Computer Hardware Upgrade Choice and Installation Simplified

Chances are if you're here, a computer hardware upgrade is probably in order. Choosing the right upgrade is often just like building a computer, to almost everyone, it's the hardest part.  Yet with a couple of checks we can do, we'll help make it a painless process.

If you are a gamer, you're probably going to look at the video card more than anything else when it comes to upgrades.  If you think you might be ready for a video card upgrade, a video card test will help you make a great informed decision.  

When a video card upgrade is no longer an option, it's usually because of socket changes or incompatibilities with the motherboard, in that case, it's time to sell your computer to an average computer user and just build your own computer from scratch.  Believe it or not, this is usually the cheaper option.

Some computer hardware upgrades will require your system specifications, learn how to

TIP! By using Windows Readyboost, you may be able to postpone an upgrade.

How to Choose Your Computer Hardware Upgrade

Typically, if you're not upgrading the video card because you're a gamer, the common upgrades are RAM, CPU, and Hard Drive.  The good news here is finding what you need to upgrade is pretty simple, then we just check to make sure you can perform the upgrade, and finally install the part or parts.

First on the list is usually RAM.  Most computers lack this, for whatever reason.  To check is simple.  Just open up task manager, the hot key is to press CTRL+ALT+Delete, at the bottom is will show you a percentage of RAM used.  Open up all the programs you typically have running and check this number.  Generally speaking, if this is over 70%, the computer hardware upgrade that you need is RAM.  There are 2 guides on this site that to teach you how to upgrade computer memory or how to upgrade RAM.  As you can see, here we are using 28% currently.

task manager memory

Second, the hard drive often becomes full because of the movies we like to store, digital pictures, and just everything we have on our computers.  To check this, simply open up My Computer on the desktop, then right click on drive C and go to properties.  This will give you a pie chart with how much room is used and how much is unused space on your computer.  Personally at 80% or more full I like to install a new hard drive.

Third, the CPU is another upgrade, to check and see whether it's time to upgrade this, hit CTRL+ALT+Delete again to bring up the task manager.  Run the programs you normally run, if at any time your CPU stays at 75% or greater for 60 seconds you'll benefit greatly from learning how to upgrade a CPU.

Of course you'll always benefit from any of the upgrades, this page is put together in a way that keeps budgeting in mind.  As a general rule of thumb for myself, when I need to replace or add to 2 of the 3 above, I simply choose to sell my computer to a non gaming user for a reasonable price, and build a completely new computer.

A used computer buyer can still have a great computer by picking up a computer that used to be a gaming machine, and you get to buy a new computer for less. Using this method I typically don't upgrade hardware often, I'll rather build a new computer.  Although if a computer part goes on a good sale price, like RAM, I often can't help but get an upgrade.

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Updated October 14 2013

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