When should I update PC hardware components?

Upgrade / PC upgrade (computer)

Instead of constant and dubious fine-tuning of the hardware and software settings, we recommend upgrading certain components. For example processor, memory, graphics card, hard drive or motherboard.
Upgrading a computer means familiarizing yourself with the individual components and the hardware architecture and familiarizing yourself with the specifics of the system. Therefore, only those who have a basic technical understanding should dare to upgrade, who enjoy tinkering, are very frustrated and have enough time.

Gear up? Yes or no?

If you have an older PC, the question arises whether it is still worth upgrading or whether you shouldn't buy a new system right away. Do-it-yourself PC building, tuning and upgrading fall into the field of PC tinkering. This means that time savings through efficiency gains should not play a role. The time you invest cannot be regained with a faster computer.
For nostalgia reasons or because you think you're doing something good for the environment by waiting to buy a new system, that's wrong. Today's systems use nowhere near as much energy. Thanks to extensive power-saving mechanisms, power consumption is usually lower. The efficiency of modern PC power supplies is also a lot better than it was a few years ago. In addition, the likelihood of failure increases with age.
But that doesn't mean that you should keep your hands off upgrading. If the system itself is fast enough, you can postpone a new acquisition for a while with a new graphics card, more RAM or an additional hard drive. But you usually pay a high price for little additional performance in comparison. Components purchased individually are always more expensive than the sum of the individual components of an overall system.

Upgrading is only worthwhile for computers that are two or a maximum of four years old. With older computers, the investments usually exceed the residual value. To make matters worse, the necessary components hardly have to be manufactured and therefore have to be bought at high prices or even used.
An upgrade could only be worthwhile if the costs for an upgrade campaign remain below the residual value of the overall system. If not, you'd better save the money and invest in a new computer a little later.
When upgrading, it also applies that the upgrade measures should make the computer 30 to 50 percent faster in total. If not, the gain in speed can be measured but hardly felt. And so upgrading would be pointless. What's the point of upgrading if you don't notice it? At the same time, the question arises of how best to measure the working speed of an old PC.

Because new PC components are only developed to a limited extent for compatibility with old devices, upgrading is not always that easy. Most of the trouble is when upgrading the processor and motherboard. The effort is greatest here. But, that may also bring the greatest increase in performance. However, you then have to find the right components for the overall system.
Processors, graphics cards and hard drives have developed a lot in recent years. Due to the high integration density, the individual components are much better coordinated with one another and internally connected faster and more directly with one another. At the same time, the prices for complete systems have fallen. A new PC usually offers a lot more performance for less money.

Upgrade what

If upgrading is possible, then the question arises as to what should be upgraded. In principle, the point is to find out what is slowing the system down. Many brakes are noticeable in a typical way.

problemAnalysis of the causerecommendation
Strong hard drive noise.Switching between applications is sluggish and the hard drive is constantly workingBecause the main memory is too small, the operating system has to transfer parts of it to the hard drive over and over again. Since it takes longer to access the hard disk, processing of the entire system is delayed.Upgrade RAM.
The PC is slow to boot and start programs.The operating system and applications take a long time to loadOver time, you keep installing new programs on a PC and updating the operating system. As a rule, the amount of data in the software increases and the operating system and programs take longer to start.Replacing the conventional hard drive with an SSD helps here.
Old and slow interfaces.Saving data to external hard drives takes a long time.The external interface (possibly USB 2.0) cannot cope with the amount of data.Possibly Installation of a plug-in card with USB 3.0.
Certain compute-intensive tasks take a long time.For example, the PC is too slow when processing images.The processor or the overall system are overwhelmed if, in these situations, the CPU load in the task manager is 100 percent.If the PC is not older than 3 years, it may be worth installing a faster processor. If the PC is older, the processor, motherboard and RAM must be upgraded. However, you can then buy a new PC right away.
Games and videos jerk and run unstably.As a rule, the graphics card is overloaded with the large amount of data and image display. But it can also be a slow processor. The RAM may also be short.If the PC is not older than a year or two, a new graphics card can help. If the PC is older, the upgrade is no longer worthwhile.
Insufficient data storage.The error message appears that there is no more space on drive C :.The hard drive is full.As a first step, the hard drive should be cleaned up. It often helps if you empty the trash. If that is not enough, files and directories can be stored on external data carriers or an additional hard drive can be installed.

Upgrade RAM

A computer that suffers from memory shortages runs noticeably faster after the memory expansion and reacts faster overall.
4 GB of RAM should be seen as the lower limit for any typical desktop computer. It doesn't matter which operating system you use. 8 GB is useful for many applications and is crucial for the future viability of a computer.
But be careful, with more than 4 GB of RAM you also need a 64-bit operating system.

Upgrade graphics card

Occasionally it makes sense to think about a new graphics card. In particular, gamers are better off investing their money in a graphics card than in a faster processor. A more powerful graphics card makes the PC fit for new games and improves the display quality (3D performance). It is often used to do something good for older PCs. The prerequisite for this is that the old graphics card is undersized for the old PC. A fast graphics card is constantly idling when the processor and memory are too slow and cannot deliver enough data.

First steps before upgrading

Before the haphazard upgrade, there is a thorough analysis. Anything else is a waste of money.
Under Windows 7 you can find out relatively quickly where the bottleneck is in the system. The resource manager reveals where. You should also use the Windows tool CPU-Z to find out information about the processor, motherboard and memory. CPU-Z should serve as a source of information when it comes to finding out which CPU and which memory are suitable for upgrading.

RAM, graphics cards and hard drives usually do not cause any major problems. But if you want to replace the CPU and motherboard, you can't avoid extensive construction work and subsequent software installation.

Before you unscrew your PC, make a backup. At least from your data. Everything else can be restored with a new installation.

Other related topics:

Everything you need to know about computer technology.

Computer technology primer

The computer technology primer is a book about the basics of computer technology, processor technology, semiconductor memory, interfaces, data storage devices, drives and important hardware components.

I want that!

Everything you need to know about computer technology.

Computer technology primer

The computer technology primer is a book about the basics of computer technology, processor technology, semiconductor memory, interfaces, data storage devices, drives and important hardware components.

I want that!