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Which Computer Upgrades Will Give Me the Best Value for Money?

Old Computer needing upgrade

Time for a computer upgrade? If your PC or laptop is running slow, there’s no need to invest in a brand-new computer. Upgrading a few key parts of your machine can go a long way – but which parts should you start with? Fortunately, this question has a few easy, universal answers.
No matter what kind of computer you have, we know where to start when it comes to bringing out its true potential. In today’s blog, we delve into our top three upgrades and then wrap up with a short discussion of what else you could focus on.

RAM

A great starting upgrade is improving your computer’s Random Access Memory or RAM. It’s a fairly simple upgrade to make, even if you plan to do the work yourself or never even thought about getting inside your PC case before.
RAM is cheaper than most other upgrades too, even though it’s always a useful upgrade to make no matter what work you use your computer for. RAM upgrades can be made on both laptops and desktop computers, and improving your RAM imparts an instantaneous boost to almost any machine when opening and running multiple programs or resource intensive programs.
These days, many users expect their machines to be able to keep up with demanding tasks, like editing or rendering video and audio or running massive games. The more RAM you have, the faster taxing processes like these will run. That said, more RAM is still beneficial for very casual users, letting you run more apps simultaneously, and speeding up other general tasks.
The perfect amount of RAM really depends on what you plan to do with it, but 8GB tends to be a standard amount. Making the switch to 16GB is typically a low-cost adjustment and makes a noticeable difference in your day-to-day operation. For professional media editing, consider 16GB+ to really avoid the bottleneck of low performance caused by insufficient RAM.

Graphics Card

Next up is the Graphics Card. Unfortunately for Laptop users, this is most commonly a non-upgradeable part however for Desktop PC users, this can be a fantastic way to achieve better performance. At the heart of the Graphics card is the GPU which is a chip that operates similarly to your computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU), processing complicated data specific to video so that the CPU does not have to, therefore the better the Graphics card and CPU the higher performance you can expect to receive from your computer.
If you’re a serious gamer, a professional animator, or use 3D modelling in your career, or even if you just want to use multiple monitors with your PC it’s probably worth bumping this upgrade up to number one on the list. Graphical lag can be a wrench in the works of all of these tasks, and if your GPU can’t keep up, no amount of RAM, or Processing power is going to save you from stuttering frames and sudden freezes. As another fairly common upgrade. Desktop Graphics cards are built for different purposes and therefore come in various specifications starting from very basic home-oriented cards to high end gaming (GTX series) and professional rendering cards (such as the Quadro series).

Hard Drive or Solid State Drive

Our last core upgrade is another computer part that even the most casual of users are likely to have heard of. The hard disk of your computer basically represents how much room there is on it. This is important because maintaining a good amount of ‘empty space’ is important for the long-term health and performance of your computer. Disk space that isn’t being eaten up by your files is used for a variety of automatic tasks. If you have a full hard drive, the computer is unable to create files and directories automatically as often required by your programs, and this could lead to speed issues.
Nowadays, disk space can be very cheap. 1 Terabyte drives are no longer as expensive as they used to be, and this is due to improvements in the technology, allowing the capacity to be increased dramatically. You can now buy conventional Hard drives in sizes up to 12TB. Another improvement in technology is the invention of SSDs or Solid State Drives which can perform at much higher speeds than conventional mechanical hard drives as they do not have moving parts, for this reason they are more expensive. An SSD can be a fantastic way to dramatically increase the performance of your computer, and should be your first, go to upgrade. HDDs have always had a spinning disk, and this can wear out, causing sudden failures. HDDs are more susceptible to damage and a hard knock could misalign the spinning component of the disk. SSDs are mostly impervious to these concerns, due to the absence of moving parts.

What else can be upgraded?

There are a number of internal components and accessories that you can look into after upgrading the big three, such as software, processors, monitors and peripherals. These all depend on exactly what you need – a bigger or higher resolution monitor is useful for photographers running software like Lightroom, many web developers prefer using two monitors, and higher quality peripherals (such as keyboards and mice) are most useful to more intensive users ie; PC Gamers, Business professionals and content creators. To find out more about these upgrades, it’s best to talk to a Geek for computer help.
That said, you can rest assured that upgrading your RAM, Graphics Card, and SSD typically confer instant, noticeable changes to your computer experience, especially when you upgrade a combination of them. However, even with the universal benefits these cornerstone upgrades provide, technology is always advancing. Once you’ve dealt with the slowest part of your build, something else will fill that gap. The older your computer is, the more of an issue this becomes, so it’s worth talking to the experts about the benefits of an entirely new computer, especially if your current one is more than 5 years old.
For more information, talk to Geeks on Wheels today! Our Geeks can come directly to your home or office, and provide skilled, face-to-face advice. For new parts, expert tips, or PC repair, call now!