Did you know over 161 million laptops were sold in the US in 2017?
That’s almost half the population of the nation. How many of those customers could have saved money by upgrading their PC instead of buying new out of the box?
Calculating potential savings in exactitude is impossible because we don’t know what they bought, what they already may have owned, and what their computer usage is like. However, what we can show you are upgrades you can make to your PC.
But before you ask, “What should I upgrade on my PC?”, it’s important to take stock of a few things first. We’ll get you started with that list and then talk about the most common upgrades and how they can enhance your PC’s performance.
What Do I Need To Know First?
Upgrading instead of replacing can save hundreds of dollars — maybe even more — depending on your system and what you’d replace it with. But it’d be a shame to buy before you really know what you need. You want to make sure you find upgrade parts which are compatible with your system.
To do this, you need to know your system specs before you upgrade. These can be hard to find, and if you have trouble with it, you might want to seek help from the pros. Once you know your system’s specs, you can start the hunt for the right upgrade parts.
Understand too how you’ll be using your upgraded PC going forward. For example, are you a gamer? Do you need to edit videos and images, or will you mostly be browsing the internet or writing?
The way you use your PC will impact which parts you buy and your budget. You should decide how much you’re willing to spend, too. Do some research and see what parts sell for, and determine ahead of time how much money you want to put into your upgrades.
What Should I Upgrade On My PC?
Now we come to the meat and potatoes of this guide: upgrades to enhance your PC.
Some of these will speed your machine up or cool it down. Some will be great for gamers. Some will be more difficult to install than others.
The good news for the latter is there are professional technicians you can turn to. Even if you feel like an upgrade is too difficult to perform yourself, you’re not trapped into dropping two grand on a new PC.
Switch To SSD
SSD, or solid state drive, replaces an HDD, or hard disk drive. Hard disk drives spin when used, which wears them out. They can also become fragmented.
Over time, computers have to work harder to access information on HDDs, which can slow things down. HDDs are obsolete, but many PCs are manufactured with them because either SSDs were too pricey when the computer was made or to cut down on costs of production.
The only downside to switching to an SSD is you won’t get as much storage for the dollar as with an HDD. But who doesn’t have cloud storage these days? You can also pair your internal SSD with an external SSD, giving you plenty of storage for less money than a larger internal SSD.
The upsides are many. Not only will your computer boot up faster, but it won’t take as long for programs to load. When programs need to use large files, they’ll also run faster with an SSD.
SSDs are more reliable and they have a lifespan about twice as long as an HDD. They’re also typically not that hard to install as upgrades go.
Up Your RAM
RAM, or random access memory, can help your PC perform more efficiently. If you don’t have enough RAM, your computer might be sluggish. However, you don’t need to overdo it either.
A good baseline is 8GB. If you need to do a lot of video editing, bump that up to 16GB. Hardcore gamers might want as much as 32GB RAM.
No matter how much RAM you install, make sure that it fits your motherboard. If it doesn’t, it’ll be useless.
Dedicated Graphics Card
If you’re a gamer or you plan to use multiple displays peripherally attached to your PC, you might want a dedicated graphics card. Most PCs come with integrated graphics cards. While these are improving in quality and capability, they’re not as powerful as a dedicated card.
If your cooling fan is on the fritz, you’ll notice your PC getting hot and sluggish. These parts don’t last forever, but can have varying lifespans depending on your PC usage.
Just remember that when your computer is cool, like an engine in a car, it performs at peak. Overheating places a strain on the system and can also be dangerous.
This is often an easier upgrade, like the SSD. PCs can last for years, but batteries may only have a lifespan of 18 to 24 months, depending on your usage. A new battery won’t speed up your machine but it can enhance its performance in that it can give you more freedom with your laptop.
Upgrading your processor can certainly improve your machine’s performance, but if you don’t know how to upgrade your PC or you’re new at it, you should definitely seek out the pros for this one. For one thing, if you don’t get the right part, it won’t work.
Installation is also pretty tricky with the processor. You might also need to get a new motherboard, which can make this one of the more expensive upgrades.