For PC users, upgrading your computer
is an inevitability. Eventually, your current setup will become obsolete. Newer
games require higher system requirements each time. With graphics and in-game
world sizes improving each time, hardware requirements skyrocket. For
non-players, upgrading is also necessary.
Performance of the PC depends
on the hardware. For you to enjoy even the basics such as video streaming and
internet browsing, you still need a decent setup. While older PCs are capable
of doing these basic tasks, it boils down to convenience. Can you wait for a
long time before your PC loads programs? Do you have the patience to go through
long startup times? Can you handle choppy video streaming and visually
unappealing items on your screen?
However, upgrading your
system is not a decision to be taken lightly. For most people, upgrading a PC
involves money – and lots of it. If you have a tight budget, you have to decide.
See if it needs a boost or if you should stick with it a bit longer. Graphics
cards, processors, motherboards, memory, and even power supplies and coolers –
your PC demands a lot. For those with small budgets, replacing everything is out of the question.
On a budget, the next step is
prioritizing which to replace first.
If you need it for games, the graphics card should be one of the first things
you need to upgrade. For general performance, memory and processor is key. If
you need more space, getting a larger hard drive should be top of your list. It
may need a bit of micromanaging, but with the right amount of research, you can
find your solution.
So how can you tell if it is
time to replace your old hardware?
A Matter of Time
First, you should not feel
bad about considering an upgrade. No matter how much you take care of your PC, eventually
hardware starts to break down. With constant use, hardware degrades. Upgrading
a PC in this case becomes a matter of improving performance. All new versions
of programs have higher system requirements than the last. You cannot expect
one PC to handle all programs through the years.
This goes double for
computers built at least five years ago. A lot can happen in five years –
programs became more resource-intensive, games have higher requirements. What may
have been an advanced setup at the time may be completely obsolete today.
Gaming computers also have a shorter lifespan. The constant heat generated by
its many moving parts when playing games can take a toll.
A Matter of Malfunction
Upgrading your PC also means
replacing old and potentially dangerous hardware. As years progress, newer
hardware offer more optimization to their items. This can be in the form of
more efficient fans or even surge resistance. Older models have a higher risk
of failure the longer they are in commission. Older hardware may also lack in
fire protection, making your device a hazard.
Hard drives for example have
a shelf life of five years. External hard drives are half that – because of the
added bumps and movement. Graphics cards can last ten years with moderate use. The
main issue with graphics cards is that they become outdated quickly.
A Matter of Performance
The biggest reason to upgrade
is toimprove performance. This is a subjective assessment, as you are
the one who uses it regularly. If you have trouble running games from previous
years and want to play new ones, you have to upgrade. If you feel like
processing times on programs take too long, or you have a program that requires
higher specs, then it is time.
Graphics cards for instance
are not only for video games. Several programs require a capable card in order
to function properly. Photo Editing programs require a good graphics card to
reach their potential. Without one, you get a laggy, limited program that is
more frustrating than useful.
Even the hard drive can affect performance. While it may seem like just a storage area for files, the hard
drive can actually affect the length of loading
times. For players, consider getting a Solid State Drive (SSD) over the regular
Hard Disk Drive (HDD). While it costs more, the difference in performance is
incredible. SDD users report booting up their PC as fast as 5 seconds after
pressing the power button.
A Matter of Compatibility
Compatibility is another
reason why people upgrade their systems. For instance, graphics cards need to be compatible with the motherboard as well
as the casing itself. If your casing is too small, your new graphics card may
not fit inside with all the other components. Cards meant for gaming are very
bulky, often having two (or more) fans attached.
Newer monitors now also use
HDMI cables instead of the old VGA sockets. This means that newer monitors will
not be able to connect to graphics cards that only have VGA sockets. Likewise,
newer graphics cards cannot connect to older monitors that require VGA. Memory cards are also not immune to
compatibility issues. Your motherboard only allows one type of memory. You have
to know whether yours accepts DDR2, DDR3, etc. before buying new ones.
A Matter of Research
Regardless of your reason, upgrading
your setup is no easy task. You have to do a lot of research before finalizing
on what to buy. This way, you avoid buying the wrong item. Common mistakes when
Buying hardware incompatible with the rest of the
Buying inferior / outdated hardware
Buying a piece when a better, newer item is available
around the same price range
Most of these issues can be
avoided by doing the proper research. Knowing your PC parts’ models, names, and
compatibilities is a great start. Make sure to research each part properly, and
always compare prices. Remember – the more expensive choice may not be the
better of the two. Checking online for reviews, comments, and tests can give
you an idea on what benefits you more.