With all the Windows 7 hype lately a lot of people have been looking to buy a new computer to get in on the action. Windows 7, the successor to the failure that was Windows Vista, is considerably less resource intensive allowing you to upgrade your OS with out replacing your PC. The system requirements are minimal and can most likely be met without much upgrading to the hardware. There are several things you can do to improve the performance of the PC you already own without spending what it would cost to replace it.
Upgrade the Memory
Memory is the easiest upgrade you do that will provide you with the most bang for your buck. Many people are scared to put memory in their computer, trust me when I say a monkey could do it. The biggest problem is figuring out what kind of memory you have in your PC. The older the computer the harder it will be to find memory to match it. You can figure out what you have by running a program like SANDRA Lite.
New Hard Drive(s)
Hard drives have a direct affect on the speed you can access data. The speed of our hard drive can also come into play when Windows runs low on memory. The best thing to understand is that the faster the harddrive spins the faster it can read/write the data. The fastest RPM combined with a SATA interface will drastically improve performance. If you computer doesn’t support a SATA interface then just shoot for a decent sized drive with high RPM’s.
A cluttered computer is like a clutter house, it is going to tick you off. Go through your computer and remove any programs you don’t use anymore. Pay close attention to any program which is in the “startup” folder or programs that run in the background. The more programs you have running the less performance you are going to get out of your PC.
Now that you have cleaned up the clutter it is time to get things in order. The way Windows writes files to the hard drive can cause the files to be broken into little peices and spread across multiple sectors of your hard drive. This is call fragmentation. The more fragmented files on your computer the longer it will take to access them as the drive has to bounce around to get the whole file. You can run the Windows defragment tool or use a third party program like defraggler to get the job done.
New Graphics Card
Like memory a graphics card upgrade can improve the speed of you computer quite significantly. These puppies can get pretty expensive but unless you are an avid gamer you don’t need anything terrible fancy. If you currently use an on board video card, i.e. it is part of the motherboard, you can usually do better by grabbing PCI or AGP card to use.
The real key when buying new parts for your computer is to shop around. It is becoming more and more difficult to find an actual brick and mortar store that I would recommend for buying computer parts so we are just left with shopping online. You should do some decent research to find the lowest priced quality parts. Don’t forget to consider sales tax and shipping costs in your shopping, just because the base price is lower at one website doesn’t mean you are going to get out with paying less. I like to start looking on newegg.com and mwave.com. mwave is better for me because they don’t charge tax in my state.