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Is your PC worth upgrading?

Deciding to upgrade your PC is no mean feat.

motherboard with ram installed
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

Your computer has run into issues. Perhaps it loads pages forever, hangs like crazy when you run multiple programs, or takes ages to boot. One thing is for sure – you need a change. The decision to buy a brand-new PC has certainly crossed your mind. However, you can’t help but wonder if you can upgrade or boost the hardware of what you have and save some coins in the process.

Upgrading does wonders for the right PC. It can revamp your otherwise underperforming and slow machine into a giant PC that will blow your mind. The best part is that it can help you save a pretty penny. On the flip side, it is not the best option under certain circumstances. So, should you upgrade your PC?

What’s The Issue In The First Place?

Most people simply decide that their machine needs an upgrade because it is slow. General slowness sometimes doesn’t need that much of an update. You have to be clear on why you need an upgrade and what you hope to achieve at the end of it. Don’t simply say that you want a fast PC. You might end up using loads of cash just to add a new part only for you to be disappointed.

Think specifics. What exactly is the problem? Does the machine lag when you open multiple apps? Do the programs take forever to launch? Is your games’ frame rate too low? Perhaps the PC has started getting noisy or too hot? Each problem can be solved by doing a specific upgrade.

What if we told you that sometimes a simple spring cleaning can solve your issue? Something like dust can cause overheating and noise. In such a case, cleaning can revitalize your machine and get it fast and quiet again.

Also, things like deleting obsolete files, updating the OS, and eliminating unwanted programs can have a positive effect on the performance of the PC. In short, you need to know the issue at hand before you decide to spend money doing an upgrade.

Check For Compatibility

The second thing to consider before upgrading your machine is compatibility. Not all motherboards support anything and everything. Check the information on your motherboard chipset to know the RAM and CPU the computer supports. If the system doesn’t have this information, check online using your computer’s model. Ideally, if the motherboard is old and doesn’t support GPU, CPU, and RAM, it is certainly not worth upgrading.

Laptop or desktop?

This seems like a non-issue as both versions can be upgraded but it is a huge factor. High-end laptops tend to have fewer upgrade choices compared to desktops. In most cases, you can only upgrade the RAM and the internal storage in your laptop. If it’s hot, you can also add a cooler but that’s about it. On the other hand, a desktop gives you flexibility as far as upgrading is concerned.

Parts To Be Upgraded 

Upgrading a PC is a complex undertaking. The part to be upgraded determines whether it is worth it or not. If you want a gaming PC, for instance, a video card upgrade is always the way to go. While doing this is expensive, it is way cheaper than getting a new computer.

Getting a new display is also less expensive than getting a new computer. This is especially true if you have a screen that is smaller than 17 inches or don’t use a flat-panel display. Simply upgrade and enjoy your PC more.

Other things like RAM and storage also make sense to upgrade. On the other hand, upgrading the motherboard and CPU is almost equal to replacing the entire machine. In such a case, it is advisable to buy a new PC rather than upgrading what you already have.

When an upgrade is not worth it

While upgrading is the best option for revamping your PC, replacing it sometimes the smartest move. One of the reasons is if the computer is so old that it is not compatible with new parts. Examples are hard drives that need IDE connections and PSUs that come with 20 pins designed to old motherboards that indicate trouble.

In the same breath, if the PC’s main components don’t support the latest OS version because of hardware or driver compatibility issues, it’s time to replace it. Also, if an upgrade is more expensive than buying a new machine, it is not worth it. You are better off with brand-new hardware that performs better than waking up a dead horse in the name of upgrading.

Deciding to upgrade your PC is no mean feat. You ask yourself so many questions to make sure you make an informed choice. Essentially, if you are doing normal upgrades like RAM, storage, graphics card, and display, upgrading is always a good option. Otherwise, if your PC has an old motherboard that is not compatible with new parts, consider replacing it.

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