Computer: Upgrade Considerations
your computer starting to slow down and show its age? Are you unable to
install and run new programs because of the speed, hard drive space or
memory requirements? It may be time to consider buying a new computer or
upgrading the one you have.
Upgrading your PC can involve
simple upgrades such as memory (RAM) or hard drives, or can be more
involved with processor and motherboard upgrades.
are some things to consider:
Memory (RAM) is one
of the most effective upgrades you can make on your system. RAM pricing
fluctuates frequently, based on the principles of supply and demand. At
present, RAM prices have dropped and upgrading your RAM is the least
expensive upgrade you can make. Some considerations for purchasing more
memory include access time and compatibility with existing RAM in your
system. The lower the memory's access time, the higher the CPU bus it will
support. On the other hand, quality is also very important. High-quality
memory has a better tolerance for higher CPU bus frequencies.
Don't be afraid to be extravagant when picking the size
of the memory, because the more memory you have, the less accesses Windows
will be making to its swap file (i.e. the virtual memory - or a portion of
the free hard drive it uses in performing normal operations). The swap
file is much slower than the regular memory, so it's very important to
maximize your faster RAM and limit the amount your system has to access
the slower virtual memory on your hard drive.
buying a new hard drive (HDD), many people only take into consideration
its size. But hard drives may also differ in terms of speed. Since the
hard drive is one of the major bottlenecks as far as the computer's
overall performance is concerned, it's extremely important to have a fast
drive if you want to have a fast computer. Even if the size of your
current drive fits your needs, a hard drive upgrade can give you a good
performance boost. When searching for a new hard drive, look for it's
access time (usually measured in milliseconds). It's like a summary of the
HDD's performance. The faster the HDD is, the smaller its access time.
Also, make sure to check out how much cache it has, and how many rotations
per minute it performs (RPM). In both cases, the bigger, the better. If
you have some extra money to spend, SCSI hard drives are much faster than
the regular IDE ones, but they're usually much more expensive as well, and
require a SCSI controller card, which you have to purchase separately.
They're definitely not the best bang for the buck, but if you're looking
for top performance, then they can't be beaten.
For your viewing pleasure... The video card in your
computer has a major impact on the way you view your work and games. 2D,
3D, video memory and refresh rates are all important considerations when
upgrading your video card. Most of the time, you are working in a 2D mode
on your computer - so a high 2D performance of the video card is
important. 3D performance is important for games and multimedia. If you
have a bigger monitor, such as a 21" one, make sure that your video
card supports the resolution you're expecting to use, at a comfortable
refresh rate (i.e. 75Hz or higher), and with at least 16-bit colors.
The performance difference between two video cards
using the same chipset may vary a lot, because other factors, such as the
quality of the RAM used in the card and the frequency at which the chipset
is running are important in the card's performance.
The connection type of the card (the slot on the
motherboard that the video card uses) also has an impact - AGP cards are
better than PCI ones, because the data bandwidth of the AGP slot is
greater, and also because the AGP bus is twice as fast as the PCI one.
Buying a CPU is a difficult task due to the wide range
of options. You can choose between Intel Pentium processors, or Celeron
and AMD chips. If you're interested in a CPU, the first thing to look for
is its performance in business and multimedia/gaming. You also need to
know whether or not your motherboard can work with the new CPU. You can
usually find this information at the manufacturer's website.
If you have determined that you will also need a new
motherboard to go along with the new CPU, always try to purchase a
motherboard that appears to have the best upgradability. The variety of
CPU bus options is the first thing to look for. It's very important to
have many CPU bus options if you want to maximize your CPU's performance.
Pseudo-sync memory bus is a good feature to look for, because it allows
you to use a faster CPU bus without having to purchase faster memory DIMMs.
As far as performance is concerned, the best thing to do is to find out
the motherboard's chipset. The chipset is the part of the motherboard
which is mostly responsible for its performance. If you're trying to find
out if a certain motherboard is fast but you don't have any benchmarks of
it, try to look at the scores of motherboards with the same chipset, the
performance won't be much different from those. If the type of
motherboard you intend to buy has a built-in L2 cache, try to look for the
one with the greater amount of cache. The price difference usually isn't
very high, but it can make quite a difference in performance. It's equally
important to find out how much memory your motherboard can cache. Because
if you exceed the maximum amount of cacheable memory, it will run much
slower. Make sure that the maximum amount of cacheable memory is big
enough to handle some of your future RAM upgrades. And finally, the
motherboard design is always crucial. Whenever it's possible, prefer the
ATX motherboards, because they tend to have a much better design than the
AT ones. A good number of PCI slots is good, so that you can accommodate
all your cards, and a greater amount of DIMM slots is also a plus.
When you are considering upgrades to your computer,
consider especially the cost of doing so. You may have spent $3,000 or
more on your computer 3 or 4 years ago. Upgrades to improve your computer
can cost you as much as buying a new system today, and you may not be able
to achieve the same performance with an upgraded system as a brand new
computer. For example, you may be able to upgrade your Pentium 200 MHz to
a 400 MHz system, but consider that new systems are now available at
speeds higher than 2GHz (more than 2000 MHz).
If upgrading your computer will cost you half of the
cost of a new system, you may wish to consider buying new.
professional consultation on determining if your PC needs upgrading,
please click HERE
or call (800) 297-9695.
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