what factors most influence non-gaming performance

We all know that video cards are the most important aspect in gaming, but what effects "normal" Windows performance? For example, what determines how fast Windows displays a "New >" menu, or how fast IE starts up, or why the computer stutters around for 10 seconds after closing or opening a big application? etc etc. Is it CPU speed, memory, internal cache, HD speed, etc? Obviously it's all of those put together, but I assume some have a bigger impact than others. Any help would be appreciated!
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  1. what machine? many thing have an infulance,drivers,whats installed,software,etc.i set up a nice catch(page file) in windows/cpu means very little in speed, most times,cpu have a huge amont of headroom today,hard drive speed,pagefile and memory are the 3 big influnces in speed.sence windows use virt mem a fast hard drive is a must,limit pagefile swap and it speed up your system,but it all depends on what you do with your machine.list all parts and major software and what you use it for mainly.
  2. I'm not actually trying to upgrade or improve performance, I'm just curious for future reference when I get/build my next PC.
  3. Ram and hard drive rotational speed.

    On start up, everything has to be transferred from your hd to ram, so a fast hd is good here. Also, anytime you're starting up a program for the first time after a fresh boot, that's all hard drive dependent. And a fast HD means fast rotation speed, not necessarily a high ATA speed (ie, go for 7200 rpm ATA 100 over 5400 rpm ATA 133 <-- don't even exist IIRC, but this is just an example).

    Once you are in windows, any windows related things will be ram dependent. Ram is fast no matter if it's PC 133 or DDR 433 so it's not like you'll really notice the difference loading something from ram. What you WILL notice though is if your ram is full and windows has to go to swap to get the info. In this case, 1024 MB of PC 133 will be much faster than 64 MB of DDR 433.

    So for general non-gaming purposes, a high hd rotation speed and a lot of ram are what you're after.

    Some day I'll be rich and famous for inventing a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet.

    You can have plenty of RAM, and the fastest Hardrive, but if your CPU is slow, It'll definitely affect performance.

    <b><font color=purple>Listing your system specs, will greatly aid us, in being able to help you solve your problem.</font color=purple></b>
  5. Not for MS Word etc. He won't notice a huge difference opening up word docs with a 3.06 GHz cpu over a 1 GHz one...

    Some day I'll be rich and famous for inventing a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet.
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