When to Upgrade your Computer

If your computer has been losing performance overtime, and the cause is not related to Viruses or Malware, a simple computer upgrade can often spring it back to life and allow you to extend its useful life. A Desktop Computer has more flexibility then a Laptop when it comes to upgrading its internal components. Virtually any component inside your Desktop Computer can be replaced with a newer, better performing one, making it only a matter of cost when trying to decide whether to upgrade. Laptops on the other hand, are known to be more difficult and often more expensive to upgrade, due to the smaller form factor you have to deal with. Nonetheless, there are still upgrade choices that can increase a Laptop’s performance at a reasonable cost.

Computer Upgrade Options

Memory Upgrade

The first thing you might want upgrade is the computer’s Primary Memory, also known as RAM. This type of memory only holds data temporarily and only until your computer is powered off. Not to be confused with the space available on your Hard Disk Drive, which would be considered Secondary Memory instead. The data on a Hard Disk Drive stays, even when you turn your computer off. If your Desktop Computer has less than 16GB of Primary Memory, you definitely want to upgrade it to at least this amount. Primary Memory is faster than Secondary Memory and it’s used to store information that needs to be readily available. When a computer runs out of usable Primary Memory, it will begin using the space on your Hard Disk Drive. Since this has a slower data transfer rate than Primary Memory, operations that have to make use of Hard Disk Drive tend to take longer to complete.

Upgrading your computer’s Primary Memory will give you the most increase in performance for the amount of money. The boost in performance will be most noticeable for computers that initially had less to begin with. For example, the performance increase that you achieve going from 4GB to 16GB will be more noticeable than going from 8GB to 16GB. Increasing your computer memory will make it more responsive, and you will especially notice a better performance when running multiple programs at the same time.

Hard Disk Drive UpgradeA picture of the inside of a Hard Disk Drive

The second thing you might want to consider upgrading, to boost your computer’s performance, is upgrading your Hard Disk Drive. This is considered Secondary Memory and it’s where all your data is stored (your Documents, Pictures, Videos, etc…). Besides the obvious reason of needing additional space, Hard Disk Drive can also be upgraded to use faster models. Hard Disk Drives for the general consumer are sold in two different speeds: 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM. RPM stands for revolutions per minute, and it’s used to measure the rotational speeds of hard disk platters. All other things being equal, faster spinning platters translate to quicker hard disk drives, which can increase overall computer performance.

Laptops often come with a 5400 RPM Hard Disk Drive. Upgrading your Hard Disk Drive is another way of increasing your computer’s performance. Be aware that some of the latest Laptops come with an SSD Hard Disk Drive. This is a new type of Hard Disk Drive that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently, instead of the traditional spinning discs. These type of drives are already as fast as they get and should not be upgraded for the reasons specified here.

It should be noted that since your Hard Disk Drive already contains your information, this type of upgrade is not as easy as installing additional memory in your computer, because you will need copy your data over to the new disk. However, Hard Disk Drive Manufacturers have started including a software tool with their Disks, which help users move data over with a simple wizard. If you don’t feel up to the task and your Office is located within our service area, we can upgrade your Hard Disk Drive for you.

Video Card Upgrade

A picture of a generic consumer grade Video Card

Upgrading a Video Card is a must, if you use your computer to perform graphics intensive tasks. Video Editing, Photo Processing, Video Gaming are some of the most common graphics intensive tasks. Computer manufacturers often ship their computers without a dedicated graphic card to maximize their revenue. A computer without a dedicated Video Card uses the on-board one instead. The on-board Video Card is just another hardware component that comes standard with computers nowadays. This card is only powerful enough for common things like browsing the net, checking your emails, playing videos and viewing pictures, among other things.

If you use your computer for anything other than these tasks, upgrading your Video Card will give you a noticeable boost in performance. Your computer would have a dedicated piece of hardware that takes care of handling graphics tasks, which will free you processor and allow it to focus on other operations. Upgrading the Video Card on your Desktop Computer is as easy as installing new memory. You just need to ensure that you purchase a Video Card compatible with your specific computer. Unfortunately this is often an upgrade that cannot be performed on a Laptop. If your Office is located within our service area, contact us to check if your computer’s Video Card can be upgraded and to obtain an estimate on how much it will cost to upgrade your system.

Which Component to Upgrade First

Replacing slow, obsolete parts on your current computer can sometimes be a lot cheaper than buying a new computer, and extend its life for many more years. Often just a few small upgrades can make a world of difference in your computer’s speed and overall performance. Upgrading the Primary Memory (RAM) is generally done first because it’s the easiest upgrade. Nothing else needs to be done after installing additional memory and your computer will immediately be able to take advantage of it. Upgrading the Hard Disk Drive or the Video Card on the other hand require additional steps. However, which component is best to spend your hard earned money on first, is determined on a case by case basis. Contact us if you have any questions about which upgrades options would provide you the biggest “bang for the buck”.