A slow computer brings out the worst in all of us. Because when you’re in a hurry and the unresponsive figurative workhorse is being stubbornly lethargic, you’re reminded of your capricious place in the universe’s grand scheme; you are thus left with few choices but it usually boils down to dealing with the frustration of a slow device. The other choice is upgrading your PC.
Violent taps and acceptable levels of workplace rage won’t work here in hurrying up the computer. Certain components are known for dragging the computer down and changing or upgrading your PC by prioritizing these components will save you time and energy.
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Of course, there are other scenarios as well; perhaps you just want to know which upgrades will yield the most noticeable difference in performance. So in descending order of which upgrade parts to prioritize, check out these components.
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When people refer to a computer as fast, the bootup is usually the first thing they’ll notice. Back in the days of hard disks, PCs typically booted up slow– anywhere from 30 seconds to a full minute before that Windows screen starts showing its iconic wallpaper.
But thanks to SSDs, computers are now a lot faster in both booting up and many other operations such as installation or file searching. So in case your computer still comes with an HDD, then you might want to change it to an SSD. Booting up with an SSD can take as little as seven to ten seconds on average.
Or in case it has a slow SSD, you can opt for the small NVMe SSDs that the latest motherboards support.
A computer that runs hot is a computer that runs slow. So if you find your computer reaching temperature peaks past 80 degrees Celsius or if the fans are whining too much, then it’s time to consider aftermarket cooling options.
PC cases typically support 120mm fans; you might want to go for something like the Noctua Fans as these are the best in the industry at pulling in more air. Ideally, you’d want more intake pressure than exhaust pressure to minimize dust buildup.
Fans are thankfully cheap upgrade options but they do make a big difference in temperatures depending on their quality and brand.
Aftermarket CPU Cooling
Speaking of aftermarket cooling solutions, the CPU could also use some tender loving care especially if you left it with the stock fan configuration. It’s well known that stock CPU coolers are generally terrible at their intended job and are noisy as well.
So save yourself the trouble of tolerating their whining and poor performance by getting either an air cooler or a liquid cooler for your CPU, depending on its model.
An i5/Ryzen 5 to i7/Ryzen 7 CPU usually only needs air cooling; more powerful chips such as an overclockable i7/Ryzen 7 and an i9/Ryzen 9 requires something more robust like liquid cooling.
If you do want to see a huge difference when it comes to gaming or desktop resolution, then a newer GPU is mandatory. However, it’s typically the most expensive component of a computer and also the most power-hungry so upgrade this only if you have the allotted budget for it or if your current GPU is more than three years old.
The GPU, after all, is the most important component when it comes to gaming. How much you need or want depends on your preferences for gaming framerate or graphical quality.
Just remember that wanting prettier graphics is a costly hobby since video game graphics advance quite rapidly these days and are thus becoming more and more demanding.
A monitor is a pretty big upgrade since it can also be expensive. However, it’s easily one of the most worthy components when upgrading your PC. A bigger screen or a monitor with a higher resolution or a higher refresh rate is the quality of life improvement you never thought you needed.
Also once you’ve experienced the latest monitor technology, it’s hard to go back to older options.
If you do find that your eyes are hurting more than usual after prolonged staring at the screen or you want something bigger and more visually appealing for either gaming or work, then a more beautiful monitor makes a world of difference.
Most non-budget computers these days come with 16GB of DDR4 memory anyway so there’s not much of a need to upgrade from that amount. However, if your PC was a low-end or budget option, chances are, it was only equipped with 8GB.
In that case, you can go ahead and purchase an additional 8GB for it assuming there are still available RAM or memory slots on the motherboard.
32GB is also a good target but is typically overkill for most video games; we only recommend it if you’re using your PC for digital media work.
As for upgrading from DDR4 to DDR5, it’s not really that big of a boost in performance to justify the huge upgrade cost; you would also need a new motherboard and potentially a new CPU when upgrading from DDR4 to DDR5.
Upgrading your CPU is a tricky prospect. Because the act typically involves purchasing a new motherboard and a new set of RAM to go along with it.
That’s because CPU manufacturers typically change their compatible sockets every two or three generations. Also, CPU upgrades can get tedious since they would also require you to purge your old Windows installation in order to clear any old driver bugs.
So upgrading your CPU might as well mean purchasing a whole new PC.
As such, we don’t recommend it; what we do suggest when picking out a CPU when purchasing a new PC is to always go for more cores or the higher-end option since upgrading CPUs is not only costly but time-consuming so you’d want it to last for five years at least.
Ideally, when the time comes that you need to upgrade a CPU should also be the same time you would need a new computer as well.
The same idea applies here to the motherboard. It’s a component that you should treat similar to the CPU when it comes to purchasing a new computer.
For motherboards, you should purchase the biggest one your budget can afford when first buying your PC; it should also ideally come with as many USB, fan, and storage slots (including M.2) as possible.
Because the goal is to not upgrade the motherboard at all. Upgrading the motherboard often results in no discernible performance increases.
At best, you’d just upgrade your motherboard to accommodate M.2 NVMe drives or more PCIe slots. But even those offer questionable performance benefits. It’s best not to cheap out on the motherboard and always keep your future needs in mind when picking one.
In other words, you’d want to avoid having to upgrade your motherboard in the future when it comes to upgrading your PC. Besides, upgrading your PC motherboard is not fun or brief, unlike upgrading other PC components.
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