3 Easy Upgrades for a Used Computer

Buying a used computer out of the classifieds is smart. Whether its for school, work, or entertainment, you can easily upgrade an older computer to boost its performance.

Odds are, if you are reading this article, you are part of the 71% of the U.S. population with home internet and a computer or quite possibly a home with multiple computers with a family full of users. The personal computer industry has new options and models available on a regular basis that can make a computer of just a few years seem outdated and ‘over the hill’, but instead of rushing out and buying a new PC, there are a few simple upgrades that can extend the life of an older computer model.

Consumer Reports agrees that upgrades are a good possibility for PCs less than four years old. Computers older than four years can lack the technology to support current upgrades and it may not be cost-efficient to put simple updates into them. The simplest recommendations most anyone can handle on their own to turn back the clock on your PC are to add additional memory, increase the hard drive space and update the monitor.

Adding More Memory Is Cost Effective

RAM is the cheapest and easiest upgrade that gives the biggest performance boost.

Adding additional memory can be one of the most affordable and effective ways to improve performance on an older PC, for around $50-$75. The more RAM the PC has, the faster applications can run and be executed, especially if you play video-enhanced games, use the computer for photo editing or have other large-memory applications. If your computer can take more RAM, consider upgrading to at least double whatever the current amount is on your system.

To see how much RAM is in your PC, go to the Start menu, click Settings, and then click Control Panel. Click System and then select the General tab. At the bottom of the page you should see the amount of RAM. Adding additional RAM requires you to open up the computer and insert new RAM modules on the motherboard. The best place to start to determine the maximum amount of RAM your computer can handle is your PC’s owner’s manual. The manual should show you the number of slots (the place where you insert the RAM), how much each slot can take and the maximum amount (MB or GB) your system can use. And there are plenty ofRAM resources on-line to help guide the way.http://www.pcworld.com/article/62183/stepbystep_bulk_up_your_pcs_ram.html

Upgrade the Hard Drive for More Storage

The latest hard drives are faster and less prone to failure.

Increasing the hard drive space can also be accomplished for under $100 and will give your computer longer life by allowing you to continue to store and save files and data. Hard drives do have limited lifetime. Replacing this part which stores the operating system, programs and your files can prevent a critical crash.

Additional internal hard drives can often be installed in desktop PCs, but the easiest option, and typically only option for laptop users, is to buy an external hard drive. These external drives are portable, small and plug into a USB port on any computer, allowing for simple use – no tools required. They make the perfect way to keep backup copies of your documents, photos and videos, or transfer them to another computer.

Improve the Display by Upgrading the Monitor

If your computer is a few years old and is running great, why not help it hide its age with a LCD flat panel monitor. The resolution is bright and crystal-clear. Your PC, and your eyes, will thank you. Models to avoid are the older CRT and flat screen models, which are bulky and power hogs.

A new monitor will start at about $100 for a 15” and go up from there with size. A used monitor is often half the retail price. Monitors require no software installation, but you may need a DVI to 15pin adapter to connect the latest models to some video outputs. A new LCD monitor for your PC is a great birthday gift for your computer – and for yourself.