(Pocket-lint) – One of the best things about owning a PC is how easy it is to upgrade parts when they start to feel outdated.
The problem is that almost every component in your PC is modular and upgradable, so it can be difficult to know what to upgrade first.
The answer will, of course, vary from system to system and there is no right answer for everyone. But, with the help of this guide, you should have a much better idea of where to start.
So let’s take a look at our options and the potential pros and cons of upgrading each.
A storage upgrade isn’t the most alluring thing in the world, it’s certainly not as exciting as a graphics card and there’s usually less flashy RGB lights involved than with an upgrade from memory.
Even so, if you’re still using an old-school hard drive in your system, an upgrade to an SSD is arguably the most immediately noticeable performance upgrade you can make. This will make Windows start almost immediately and make everything you do on your computer faster and more responsive. Plus, if you’re using a smaller SSD for Windows alone, paired with your existing hard drive to store larger files, this is one of the cheapest upgrades you can make.
However, nowadays many of us already have at least one SATA SSD in our systems. So should you switch from SATA to NVMe in search of more performance?
The answer to this question is not so clear. NVMe SSDs have many advantages, especially in terms of productivity and content creation, but for gaming in particular, we doubt you’ll notice such a big difference. That said, the price gap between SATA and NVMe is narrowing every day, and the installation process is also much easier, with no wires to worry about. So if you need the extra storage anyway, it’s probably worth the price difference.
A memory upgrade tends to be high on the priority list for many PC gamers. However, unless you are running very low capacity RAM, your money is often better spent elsewhere.
For games, 16 GB is usually enough to keep everything running smoothly. More never hurts, but it’s an expensive upgrade that often won’t give you the immediate results you’re hoping for. As for performance, we recommend upgrading your RAM only if you know you’re frequently running low on system memory – and if your system crashes when you have too many Chrome tabs open, that might just be the problem. case .
On the other hand, it’s one of the easiest upgrades to install, so if you’re worried about dismantling your precious gaming rig, this might just be a good place to start. It is also a very simple way to improve the aesthetics of your PC. Bare PCB memory can easily make a system look cheap and there are a plethora of dazzling RGB memory options to choose from.
This one should need no introduction, it’s already at the top of the Christmas list, birthday list, and every other list you can imagine.
Indeed, the choice of your graphics card is the most important factor when it comes to gaming performance. A better card essentially gives you the ability to run higher frame rates, higher resolutions, and higher graphics settings. intensive.
The disadvantages of upgrading your graphics card are also quite obvious. Aside from the lack of stock availability, it’s an expensive upgrade. If you upgrade to a much higher performance class, you may need to upgrade your power supply to match, again increasing the cost.
While the GPU is the most important component for gaming performance, the CPU isn’t far behind. These two components must work in tandem to create the most optimal gaming experience.
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A really high-end graphics card, combined with an old and underperforming processor, will cause bottlenecks. This means that the graphics card cannot perform to its full potential, as CPU-based tasks cannot keep up with the GPU.
So if you’re planning a massive graphics upgrade, you definitely need to consider whether the processor will need an update to match.
In theory, a CPU upgrade is a fairly simple task, but the reality is often much more complicated. A new processor will often require a new motherboard to function properly, even when the same socket type is used. When it comes to swapping out both the CPU and motherboard, you’re essentially building a new PC. It’s sometimes necessary but is starting to get into a different league than the other relatively simple upgrades on our list.
If you notice that your system is getting hotter or much louder than you’d like, a cooling upgrade could be the answer.
However, if your system is already running at decent temperatures, you’re unlikely to see a performance boost from a cooler upgrade alone. The exception is that a more powerful cooler gives more headroom for overclocking, if you want to explore that.
A nice cooler could also do wonders for the overall look of your PC. There are plenty of options with fancy lighting and even some with built-in displays, allowing you to display system information, memes or whatever floats your boat – right in the heart of your rig.
A power supply only tends to be upgraded with the addition of a more power-hungry component, such as a new graphics card – or when the old one fails.
It’s important to get a good one because your entire system depends on it, but we’ll admit it’s not the most exciting upgrade.
There are a few exceptions, however, the Corsair PSU pictured here has an RGB fan to add some flair to an otherwise fairly unremarkable component.
Casing and aesthetics
Last but not least, there is always the possibility of sprucing up the look of your PC. It won’t affect performance, despite what some ambitious marketing campaigns might tell you, but there’s something to be said for having a system that looks as good as it plays.
A new enclosure will have the greatest visual impact, but it’s also the one that takes the longest to install. Meanwhile, RGB fans are an easy addition that won’t break the bank and can really transform the look of a system.
These days, there’s no end of options when it comes to PC aesthetics – from braided cable extensions to dynamic RGB lighting accessories, the world is yours.
Written by Luke Baker.