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6 Computer Upgrades You Absolutely Need

published 2/22/2020

The estimated global IT spending in 2020 is a staggering $3.9 trillion.

Experts say that an increase in PC sales will contribute to this growth. Indeed, worldwide PC shipments in the 4th quarter of 2019 showed a 2.3 percent increase from 2018's 4th quarter. In total, there were 261.2 million PC units shipped throughout 2019.

This doesn't mean that you should just jump on the bandwagon though. Repairing rather than replacing computers can still make sense even for older models. Besides, there's a lot of computer upgrades that can boost your gear's speed and efficiency.

Ready to learn all about upgrading a computer or laptop, be it for your personal, home, or business use? Then let's dive right into it!

1. Get An External Hard Drive 

In the US alone, an estimated 140,000 hard drives crash and fail each week. While this is no doubt one of the worst things that can happen to computer users, small businesses have it worse. As many as six in 10 SMBs that suffer from data loss close down in half a year.

Whether you’re a regular or business computer user, it's best to always back up your data. For this, you’d need extra space where you can store your backup files. The simplest method, in this case, is to use a high-quality external hard drive.

Today, you’ll find External Hard Drives that can store up to 16 terabytes (TB) of data. That's equivalent to 16,000 gigabytes or 32 standard built-in computer hard drives. If you don’t need that humongous amount of space, you can simply get a 1TB or 2TB External Hard Drive.

2. Add A Second Internal Hard Drive

One reason you may have a slow-running computer is if you are low on hard drive space. Your computer needs sufficient free space for it to work properly and efficiently. Transferring files onto your External Hard Drive can help speed up an old laptop or PC.

Keep in mind, however, that this is different from having a backup. A backup is a second copy of your files, so if you completely transfer them to an external drive, you'll only have one copy. This puts you at risk of data loss in case something goes wrong.

You can get a separate External Hard Drive for files that you want to permanently move and remove from your PC or laptop. You can also install a second internal hard drive in your computer. Depending on the make and model of your laptop, it may also be compatible with a secondary HD.

3. Start Moving Some Of Your Data To The Cloud

Since there's always a risk of losing data backups, it's a good idea to have at least two backups. One could be via an External Hard Drive, the other being cloud storage. 

The cloud is also a good storage place for huge files that you don't access that often. If you'd rather not delete these files, move them to the cloud. This way, you can free up more valuable space on your PC or laptop. 

4. Ramp Up Your RAM

Your computer uses its random access memory for temporary and "near-future" data storage. This is where your PC or laptop loads programs or files that it thinks it needs to use very soon. Your equipment does this so that it can read the stuff it pre-loads really fast once it needs to read them.

To help get rid of any confusion, RAM is for short-term memory while a hard drive is for long-term memory.

Like the hard drive though, RAM can become overloaded when you make your computer do lots of things at the same time. Let’s say you always have half a dozen programs open and a dozen browser tabs running. If your computer is low on RAM, it's performance will become super slow.

Get more RAM to prevent yourself from pulling out your hair due to snail-like computer speed. This is one of the best steps on how to upgrade your PC and make it run faster and better. Upgrading RAM on a laptop is also possible for most models.

5. Invest In A New Or Extra Graphics Card

Graphics cards are responsible for processing and displaying images and videos. These are the devices that allow computers to display 3D graphics. They ease the processing load of your computer's main processor as well as its RAM.

Over time, your graphics card may no longer be up to the task of displaying HD photos and videos. Especially if you use a lot of photo or video editing/making tools. Your computer will take forever to load and may even crash.

You can help your PC keep up with graphics-heavy tasks by getting a new graphics card. Some desktops even let you plug in an extra graphics card.

We keep saying "PC" as most laptops have integrated graphics. Their graphics processing unit is permanently embedded in the motherboard. That makes laptop GPUs unremovable, unlike in most desktop computers.

Unless your goal is to boost display for gaming, you do have an option to plug in an extra graphics card to a laptop. You can find these laptop-compatible "cards" in a USB device form. Just connect it to one of your laptop's USB ports to run a separate external display screen.

6. A Bigger, Badder Fan

Overheating laptops and desktops can sustain serious and permanent hardware damage. While these devices do have internal fans, in many cases, they aren't enough to dissipate heat. Especially if you use them in a warm environment or if there's not enough space for your gear to "breathe."

You can help keep your devices stay cool by getting external fans. These fans help boost airflow, so that warm air doesn't stick around too long. 

For laptops, these typically come in the form of cooling pads. For PCs, these are separate fans that you attach outside and right by the CPU's vents.

Get These Computer Upgrades Now

You're now armed with a complete list of computer upgrades to keep an older PC or laptop working well. With these add-ons, you don't have to shell out thousands for an entirely new desktop or notebook.

Need professional computer help and advice for upgrading your desktop or laptop? Then swing by one of our locations! You can also give us a ring to schedule a house call in case you're too busy to come by one of our locations.