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In most cases, the best thing about owning a PC is that when you need more storage space, better graphics, or for it to run faster you can upgrade. With some computers it might not even be worth upgrading as it would not make much difference, instead it might be more viable to have a custom PC built.

With laptops the most you can do is upgrade the storage space or the memory, but even that can make a world of difference, especially if things are running slow.

The big question is: when do you know it is time for an upgrade?


Hardware Upgrades

1. Replace your drives

The bottleneck in most PCs—that is, the slowest part of the PC that you find yourself waiting for most often—is the hard disk. New Solid-state drives are much faster than traditional magnetic hard drives, although they do offer less storage space per £ than convential hard drives they will speed up your system.

If your PC is only a few years old but it seems like the hard disk is the slowest part, you can probably boost its speed by upgrading it with a solid-state drive. You may even be able to upgrade your laptop with an SSD. Whatever you do, be sure to move your operating system and program files to the SSD, and in PC units you can use the older hard drive to backup files.


2. Upgrade your Random Access Memory (RAM)

More RAM can help too, but only if your PC doesn’t have enough of it already.

RAM holds your PC’s working memory. If you have too little RAM, your PC will have to constantly read and write to the pagefile on its hard drive, slowing everything down. If you go this route, be sure you buy the correct type of RAM for your PC.

To install the RAM, power off the PC, open it up, and snap in the new sticks of RAM. Some laptops even allow easy access to their RAM slots so you can upgrade their RAM. With laptops check first that you do not have to dismantle the unit to upgrade the memory.


3. Upgrade your CPU or graphics card

Other upgrades are a bit more niche. If you’re a gamer and want to run games on higher graphical settings, you may want to upgrade your PC’s graphics card.

Bear in mind that your performance bottleneck may be your CPU: If your CPU isn’t fast enough, upgrading your graphics card may not help much.

CPU upgrades are possible, but Intel regularly introduces new socket formats, which means new CPUs may not fit in older motherboards. Also note that an Intel CPU won’t work in a motherboard with an AMD CPU socket, and vice versa. You may have to upgrade your motherboard as well, and at that point, you may just want to think about buying or building a new computer.


Take care of your PC and it will keep you happy longer.


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