Has your PC become so slow and inconvenient that you almost dread using it? If so, you’re at a crossroads where it’s time to make one of two choices: buy a brand-new PC, or put a little TLC into the one you have.
Unless you’re a regular Nelson Rockefeller, the idea of buying a costly new PC is probably a daunting one. Thankfully, you don’t have to break the bank just yet. There are several affordable yet effective upgrades that can boost not only your PC’s speed, but also your experience using it.
Three Letters: SSD
Does your internal hard drive sound like it’s hosting the Industrial Revolution, with metal clamoring away? That’s because you still have one of those hard drives that functions by putting mechanical parts to work. It might as well be a dinosaur.
The first thing you should do to upgrade your PC is install a solid state drive (or SSD). Because SSDs don’t require any moving parts, your PC can relax more when executing commands, which boosts its performance speed.
Installation of SSDs was pricey when they were first introduced, but costs have since dropped considerably. You can install an SSD yourself for under $100, or, if you’re not a DIY type with computers, a professional can usually install it for under $300.
And Three More Letters: RAM
For PC performance, there’s no greater currency than memory. The more gigabytes of memory a PC has, the smoother it will run, and the more work you’ll be able to take off your plate.
If your PC is spotty when you’re trying to multitask, consider infusing it with more random-access memory, or RAM. Keep your eyes peeled for sales, and you can usually reel in 8GB of RAM for under $70.
Add More Ports
You know how you can conveniently plug in a surge protector to open up more outlets next to your home entertainment system? A docking station enables you to apply that same convenience to your PC.
Docking stations come equipped with several computer ports, so you’ll never have to play musical chairs with your USB cables again. Plus, they’re really sleek, so they won’t be in your way.
Clean Out the Back
No matter how often you use your PC, the back of your hard drive is going to start looking like an abandoned garage with all the dust that accumulates over time. And when your hard drive’s fans and various parts get clogged, it overheats your PC, which results in slowdowns.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution to this. Buy a can of compressed air, and occasionally pop open the back of your hard drive and spray away.
Enhance Your Monitor
If you’ve grown tired with the visual experience of the screen staring back at you, maybe it’s time for a higher resolution monitor.
Most high-res computer monitors are reasonably priced somewhere in the ballpark of $100. And if you’re an avid PC gamer, for not much extra, you can purchase a monitor with AMD FreeSync Technology, which eliminates screen tearing from your gaming experience.
Add an External Hard Drive
Let’s say that you want to try boosting your PC’s speed by deleting files, but there aren’t any you want to delete permanently. With an external hard drive, you can have your cake and eat it too.
External hard drives are essentially like a storage unit. You can put files on it that you don’t need at the moment, and they’ll be right there waiting for you as soon as you do.
Unless you want one with mammoth storage, external hard drives are typically very light, both in weight and cost.
Give Your Fingers the Best
If you don’t have a mechanical keyboard yet, you’re missing out. Unlike clunky industry standard keyboards, mechanical keyboards:
- Can be customized for comfort based on how hard and fast you type
- Allow for a higher number of keys to be pressed simultaneously (which is particularly clutch for gamers)
- Last roughly five times as long before they wear out
You can usually find a capable mechanical keyboard for around $50.
On a similar note, you can upgrade to a mouse that’s more capable and comfortable to the touch for relatively cheap as well.
Give These a Shot Before You Give up
If your PC is old, there’s a chance you’ll have to bite the bullet and replace it. But trying these steps first could help you give your PC a significant upgrade without breaking the bank.