Whether you use your PC for work, hobbies, or leisurely checking email and browsing the web, nothing is more annoying than waiting on files and crashing programs. If you think your only option is to throw out your computer and buy a new one, wait! There’s another way – computer upgrades!
You can save yourself hundreds of dollars (and the headache of using a slow computer) by doing some computer upgrades for its components instead. In this article, we’ll go over the various upgrades you can perform on your computer, to help it maintain peak performance. We’ll go over the physical, software, and hardware tasks and enhancements that can be done to extend the life of your PC.
Physical and Software Tasks
Let’s start with the easy stuff first. Before you research and purchase new PC components, give your computer a quick upgrade and inspection. After you’ve cleaned your hardware, turn your attention towards cleaning up your applications.
Dusting Your PC
An overheated PC is not a happy PC. A notable, but overlooked contributor to an overheated PC is dust. An easy way to combat overheating is to regularly remove dust and particles from your PC.
Cleaning your PC is easier than you think, and it’s a great way to familiarize yourself with your internal components before you begin replacing them.
Pro-Tip: If your PC is not already on an elevated surface, find one for it after you’ve finished dusting. Keeping your PC on a raised surface will reduce dust build-up, and minimize your need to clean it as often.
Cleaning Up Your Software
Another easy, affordable way to improve your PC’s performance is to give your internal processes a thorough clean-out.
Improve your PC’s speed and free up memory by removing old files, disabling unnecessary background programs, and updating your software. Old files and background programs add unnecessary bloat to your memory and processors, and outdated software poses security risks. Your computer will already be in a lot better shape after clearing out the internal dust and clutter.
Hardware Computer Upgrades
There is no set schedule by which you should upgrade your hardware components. Ultimately, your schedule is up to your budget, the tasks you perform on your PC, and your satisfaction with your computer’s performance.
Upgrading your computer’s hardware is fun (think of it like building a giant Lego set), but it’s not necessary to upgrade everything at once. Take a moment to observe the issues you’re having with your PC. From there you can decide what hardware improvements you need to do. Some common signs it’s time to upgrade your computer hardware include a slow boot after powering on, crashing or freezing programs, long file loads, and poor gaming, video, or image quality. If you’re unsure of what upgrades your computer needs, contact a local reputable IT company to help you with this.
Continue reading to learn how to upgrade the relevant hardware if you experience any of the above issues on your PC.
Upgrading Your SSD
Your PC’s Solid State Drive (SSD) is a memory storage component that uses flash memory to store your computer’s data. Your SSD is responsible for loading your operating system when you start your computer, launching programs, as well as reading and writing to files. If you’re frustrated with the start-up and loading speeds of your computer, it’s probably time to replace your SSD.
Replacing your SSD may seem like a considerable upfront cost, but it’s a valuable long-term investment, given SSDs have a long life-expectancy, and the price of these technologies are steadily declining. If you have a laptop, upgrading your SSD will improve your battery life, especially if your laptop uses a Hard Disk Drive.
When replacing your SSD, you will have to reinstall your system software. If you run into trouble while attempting to do this, your local IT company will be happy to assist you with this.
Upgrading Your HDD
The Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is a manual storage device for your computer that is commonly used for backing up data. Unlike the SSD, which uses flash memory to store data, your HDD uses a set of tiny moving parts—magnets, motors, and arms—to save data. This is one of the most important computer upgrades you can do.
These days, when people talk about upgrading their HDD they’re either talking about installing a larger drive, or removing it entirely to migrate to an SSD memory system. Your decision to install a larger HDD or remove it entirely will depend on your budget and preference. HDDs are a reliable, affordable storage technology that have been in use much longer compared to SSDs.
On the other hand, HDDs are much more delicate than SSDs; they are sensitive to excess heat, dust, and handling. Compared to SSDs, they are bigger, heavier, and are slower in finding and retrieving data. And because HDDs are composed of several moving parts, they are more prone to malfunction. Lastly, HDDs consume more power than SSDs, but this is usually only a problem if your PC setup is just a laptop.
Upgrading Your RAM
Another option for computer upgrades is to consider upgrading your RAM. Your Random Access Memory (RAM) is responsible for managing application data while your computer is turned on.
It may be time to upgrade your RAM if you’re the kind of PC user that likes to have tons of tabs and programs open at once and can’t bear any slowdowns. Fortunately, increasing your RAM is a quick and simple performance boost for your PC.
In most cases, upgrading your PC’s RAM to 8GB is sufficient for everyday tasks like internet browsing and word processing. You may want to consider more RAM if you depend on your computer for video, image, and model editing.
Pro-Tip: Before you upgrade your RAM, do a quick check of background programs that may be hogging your memory—like Google Chrome.
Upgrading your GPU
Your PC’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), also referred to as graphics cards or video cards, is responsible for rendering videos, games, images, models, and animations. If you’re an adamant gamer, animator, or video or image editor, you need high-quality graphics. If you need to render high-quality graphics, a modern GPU is key.
The ease of replacing your GPU depends on the type of CPU your PC has. Some processors have integrated GPUs, meaning the GPU is located on the CPU. Therefore, to replace your GPU would require you to replace your CPU. When you choose this method, it’s best to separate your GPU from your CPU. If you run into issues with this process, you may want to call your local IT company for help in order to prevent damage to your processor.
Upgrading Your CPU and Motherboard
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of your computer; it’s responsible for processing all tasks and actions performed by all of your computer’s components. The Motherboard is the spine, responsible for connecting the CPU to all of the other components.
You should rarely have to upgrade your CPU. When you do, keep in mind you will likely have to replace your motherboard to avoid compatibility issues. Fortunately, you usually don’t need to upgrade either unless one breaks, or your computer is really old. Your CPU and motherboard will rarely bottleneck your PC’s performance.
Installing a new motherboard will most likely require you to replace the rest of your components, since your existing hardware will assumedly be incompatible with your new Motherboard. This can be a complicated fix, and it is a good idea to get help from your local IT company for this.
Unless you have the time and budget for a complete PC overhaul—consider holding off on replacing your CPU and motherboard until absolutely necessary. In this scenario, you should consider if it’s worth your time and money to buy a new computer altogether. Your local IT company can give you the best advice on this matter.
Upgrading Your PSU
If you choose to do a PC rebuild, you may very well have to upgrade your Power Supply Unit (PSU), since the old PSU may not sufficiently power all of your new components.
Bonus: Upgrading Your PC’s Cooling System
It’s no secret electronics perform best under cooler conditions. This improvement caters more to PC experts and hobbyists; it is not an enhancement that will give you as dramatic performance results as upgrading your SSD or RAM.
When it comes to keeping your PC cool, there are tons of options. You can opt for a modest case fan, fans for your individual components, or a water cooling system.
Ready to Get Computer Upgrades?
As you can see, there are many things that can be done to upgrade your computer to keep it running in tip-top shape.
If you need help upgrading your PC, contact Datech. Our computer experts will be happy to assist you with any repairs or upgrades you are interested in.