runs at less than 7200 rpm; you shouldn't even consider anything slower for a desktop PC. Windows performance will improve noticeably as the speed of the hard drive increases.

You'll find 10,000-rpm and 15,000-rpm hard drives, but they carry a premium, and you might not notice much of a performance gain. Unless you have an eSATA connection, don't bother with such drives for external use--slower buses would merely throttle the drive's speed, negating any potential for extra performance.

The amount of cache on a drive affects performance, as well, but not usually significantly. You'll also see some ecofriendly drives with as much as 32GB of cache, and high-performance drives with only 8MB. Be sure to get 8MB or more; beyond that, however, don't worry about it.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags tutorialHow to

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?