In challenging economic times like these it’s a tough decision between PC upgrades and the bills. Here are a few inexpensive upgrades that will make a big diffrence in performance.
Soild State Hard Drive
Technology has gotten to the point where the slowest componet of the computer is the hard drive. The hard drive is a mechanical device and is the most suceptable to failure. Solid state drives (SSD) use non-volitile memory chips similar to the ones in usb flash drives. This results in a speed increase in data retreival and a quiter and cooler running system. SSD drives are commonly used in netbooks. The price point has finally dropped to make it an affordable upgrade. In my opinion this is the biggest bang for your buck. A 64Gb SSD as of this writing is under $150 and replaces the noiseiest, least reliable, and slowest device in your box. Check out a previous post about SSD maintenance.
If you are using the intergrated video card on you motherboard you will see a decent improvement in performance by upgrading to a low to mid range graphics card. This upgrade could cost you more than you bargained for if you don’t do your homework. Some performance graphics may require addition power consdideration and motherboard support So you can’t just pick a high end graphics card and expect it to be a quick upgrade. If you do you research you will be surprised what a diffrence it can make even if all you do is write word docs or play farmville on facebook.
RAM is the cheapest it has ever been thanks to progress in process and technology. Newer operating systems and application have higher memory requirements and the feeling about memory has always been the more the better. Again you should do your research here and find out how much and what type of memory is compatible with you system. Cruicial.com is a good resource for memory research. When buying memory it is not just the amount but the speed. Make sure you get the highest speed RAM that works with you system. This make a larger diffrence than you may think. Keep in mind if the memory you have is slower speed than the upgrade you would want to replace the slower memory rather than add it to the faster memory since the RAM speed will be lowered to match the slower speed of the installed memory. Your memory wil only be as fast as slowest memory stick.
Even one of theses upgrades can make a significant increase in performance.