PC sales are down more or less across the board. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (unless you happen to be a PC manufacturer, of course). The truth is that almost any Windows machine sold in the last five years can handle surfing the web, checking email, and even streaming high-resolution video. Depending on the hardware, it might even be able to handle some recent games as well. There are very few times when spending a thousand dollars or more on a new laptop or desktop is absolutely necessary.
But that doesn’t mean your PC can’t be improved. Upgrading a few parts is almost always cheaper than buying a new one, and it’s not as difficult as you think. Here’s a quick guide to the best ways to improve an older machine.
Upgrading your desktop
Despite a move to laptops over the last decade, desktop PCs remain solid choices for anyone who wants a cheap machine, or one that can be upgraded easily.
Most desktop upgrades focus on components that attach the the motherboard, processor excluded. If you think about a computer like a car, then consider the following — the motherboard is like the frame, and the processor is like the engine. If either has become inadequate, that’s a good sign a new machine, rather than an upgrade, is warranted.
But there are other options for quick and cheap upgrades. RAM (memory) is classically the best way to improve a sluggish machine, and it remains relevant. Adding more RAM, or even replacing the DIMMs (the technical term for a stick of memory) entirely, is a quick and easy process that doesn’t require any adjustments to your operating system. An 8GB upgrade can be had for under $50, and a whopping 16GB upgrade is going for less than $100.
Changing out a storage drive is more complex than replacing RAM. You’ll need to connect the SATA power and data cables to your computer’s power supply and motherboard, respectively, and either transfer your operating system to the new drive, or install it from scratch. It’s an excellent idea to back up your crucial files to an external drive, or a cloud storage service like Dropbox, before starting the installation process.
For a guide on upgrading your hard drive to an SSD, click here.
Add or upgrade your video card
Most desktop PCs come with an integrated graphics processor that can run a monitor right off of the motherboard. But if you’d like to be able to play newer, more attractive games, a discrete graphics card from AMD or Nvidia will be needed. Graphics cards plug into a PCIe slot on the motherboard, and some also require an open rail on the power supply.
Accessories like a new monitor, keyboard, or mouse won’t make your desktop computer any faster, but they can make using it more comfortable. If your Internet speed is lagging and you’re on a wireless connection, a new Wi-Fi adapter with access to faster standards might do the trick, so long as your Wi-Fi router is also compatible.
‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…
Upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10 is usually a breeze, but sometimes you run into issues. Never fear though, our guide will help you isolate the issue at hand and solve it in a timely manner.
If you're a fan of Razer's understated aesthetics that earned the Blade comparisons with Apple's laptops, you can score some big savings on Black Friday, as Razer is offering up to $500 discounts off of its gaming notebooks.
Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you, step by step.
Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
HP is offering a discount to Black Friday shoppers for a bundle that includes its leather-wrapped answer to Apple's MacBook Air. HP is offering a $100 discount on the Spectre Folio 13 when bundled with a mouse and leather sleeve.
The Black Friday 2018 sales period is finally here and it's brought with it a tonne of great component deals. We've been scouring websites and catalogs for days to find you the best graphics cards deals for Black Friday 2018.
The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Don't be intimidated. Learning how to cancel Amazon Prime is easier than you might think. You might even get a partial or full refund on the cost, depending on how much you've used it. Check out our quick-hit guide for doing so.
Editing PDF files can be a real pain, but there are a few tricks to make the process a bit easier. This guide will give you three easy methods for how to edit a PDF, two of which work without needing Adobe Acrobat.