I have mentioned before how I used to be a “chronic-upgrader”. 🙂 I would build my own computer, and then constantly upgrade it every few months when something new came out. This was before I had kids, a huge mortgage, and other bills and I could afford to spend money on new computer parts over and over. When I felt that I had an “old computer” it was fun to revamp and upgrade! And now? A lot of what I collected is in my basement! I am going to be donating it all to a good cause soon.
But, what if you have a fairly good desktop computer that just seems to need a little revamping? You might think that you want to invest in a new one, but you just don’t have the full budget to get what you want yet. Or, perhaps you want to embark on a little do-it-yourself project to feel accomplished and learn something new.
Here are 5 things that you can do to make an old computer feel like new.
Install More RAM (Memory)
If your computer can take it, this is the best and easiest way to give your computer a bit more oomph. What is RAM? Random Access Memory (RAM) provides space for your computer to read and write data to be accessed by the CPU (central processing unit). When people refer to a computer’s memory, they usually mean its RAM. If you add more RAM to your computer, you reduce the number of times your CPU must read data from your hard disk. This usually allows your computer to work considerably faster, as RAM is many times faster than a hard disk.
Head over to Crucial.com and use their easy tool to see how much RAM your computer can take. If it can be upgraded, go for it! Most computers can take a max of either 4gb or 8gb, but manufacturers do not usually include that by default. You may be able to double your RAM for as little as $50 depending on your computer.
You can also check out memory on Amazon.com.
Install a Larger, Faster Hard Drive
Your hard drive is where your files and programs are saved. As time goes by you may find yourself running out of space. It is fairly easy to install a new hard drive. You can either replace your existing one, or opt to install a secondary drive. Again, this depends on your computer configuration. The more space you have, the more you can get done without worrying about if you have enough space left to save that new movie file. As for speed, most desktops come with a hard drive that is only 5400 rpm. This is the default unless you upgrade it when you configure your computer during purchasing. This is decent for most uses, but a 7200 rpm hard drive accesses data faster which helps you work faster.
I also recommend a 1TB hard drive. This is plenty of space for installing programs, saving music, and photos. And, you want to get an SSD drive. SSD stand for Solid State Drive. A regular HDD (hard disk drive) has moving parts. Pretty much like an LP on a record player, a HDD has a mechanical arm with a read/write that moves around and reads information on a storage platter. These parts are vulnerable and can be easily damaged if a computer is dropped for example. In an SSD, there are no moving parts. It is very similar to a USB memory key. Data is stored in microchips. This difference also makes the SSD much faster.
And lastly, be sure that you know whether or not your computer uses an IDE or eSATA connection.
In the past few years prices have dropped quite a bit. There are great deals on all types of hard drives. Do your research, or even crack open your computer and investigate before ordering.
Add a Second Monitor
I’ve been used to working with 2 monitors for a few years. It makes a huge difference in productivity. Or, sometimes I display a movie on my 2nd screen while I work on the first. If you are a stickler for having things match, consider ordering a matching monitor for the one that you already have. Or, maybe you want to upgrade your current one too. There are some truly beautiful monitors out there that can increase your productivity.
I currently have a beautiful 27″ LG monitor connected to my iMac. Find a great monitor for yourself on Amazon!
Add a Blu-ray Drive (or DVD burner)
If you have an older computer, your computer may have only one a regular CD drive or CD burner. You can increase your multimedia productivity by adding a 2nd drive. Opt for a DVD burner at the least. This means when Christmas comes around and it is time to create those family slideshow discs, you can burn them twice a fast.
And if you have a newer laptop, you still may nee to add an optical drive. Many newer laptops no longer come with optical drives since not many use the anymore. However, it is always nice to have one handy for installing software, or burning disks.
There are a quite a few reasonable, universal options.
Install a New Video Card
Before you do #2, you may actually have to add a new video card to your machine. It would have to be one that supports dual monitors. And, this can help the performance of your computer because a better video card means that graphics will render faster, photos and movies will look better, and your computer will better handle games.
And once all of that is done, you want to make sure that your computer software is running up to speed. This means updating your virus software, scanning for spyware, and deleting unused programs. Need help? Check out…