Q: Is my computer too old to be upgraded?
A: Many computer manufacturers design upgrade "paths" so the products they sell can take advantage of more powerful parts after purchase. Your computer may feel underpowered as time passes and demands increase, but these new parts will increase capacity and processing power to extend their life.
Q: What parts in my system are actually upgradeable?
A: There are 4 major components that are most commonly upgraded to boost capacity and performance. The CPU, storage, system memory and GPU.
The CPU is responsible for processing most of the computer's workload. If your computer model supports it, the CPU can be swapped out for a more capable model of the same type of CPU.
Storage refers to where your files are stored. Some older computers still have mechanical storage in the form of spinning platters that store your files. In this case, the older storage device can be swapped out for newer ones that store files on solid state memory chips.
System memory, or RAM, refers to the temporary memory storage a computer needs to hold data for the CPU to use. The more memory a computer has, the more applications and tasks the computer can run simultaneously. By upgrading the amount/speed of RAM your system has, you will notice that it feels less bogged down when you run multiple applications.
The GPU or video adapter is the component that sends what the computer is doing to a monitor. By replacing your current GPU with a newer or more capable one, you will notice the tasks you do like gaming and video editing will run faster with better graphical quality.
Q: Will upgrading my computer cause me to lose all my files?
A: No, proper backups and following best practices while upgrading will avoid data loss. With a good backup, you can recover your files if there are any mishaps during an upgrade. These typically involve storage upgrades.
Q: Are upgrades really just a band aid solution when I should really buy a new computer?
A: Not at all! Upgrading your computer is like fine tuning it to your needs. Upgrading an older system can add years to its useful life. Some systems have multiple upgrade paths that can allow them to function as well or better than some brand-new computers.