It’s time to make a decision, upgrade that old slow PC or buy a new one. There are several factors to consider when choosing to upgrade or buy a new PC. Is your old PC running slow, unreliable, do you want to edit pictures or embark on graphic design?
These could be the questions your facing when deciding to buy a new PC. For some you may decide your old PC meets your needs or that you are on a budget and simply cannot afford the latest and greatest in computing. I am going to go over a few topics that will help you decide whether to keep that old PC running strong or when it’s time to buy new.
If your computer is over 4 years old you should consider buying a new one as time goes on they simply cannot keep up with the higher standards of today’s technology advancements.
Upgrading Your Computer’s Software
Upgrading your computer’s software may lead to a more efficient operating environment and can increase the stability of your computer. Along with increased security, software updates can add new features and reduce frustrations with added support. Something you should think about is once your operating system reaches a certain age the company may no longer support older versions.
One such operating system is Windows XP with support ending on April 8, 2014 Microsoft will no longer issue updates or support for XP. Upgrading to a new OS on an older computer may lead to compatibility issues. You should always check your System Information found in the control panel to assure that you meet the minimum requirements. Also you can check out Windows Compatibility Center.
Are you satisfied with your old operating system but it’s been running a little slow lately? Maybe upgrading to a new OS isn’t what you had in mind or it’s just not in your budget. It is good to do a monthly disk defrag on your hard drive to eliminate duplicate and unused files. You can also look into other disk cleaning utilities such as CCleaner. Another way to speed up your PC is to add an anti-virus program such as AVG or if you have an older computer you can try a low resource anti-virus such as Microsoft Security Essentials.
Keep in mind if you are running an operating system older than Windows XP such as Windows 2000/NT/98 it is no longer supported and you could be missing out on essential security updates, so it is my advice that you upgrade to a newer OS. Again if you don’t have a big spending budget there are ALWAYS alternatives. If you simply don’t have the money to spend on a new OS or overhauling your computer’s hardware, check into a free Linux operating system such as Ubuntu. Ubuntu desktop edition is a highly prized free OS that doesn’t need the high system resources that other operating systems may utilize.
Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard, Sound
A lot of times when people think about upgrading their PC they think about hardware components or operating systems. Maybe you have an older mouse with a roller ball that keeps getting hung up and you just want to get it replaced with a newer optical mouse. If your not wanting to opt in for the newer mouse simply remove your roller ball and clean it off with rubbing alcohol every now and then. Also spray out your old mouse with a can of compressed air to get the dust and junk out.
Are you tired of that same old dull monitor? Maybe you just want to watch video or play that newest game on something a little bigger and sharper. There are many reasons why one would want to upgrade to a new screen. If you have an older CRT monitor, getting a new LCD monitor can come with many benefits like less energy consumption, a brighter/clearer picture, no flicker, smaller thinner and less weight, and less glare. Maybe your an avid gamer who is looking for a crisp picture to go with your new game. The point is whether your looking to replace an old worn out CRT or you just want something a little bigger you can continue to use your new monitor even after you get a new PC.
Another simple PC upgrade is to replace your keyboard. If you have an old keyboard with stuck or missing keys then it can be satisfying to get a newer one. Over time your keyboard can develop dirt and gunk build up underneath keys. Maintaining your keyboard properly can prevent some of these things from happening.
A new sound system is a great upgrade for any PC owner. For those who are PC gamers or like watching you will appreciate your new sound system. Maybe you don’t game but watch movies or listen to music on your computer. Most PC’s come with an average at best sound system. Getting a new sound card or sound system can make a big difference in your PC new or old.
If your wanting to take advantage of some of the latest games, then maybe a newer graphics card isn’t so much for you. Most new games require not only an expensive graphics card but also newer processors and a lot of memory. But if your wanting images to be clear and crisp for your digital photography then this is for you. A new graphics card can support higher monitor resolutions for your desktop that can be a lot easier on your eyes. Memory isn’t everything when it comes to upgrading your PC, your GPU can give you a boost you’ve been wanting.
When purchasing a new Graphics card you should keep in mind your computers power consumption. Often graphics card’s can take up a considerable amount of power and if your power supply doesn’t have enough output you won’t able to power your new electronics. More about your power supply.
If your computer didn’t come with a CD-RW or a DVD-RW this could be a great time to get one at almost dirt cheap prices. Adding a CD-RW or DVD-RW is a fairly simple upgrade for those wanting to store their photos of make a home video. Another great reason for having a CD-RW is to make backups of important data or system restore points. For those of you who download mp3’s you can make your own music CD’s. A CD-RW/DVD-RW is a great plug and play upgrade with little computer experience required.
Computer memory is possibly the most bang for buck when it comes to upgrading your PC. A simple memory upgrade can bring your sluggish computer back to life. Keep in mind you should always research your motherboard to find out what memory you need and how much you can actually put on your computer.
It may be that your computer already has as much memory that can be supported. A 32-bit operating system can only support up to 4 gigs of memory so keep that in mind when your upgrading, don’t waste money on memory that can’t be allocated. If your computer is slow responding when opening programs or is taking to long to start up this could be signs you need some more memory.
You can check your systems memory by opening up your Command Prompt and entering in msinfo32.exe or by looking at your System Information in the control panel. A good rule of thumb is if your are just surfing the web and checking email on an older computer with windows xp or earlier then 512 megabytes is probably enough.
If you are unsure of your operating systems limits you can visit Memory Limits for Windows Releases and check out what your operating systems limits are.