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Upgrading Your PC is not that Expensive Part 1

The lifetime of the modern PC isn’t very long as technology, PC manufacturers and software companies continue to conspire to make it even shorter, forcing individuals and companies to constantly purchase new units every three to five years. But for normal users with plenty of common sense about what their PC is actually used for and knowledge of how to upgrade, their units can last for up to ten years or more. That knowledge is what we seek to impart in this article and that upgrading your PC is not that expensive to do. Your aging PC should feel like new after doing some of the following:

    • Upgrading your RAM – your out-of-the-box desktop PC comes with a specific amount of RAM, the minimum standard today is 8GB, installed on the PC’s motherboard as a DIMM module on one of usually two slots. Most motherboards have two slots of RAM, one of which is used while the other is for a potential upgrade. Other boards for commercial or gaming use have four. To upgrade your RAM, you simply have to unplug the installed RAM to determine its type and all you need to do is purchase the same or something similar and then install both. After doing so, you should immediately notice some potential improvement in performance. RAM modules are nowadays very much affordable.

Upgrading Your PC is not that Expensive Part 1
Upgrading Your PC for Better Performance

Nowadays, if you have 4GB of RAM and install another four on a two-slot board, 8GB won’t be much of an improvement. If you have limited slots, there are DIMM modules that have double the capacity (ex: 8GB which is the same type and speed as your 4GB). You could purchase two 8GB DIMM modules and end up with 16GB of RAM which should significantly increase your PC’s performance to rely less on your slower hard disk’s swap file. The same goes for laptops.

Unfortunately, some modern laptops (often ultra-portables) come with their RAM soldered into the board, so a RAM upgrade isn’t an option. Another option and something just as speedy (perhaps even more so) is the next entry on this list.

    • Upgrade to an SSD – Most desktop PCs today come with mechanical hard disks for storage, named so after those fast-spinning magnetic disks inside those metallic ceramic casings. The problem with these disks is their mechanical nature wherein data is written and read on those spinning disks by a fast-moving mechanical head. The problem is that the disks and head don’t spin fast enough especially for consumer-grade hard disks that spin at only 5400rpm. Purchasing a hard disk that spin at 7200rpm should improve things a little but the best way to improve your PC’s performance is to invest in a Solid State Drive or an SSD. SSDs have no moving parts and is basically a large non-volatile SD card used on your phones.

Upgrade to an SSD

Upgrading to an SSD should make your storage run up to ten times faster and you will notice a significant performance boost even if you don’t upgrade your RAM. The downside is that compared to mechanical drives, the price per GB for SSDs is much higher. Your performance will be fast but your storage will be smaller. If you value performance and don’t have much to store, a 128GB SSD is the most affordable way to go but a 240GB SSD is just as affordable.

If you don’t care much for excessive storage, then upgrade to an SSD. Fortunately, growing SSD demand is gradually reducing the price. If you still need the storage, you can upgrade to an SSD and use your old hard disk as a secondary drive to store your less essential files.

    • Upgrading your graphics – as mentioned, you need to be aware of what your PC will be used for when purchasing. Most consumer PCs are used for business, browsing and social media but some would be used for graphics, video editing, gaming and engineering, and these PCs demand the best onboard graphics or rely on a graphics card. If you need to turn your PC into a gaming machine or need it to edit videos, then you will need a graphics card. A gaming PC deprived of its graphics card is comparable to most business machines or a home PC with a good processor. So all it takes to convert a PC into a basic gaming machine is to purchase a graphics card. If you’re a casual gamer on the side, there are affordable graphics cards out there or good used graphics cards on eBay. Even if you’re not a gamer, watching movies, viewing images and rendering spreadsheets and presentations will benefit from a graphics card.

Upgrading your graphics
High performance for gaming PC

On Part 2, we’ll discuss other options on upgrading your PC for a better experience.

Upgrading Your PC is not that Expensive Part 1

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The lifetime of the modern PC isn’t very long as technology, PC manufacturers and software companies continue to conspire to make it even shorter, forcing individuals and companies to constantly purchase new units every three...

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