5 easy ways to upgrade your gaming PC

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One of the benefits of owning a desktop gaming PC is that when a certain part becomes obsolete, you can easily replace it. You don’t need to buy an entirely new machine (take that, laptops!).

With newer, more graphically intense games constantly coming out, many gamers will want to update their setups. This will help them get more complete and immersive gaming experiences.

If you’re wondering if it’s time to replace one or two components, here’s a guide on how to upgrade your PC – if you even need to.

In case you need a refresher, be sure to check out our “how to build a gaming PC” series of guides, including choosing the right parts, assembly, and troubleshooting.

Switch from HDD to SSD

Hard disk

(Image credit: Pexels)

The most obvious benefit of upgrading your PC’s storage is, well, having more storage. With hard disk drives (HDDs), different models have different rotational speeds (5400 RPM, 7200 RPM, etc.). Since higher spin rates give you better write speeds, upgrading your hard drive to a hard drive with a higher RPM can give your system a boost and reduce loading speeds. Game.

Even better: upgrading your hard drive to an SSD can dramatically improve your PC’s performance. SSDs have a much faster write speed than HDDs. You can also buy an SSD without breaking the bank. Models like the Samsung 860 EVO 500GB are around $75 on Amazon.

However, larger capacity SSDs can be a bit more expensive than equivalent hard drives. If you’re looking to cut costs, a budget workaround would be to buy a smaller SSD (think 250GB) exclusively for your operating system. Then you can use one hard drive for all other program files. Game load times won’t be as fast as they could be, but you’ll be able to enjoy faster PC boot times.

Upgrading your RAM

Motherboard with RAM

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If you’re a fan of content creation and video editing, upgrading your RAM is another easy way to boost your overall performance. Think of it this way: if your computer were a living organism, then a hard drive/SSD would be its long-term memory and RAM would be its short-term memory. RAM temporarily stores all operations running on your PC.

Upgrading your RAM is relatively inexpensive and simple to do. The process simply involves inserting additional RAM modules into your PC’s motherboard. However, the problem is that unless you plan to use memory-intensive programs like Adobe Premiere Pro, you might not need to fill all the free RAM slots.

The general consensus is that most gamers won’t need anything beyond 16GB of RAM. Having more RAM than your system uses offers little benefit, so don’t look to upgrade for upgrade’s sake. However, consider an upgrade if you notice that your memory is constantly loaded in Task Manager. the Corsair Vengeance LED 16 GB DDR4 could be a good option, if you want something to match the RGB lighting of your gaming rig.

Upgrading your processor (CPU) and motherboard

Intel Core i7

(Image credit: Intel)

If we continue with the “living organism” analogy, then your PC’s processor is the almighty brain. This component performs all the calculations and actions necessary to run your favorite applications.

Compared to an SSD or RAM, replacing your CPU is tricky. Not only are processors expensive, but depending on how old your current processor is, you may also need to replace your motherboard. Different generations of processors require different physical sockets.

With Intel and AMD currently competing for the processor market, there are some good options available, including the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and Intel Core i7 10700K for transformers, and the Asus ROG Strix X570-E and Intel Z490 AORUS for motherboards.

In most cases, upgrading these two components is probably the biggest step you can take in upgrading your PC. So make sure your current processor is a bottleneck in your setup before changing it.

Upgrading your cooling system

Cooling system inside the PC

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Speaking of CPUs, making sure your CPU gets a healthy dose of fresh air is a must in any setup. By doing so, you can even improve the overall performance and lifespan of your PC.

Modern processors can run in a variety of temperatures, but in general you’ll want to avoid anything above 80°C / 176°F. one another). As such, upgrading your original CPU heatsink with a more powerful air cooler or even a all-in-one liquid cooler can give your system a nice little boost.

Properly cooling your PC is especially important for gamers looking to overclock their CPUs. Your ears will probably thank you too. Upgrading to a better cooling system will eliminate the pesky rattling and swirling of your PC’s stock fan.

Upgrading your graphics card (GPU)

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060Ti

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Last, but not least, the holy grail of the gamer: the graphics card. Since nothing will improve your gaming experience more significantly than a shiny new GPU, gamers are often eager to replace this component.

When should you look to replace your aging graphics card? Getting choppy frame rates while playing recently released games is a dead giveaway. Typically you want to get at least 60fps on 1920×1080 resolution, but most games should still be playable as long as the framerate doesn’t drop below 30fps.

Ultimately, the exact GPU you need will depend on the games you play. Most AAA games and esports, such as Overwatch and League of Legends, can run well on a decent mid-range GPU. As such, even a modest upgrade like the GeForce RTX 2060 could do your setup wonders.

However, if you insist on playing much more graphically intense games, such as Cyberpunk 2077, at the highest settings possible, you may need to splurge on a more powerful GPU like the GeForce RTX 3080. Just make sure your motherboard is compatible and that all other components in your PC allow you to take advantage of the power boost provided by a brand new graphics card.


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