Are you looking for a faster computer, but not sure what to upgrade? To find out, follow our PC upgrade checklist.
Are you able to use your computer fast enough to do the things that you need? Is your computer slow to boot? Does Photoshop take too long to open? It’s likely that your hardware needs to be upgraded.
You might be wondering: “What upgrade should I make to my computer?” Which upgrades give you the most bang for your buck and which are wasteful? This guide will show you the top PC upgrades that you can make.
1. Why RAM Upgrades Are Important
Image Credit: Kingston
The easiest and most cost-effective way to upgrade your computer is to add more memory. It’s easy, affordable, and can be done on any computer. If your computer allows it, it’s one of the best upgrades for laptops.
This is the best place to begin if you have never opened your PC case.
An instant speed boost is possible with a RAM upgrade for almost all computers that are slow. For resource-intensive tasks such as gaming or video editing, more RAM is better.
Even casual users will benefit from more RAM. You can run more apps in the background and keep more tabs open in your browser.
How much RAM do I need?
- 4GB is the minimum. You can use it for browsing, with up to ten tabs and some photo editing. Video streaming is also possible.
- If you upgrade to 8GB , you’ll see a substantial improvement. This is great for multitasking, browsing up to 30 tabs, editing raw photos, and mid-range gaming.
- Heavy tasks require 16GB. This amount of memory is ideal for serious gaming, media editing, and any other pro-level tasks.
Also, you might want to take a look at Superfetch on Windows. It will affect your RAM and the best DDR4 RAM. This will improve your PC’s performance.
Crucial memory manufacturer has a PC Upgrade Advisor tool to help you determine the type of RAM compatible with your computer.
2. Upgrade the Graphics Card
Image Credit: Gigabyte
This is the second item on our list. However, if you are a serious gamer it should be the first thing that you upgrade. You might not need to upgrade it if you’re not a serious gamer, 3D animator or 3D modeler.
It is easy to cut costs by skimping on graphics, so PC manufacturers often opt for integrated graphic cards over dedicated graphics cards.
Modern systems have integrated graphics that are sufficient for most users. You can do Photoshop work and watch 4K video. Steam users account for around 10% of all gamers who use integrated graphics.
If you need to play VR or gaming, you can upgrade to a Radeon RX5700-XT. You can compare the performance of dedicated cards against your current option at gpu.userbenchmark.com.
3. A Faster Storage Drive
Image Credit: Samsung
You can upgrade your hard drive for one of two reasons: either you are running out space or you desire faster performance.
If your hard drive storage is full and you have not done enough, you may need to replace it with a larger model. A full hard drive can not only make it difficult to save new data but can also affect performance. Try to leave 10GB free space available for the operating system.
Consider upgrading your hard drive’s speed. If your current hard drive speed is 5400RPM, you can upgrade to a 7200RPM model.
One of the best computer upgrades is to upgrade to a solid state drive. These drives use flash memory rather than spinning disks and are much faster than standard hard disk drives.
A 5400RPM drive can write at speeds of up to 100Mbps on average. A 7200RPM drive may reach 150Mbps and a solid-state drive, up to 500Mbps. High-end SSDs, such as the Samsung 970EVO Plus, have incredible write speeds of 3300Mbps or more.
Ultimately, a faster data drive impacts your entire system. This means faster boot times and program loading times. It also speeds up the launch of games.
Solid-state drives were criticized for having smaller capacities and being more expensive than hard drives. This is technically still true, but it’s not as significant today.
1TB SSDs are becoming very common and affordable. Take a look at this SanDisk Flash SSD Plus. If you require more space, you can consider hybrid drives. This combination of both technologies gives you the best balance between speed AND size.
4. Upgrading the Processor
The task of upgrading your computer’s processor is more difficult than any other upgrades. It’s not only more difficult to install but also the most expensive upgrade. socket compatibility issues are also to be concerned about.
Importantly, a processor upgrade may not always be a good idea and may not provide the performance improvements you are looking for.
Cpubenchmark.net benchmarks can be used to compare the relative performance of different processors. These benchmark tests generally show that small updates don’t bring about big improvements.
It is not worth upgrading a processor if it is significantsuch as moving from an Intel Core i3 or i5 to a Core i5, and from an older generation of processors to a newer version. Do not choose a processor just because it is faster.
The cost of processors can be high and you may need to upgrade your motherboard. This could also mean that you will have to purchase new RAM. Even if your motherboard appears compatible with a new processor, it might need to be updated in order for it to function properly. This can be quite a hassle so make sure you do your research before buying.
If your processor is a speed bottleneck in your system, it might be worth looking into a new system.
5. How software upgrades can improve performance
Most likely, your programs are automatically updated. If you are not alerted to new versions of programs, you should click the Update button.
This is usually the right thing to do. However, this is not always the case. For a lot of software, the version number is depicted in the form of Major.Minor.Revision. If an update is 0.0.1 it will likely be bug fixes. It’s likely to include optimizations and minor new features if it is 0.1.0. You should immediately install minor and revision updates.
Major updates, which are changes in the complete version number, are a different matter. It is almost a given that programs that are newer will consume more resources than older versions. If your computer’s hardware is already stretched beyond its limits, it’s best to address this first.
This is true for operating system updates. Regular incremental updates are vital for security and performance reasons. However, whole new versions of the operating system are not. They are likely to have bugs and could slow down your system.
If your computer is working well, you might delay operating system upgrades until you are certain they won’t cause a major downgrade.
Software tweaks can often make your computer faster and more responsive without spending any money. This guide will show you how to speed up Windows 10.
What else should you upgrade?
Because all the parts that attach to the motherboard are attached, the motherboard is the most difficult upgrade. If you are determined to get a processor that is not compatible with your existing setup, it’s worth looking into. You won’t get much speed boost by itself.
You should also consider other components.
For example, a keen photographer would benefit from a faster Lightroom speed rather than a better monitor. A mechanical keyboard could also help writers be more productive.
Instead of focusing on speed, consider how you can improve your PC experience. While speed is important, it’s not all that matters.
You should ensure that you only purchase parts that will work with your current kit. PCPartPicker is a good tool to help you find and shop for the correct components.
The Best PC Upgrades For You
We recommend that you focus your attention on RAM, SSDs and graphics cards when upgrading your computer. You should tailor your upgrade to meet your specific needs. It is important to take the time to assess the problems in your system before you make a decision about a hardware upgrade.
We hope that you enjoy the products we recommend and discuss. MUO has sponsored and affiliate partnerships. This means that we get a portion of the revenue from your purchases. This doesn’t impact the price of your purchase and allows us to make the best product recommendations.