Upgrading The Hardware On Your Computer
If you have gone through all the software tweaks you can think of to speed up your computer it may be time to consider upgrading its hardware. Obviously there is only so much a computer can do with the hardware resources it has. But there may be a few things you can do to increase your computers lifespan and or speed. If you have a laptop you will pretty much be limited to memory or hard drive but those can still make a hefty difference.
Memory is probably the first thing people think about when they are looking at upgrading their hardware. Most times it does help but there is such a thing as overkill. You can easily check how much memory you have installed by clicking start and right clicking on computer, then selecting properties. In the list you should see installed memory. If you aren’t doing anything insane like gaming or serious editing with video or music you probably don’t need more than 8 gigabytes of memory. You can check however to see where your performance “bottleneck” is by pressing CTRL + Shift + ESC simultaneously to bring up the task manager. Once you have launched the Task Manager click on the performance tab and see what percentage of memory your computer is using. If you are not using 80% or more while you are pushing your computer you probably have something else slowing your computer down. Likewise you can check processor usage the same way.
Your hard drive is hands dawn the most overlooked way to upgrade and speed your computer up. Solid State drives are really coming down in price lately and while generally have a smaller capacity than the standard Hard Disk Drives are way faster than a normal drive. It varies on the individual systems other hardware resources but most Windows 7 machines we replace the drive for a Solid State Drive can boot to the desktop in 30 seconds or less. Laptops will get even more benefits because SSD’s also have no moving parts and so therefore are more reliable and are less likely to have issues in the instance that your laptop takes a tumble. Additionally most manufacturers put drives that spin at slower RPM’s in laptops to reduce heat inside the case which means they are slower than traditional hard drives as well.
If you like to play games or are trying to use your PC on a big screen TV etc. you might want to look at replacing your graphics card. A graphics card helps take some of the load of pushing displayed graphics to your display as well as sometimes calculating geometry and sometimes physics and sound if you are playing games and have a card that can support that. Unfortunately most laptops have the graphics card integrated into the motherboard so you likely cannot replace or upgrade them individually unless you have a desktop.
The processor is the workhorse of the computer and while sometimes upgrading the CPU can be and effective low cost way to improve performance and increase the lifespan of your PC it is a very delicate balance. The problem with replacing the CPU is that with the speed that technology moves it is often a better idea to just replace the whole PC than to upgrade the CPU because of the cost to benefit ratio. But if you can find a better processor to fit your motherboard that is fairly inexpensive it is can certainly speed your system up.
I hope that this post helps you if in no other way than to at least be able to identify what is holding your computer back. If your Processor and memory are not being fully utilized and your computer is still running slow then the hard drive is likely the culprit unless you have a hardware problem somewhere. If you are playing games and they are choppy or poor quality and laggy the graphics card usually can help with that.