Has your PC started running slower than usual? Maybe you have tried optimizing the software side of your system but to no avail. In a situation like that, a physical upgrade of your system may be the only viable cause of action.
But which components should you upgrade? Where do you start? Which upgrades will give you the best speed increase for your money?
Why Upgrade PC?
Before you even consider upgrading your system, you need to first have some idea of what you hope to achieve by doing it. If you’re not clear on your motives, then there is a good chance that you may end up disappointed with the end results? Spending money is easy, but getting the results you desire can be quite difficult.
CPU, RAM, hard drive, and graphics card are all components that you can upgrade to enhance the overall performance of your machine. But you need to be clear on which component you’re upgrading and for what reason, in order to get the results you desire.
Is It Worth Upgrading?
Once you have a clear idea of what you want, the next thing you must do is ask yourself whether it’s worth your while upgrading.
First, is the problem you’re having with your system hardware related? A simple cleaning of your system can have a very positive effect on its performance. Upgrading your operating system and hardware drivers and removing clutter from the hard drive are all options that you can and should attempt before deciding on a physical upgrade.
You should also not rule out a physical cleaning of your system case. Clearing out dust can prevent the components from overheating, which in turn will increase performance.
The next question you must ask yourself is whether or not it’s worth spending money upgrading your computer. There are some upgrades, like increasing the RAM, which may be worthwhile even on much older systems.
But if you would like to increase your processing power, or something similar, you may find that you’ll have to acquire a new motherboard or system altogether to go down that path.
Which Components Should You Upgrade?
Although your upgrade should always be tailored to meet your current needs, there are some upgrades that make more sense than others, from a general perspective.
One of the easiest ways of upgrading your system is to add more memory to it. Increasing the amount of RAM in your system is both accessible and affordable, requiring very little technical expertise.
If you have never opened up your computer, then doing it to upgrade the RAM is the best place for you to start.
Upgrading the memory will deliver you that much needed instant performance increase. For tasks that require a lot of resources, such as gaming and video editing, adding more RAM will make these tasks that much easier. Even for the casual user, adding more RAM to the system will make your general applications run faster while allowing you to run more programs at once.
The next component you should look into upgrading is the graphics card. However, whether or not you should upgrade this component depends greatly on what you do on your computer. If you are a gamer or animator, then a graphics card upgrade will suit you well, if not, then you may never need to acquire a new card.
Skimping on the graphics card is one way PC manufacturers are able to save costs on their systems, as they go with an integrated graphics solution, rather than your high performance dedicated graphics cards. If your computer came with an integrated graphics card, then upgrading to a dedicated one should impact your system quite considerably.
There are two reasons why you should want to upgrade your hard drive, the first is if you are running out of hard drive space and the second is to improve performance.
If you have already tried various methods of freeing up hard drive space, but are still running short, then it may be ripe for you to purchase a larger hard drive.
When it comes to upgrading your hard drive, you should also consider hard drive speed. The speed of the drive is measured in RPMs, so look out for the fastest solutions.
That said, you could go one step further and just purchase a solid state drive. These drives use flash memory instead of your typical spinning disk and are considerably faster.
Upgrading the processor is definitely one of the more difficult tasks to successfully carry out. Not only can it be quite tricky to do, it can also be pretty expensive, in addition to the various things you’ll need to be aware of.
Of course, you have your compatibility issues with the other components, but they are much easier for you to work with. In addition to that, upgrading the processor doesn’t always yield the results that one is looking for.
The processor is only ever worth upgrading if whatever you intend to use on the system requires it. But it can be quite costly and in many cases will require you to install a brand new motherboard. Even if the motherboard is compatible with the processor that you intend to install on it, you may still need to upgrade the BIOS for it to work.
Ultimately, if the processor is the thing most responsible for your systems sluggish performance, you may find that you’re better off simply buying a new system altogether.
Of all the upgrades that you can apply to your computer, the motherboard without a doubt has to be the most difficult. This is because, all the other components, within the computer, attach to it. The motherboard is one component that you should only consider upgrading, f you are keen on a particular processor that is not compatible with your current setup. Upgrading the processor tends to give a minimal speed boost, especially when compared to the other components (as I have already explained) that you can upgrade, which is why motherboard upgrades typically aren’t really necessarily, unless your computer is very out-dated.
There are many other components, you can also upgrade, like the sound card, power supply unit and CD/DVD-ROM drives, but these components tend to have very little influence on actual system performance.
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Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website compuchenna.co.uk