Don’t Can Your Computer

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.

Clean House

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.

Defragment

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.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DJ November 23, 2009 at 10:06 am

As a IT professional I get calls all the time from friends and family members about their computers running slow. The issue is usually either virus/spyware or memory related.

Adding more memory is very simple. Just a matter of popping the stick into the slot.

Virus infestations might require a reformat depending on how bad they are. The best way to prevent this from happening is to run daily updates/scans if possible. This will go a long way for making sure your computer runs well.

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2 Kyle November 23, 2009 at 10:56 am

Even more important than up to date anti-virus is staying diligent while browsing the internet and reading email. Antivirus will not stop some attacks where knowing what you are clicking on could. If you are interested you should check out my articles on Phishing and Protecting Your Identity.

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3 Ashley November 23, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I cleaned my computer this weekend. It’s amazing how much faster it became when no longer bogged down by useless files I no longer needed. With Black Friday coming up, lots of places will have deals on computer parts, and not just on the day throughout the week as well.

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