Your computer is made up of lots of separate components. A pre-built one that you buy from the shop will have limits on what you can change. All-in-one computers and laptops aren’t good candidates for upgrading, so we’re focusing on desktop PCs here. This guide goes through the main parts you might want to upgrade, and will give you an idea of whether you can and if it’s worth it.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective parts you can upgrade is the memory (RAM). The more memory that the computer has, the more data it can handle. The cost of this upgrade will vary, depending on whether you choose an SSD or a HDD.
You might need to do a bit of research to make sure your computer can handle the upgrade though. A 32-bit version of Windows won’t be able to handle more than 4GB RAM. So, if you definitely still want to upgrade it, you’ll need to buy and download the 64-bit version. Bear in mind that to do this, you’ll need to completely wipe your computer, so make sure everything you need is backed up.
The next part you can look at changing is the hard drive. With the ever growing amount of data we store (pictures, videos and music etc), we need the space to keep it. If you don’t want to replace your hard drive completely, you can look at getting an external one instead.
If you do want a new one, you’ll need to choose between an SSD and a HDD. If you’re not sure about the differences, our Storage Wars article will help you.
Most of the time, the graphics card your computer comes with will be able to handle what you need. If you’re wanting to use the PC for gaming, or want a better performance from the games you already play, then you might need a new one.
How much it will cost depends on what you want to get from it. You can get a cheap one, but a high performing one will probably be quite pricey.
Most graphics cards have a power requirement too, so make sure you check that your power supply can support it before you buy one. The last thing to make sure of is that you've got enough room in your case for it.
Upgrading the processor in a pre-built PC is possible, but we don’t recommend doing it because the process is quite delicate and difficult to do. Even if you built your own computer, you can be tied down by the motherboard as to what you can replace it with.
An older processor will probably need the motherboard and memory replacing too, so it might just be time to think about replacing the computer itself.
As a rule of thumb, if the overall cost of the upgraded parts is more than 50% of the cost of a new and better computer, it’s advisable to get a replacement. If you do buy a new one, make sure you know where to get rid of the old one. Currys will help you recycle your old machine, or you can take it to your local recycling centre. Just make sure you don’t chuck it in your plastic/metal recycling with the tuna tins.
Hopefully now you've got an idea of the upgrades you can make to your computer. If you need more help, contact Team Knowhow experts.