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Want a quick and simple way to find out how fast a computer runs? Go to Start, right-click on Computer, and select Properties. Windows 7 should show you a rating. The base score is the lowest of the scores given for CPU, RAM, Graphics, and Hard Disk performance. Usually the rating is weighed down by your video card's performance. A "3" is ok, but a "5" is better.
A good place to check before buying any desktop pc or notebook computer is www.passmark.com. You may need to also check on the vendor’s website to get the exact model number of cpu used, but then plug that number into the search engine on the passmark site, and they’ll show you how well that cpu fares against others. Their charts can even be used to help comparison shop – if you find one that is a little faster, google it and see if a model using that one is in your price range.