Do You Need a New Computer – or Just an Easy Upgrade?
Many computer users have gotten used to upgrading their hardware every couple of years, but these expensive replacements are not always necessary. It is possible these days to keep a car running without trouble for over a hundred thousand miles, and it is just as easy to keep that PC purring for many years. While it is true that technology changes at a rapid pace, taking advantage of those cool new features may not require a new computer.
While it is certainly true that the latest and greatest PCs provide plenty of power, cool new graphics capabilities and lots of storage capacity, the average computer user is unlikely to notice a big improvement. For the most part simple tasks like surfing the web, sending email and watching online videos can be performed just as well on a five year old computer as on a new one fresh out of the box.
There are many good reasons to put off a planned hardware upgrade, including of course the cost of a new computer. Even though computer prices have dropped quite a bit, buying a new PC is still a big commitment for most families. It can be more cost effective to invest in some simple upgrades to keep the old PC humming along a couple more years.
Swapping PCs can also be a time consuming and cumbersome process, requiring data to be transferred from one system to another. While there are many great tools designed to make this process easier, it can still be a daunting process, and one more reason to keep the old computer.
Many PC users assume that they need a hardware upgrade when their current computers start to run slowly, but in many cases this is simply not true. There are many things that cause computers to run slowly and display erratic behavior, and not all of them are related to faulty or old hardware. Often something as simple as adding additional memory or removing unneeded programs can bring a sluggish system back to life. Adding memory is cheap and easy, and a memory upgrade provides the greatest bang for the buck in the computer world. Doubling the memory capacity of the computer can greatly boost its speed, reliability and performance.
Adding additional storage capacity is another inexpensive way to boost performance and eliminate the need for an expensive new computer. As with memory, hard drive prices have fallen dramatically, and external hard drives are cheap, easy to install and widely available. Installing a high capacity external hard drive can be as simple as plugging in a USB cable, and adding that external storage is a great way to back up valuable data and free up hard drive space. A hard drive running at near capacity will start to run slowly since there is less space available for virtual memory allocation. Simply freeing up 10-15% of hard drive capacity can boost performance substantially.
Other external devices
Other external devices have become just as cheap, and the availability of these cheap devices can further reduce the need for an upgrade. These days it is quite simple to install an internal or external DVD burner, providing additional capacity to older machines and reducing the need to buy a whole new machine. DVD burners that once cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars can now be had for less than $50, providing one more compelling reason to hold off on the upgrade and spend your hard earned money keeping your current PC humming right along.