A Slow Computer Never Did Any Harm? Not According to a New Study

By Steve Anderson January 09, 2014

While much of the time, we like to say, oh, a slow computer never hurt anybody, new research from Crucial.com suggests that it may be time to buy a new computer before the old one does any more harm. The study in question noted that there's a lot of time lost every year to a slow computer, and that's time that could be going into getting more sleep, getting more exercise, or eating better, and that all adds up to a slow computer potentially doing damage to one's health.

The Crucial.com study, conducted by Harris Interactive back in October, revealed that on average, a typical American adult will lose about 16 minutes a day to waiting for a computer to boot up or load. Filling out the math on that leads to about two hours lost every week, or four days lost every year, just to a slow computer. What's more, 66 percent of respondents said that waiting for a system to perform tasks that the user knows should be done faster is one of the biggest frustrations faced in the normal line of duty.

That extra four days a year might well prove helpful; the study further noted that half of respondents were aware that there wasn't sufficient exercise being done, but there simply wasn't enough time in the day. 31 percent of those, if given more time, would increase the level of exercise completed. 39 percent, meanwhile, would like to get some home-cooking done, but again needed the time to do the job. Younger adults would choose to exercise more often at 37 percent of respondents, but even older adults—over 55—would turn to exercise just over a quarter of the time at 27 percent. Indeed, nearly half of adults at 45 percent said that the frustration of a slow computer left said respondents feeling more “drained” than even a hard workout would.

There are ways to improve a computer's performance short of a full replacement, of course; memory upgrades and the like can help do the job. But regardless of what method is actually used, it's clear that shoring up the computer's speed may well be helpful in the long term. Considering the growing number of computers being put to work, especially from people's homes as evidenced by both the growing mobile worker movement as well as the bring your own device (BYOD) doctrine, getting people back those four days every year lost to slow computers may be a smart idea indeed. That's not to say, of course, that people would automatically put those four days to work exercising, eating right and getting plenty of sleep, but there would almost certainly be more of those things involved, as well as rest and the pursuit of hobbies, which are important factors in everyday life as well.

The Crucial.com survey may be just a bit exaggerated, but it's underscoring a problem that may be at least worth looking into. People lose quite a bit of time to underperforming hardware, and shoring up that performance can get some time back. With people increasingly pressed for time in everyday life—even for those things which should be front-of-mind but so often fall by the wayside—getting back time in a day is a great way to improve life in general. It may not be the only solution, or the only problem, but any gain is gain that could be put to work effectively.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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