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Top 5 PC upgrades to improve performance

Top 5 PC upgrades to improve performance

Are you upgrading a computer? Your options range from installing more RAM to building a custom casing designed for a DIY liquid cooling system. What are the best updates depends on your computer. What specifications do you have now? Do you play games, edit 4K videos, or just surf the web?

Here are five common computer updates and which systems will see the biggest improvement. We also mark how difficult we think these different updates are. Most are easy to do, although some may require a little more thinking and planning than others.

Add an SSD

A solid Samsung unit
  • Upgrade difficulty: Easy
  • Device type: desktop or laptop

This is the rudimentary classic upgrade that makes a big difference, especially for older systems. If your laptop or desktop works with a hard drive, then buy one SSD 2.5 inches will make a big difference. Your PC will feel more responsive, and startup time can be drastically shortened. Concidering current flash storage statusyou are probably better off with a three-tier cell unit (TLC) than a four-tier cell (QLC).

If you are already using a 2.5-inch SATA-based SSD, the next step would be to upgrade to an NVMe M.2 drive. This will also improve the overall reaction and boot time, but not as dramatically as on a hard drive.

Units M.2 They come with a warning: your PC needs a special M.2 PCIe slot. Most modern desktop motherboards should have it, but the capabilities of laptops will vary greatly. Check the motherboard or device manual to see if your system is compatible with these units.

More RAM

G.Skill memory with random access
  • Upgrade difficulty: Easy
  • Device type: desktop or laptop

I should add more Ram to your settings or will it be a useless exercise? That depends a lot on what you do. If you use a computer to stream videos, write Microsoft Word documents, and edit the occasional photo, then you should need 8 gigabytes (GB). Players will often be the happiest with at least 16 GB, especially when playing modern AAA video games.

Then there are the rich media tasks. If you are preparing video editing as a hobby, 32 GB of RAM might be ideal.

The bottom line is that there is an optimal amount of RAM that your system needs to do its job. If you add more RAM, you won’t see many improvements, if any.

With these general guidelines, you should be able to estimate how much RAM you need. If that’s not enough, try duplicating it and see how it works.

Also consider the limitations of the motherboard and processor. They can only handle a certain amount of RAM, although in general it is quite a lot. Remember that when you buy a new RAM, they must all have the same speed (measured in MHz). Learn more at our guide to replacing your computer’s RAM.

Once organized, changing RAM on a desktop is as simple as inserting new RAM modules and powering up the device. Laptops are a little more complex and generally require opening an access panel at the bottom or sometimes removing the keyboard. Note that some laptops cannot support RAM upgrades because the RAM is stuck on the system board.

Replace the graphics card

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
  • Upgrade difficulty: Easy
  • Device type: Desktop computer

If you have the right amount of RAM in your system and your games are powered by an SSD, the next step in improving performance is to upgrade your graphics card. Before the change Your GPU, ask yourself what resolution your monitor has. If you get a great graphics card for 4K games, but you only play 1080p, then you could have done it with a much cheaper graphics card.

If your CPU is particularly old, you may need a newer one before upgrading your graphics card. However, you can surprisingly go far with an older processor paired with a newer graphics card. Also, if it’s time to upgrade your processor, it’s probably time for a full system overhaul.

Once you have a new card, release the latch from the slot, remove the power cord from the old card, and pull it out, insert the new one, and reconnect the power if your card requires it. Then you just need to install the new card drivers and you’re good to go. For a more detailed look at the upgrade process, see our tutorial how to update and install a new graphics card on your computer.

Upgrade the processor

A stylized CPU on a motherboard.
  • Upgrade difficulty: intermediate
  • Device type: Desktop computer

Updated your processor It is not difficult, but it is more difficult than introducing new RAM modules or changing the graphics card. Before deciding on a new processor, check which models are compatible with the motherboard. The CPU socket on the motherboard must be compatible with the desired processor; the socket is the space where the CPU fits on a motherboard.

However, keep in mind that CPU manufacturers (especially Intel) may have different versions of the same socket type. An LGA 1151 socket compatible with SkyLake, for example, is not compatible with LGA 1151 sockets that use Coffee Lake processors.

In general, it is better to update your motherboard and CPU at the same time. However, sometimes it will make sense to simply upgrade the processor. For example, you can get a very good sale of CPU.

If you don’t upgrade your motherboard by changing the processor, there are often some trade-offs, especially if newer processors have more advanced features. Anyone with an AMD X470 motherboard, for example, could use a Ryzen 3000 processor. However, he would lose PCIe 4.0, which both the CPU and the motherboard must accept.

Change CPU it’s a little different depending on whether you have an AMD or Intel motherboard. However, basically all you have to do is remove the old processor, lightly insert the new one, and secure it. Then it’s just a matter of connecting the processor cooling fan or the liquid cooling solution.

Add an all-in-one chiller

A Corsair chiller
  • Upgrade difficulty: intermediate
  • Device type: Office

HotIt’s what keeps custom PC makers up at night or at least long enough to contemplate how to keep computer temperatures low. Keeping the computer cool helps its components last longer and facilitates system overclocking.

Standard air cooling fans are great, but there’s nothing like a liquid cooling system when you want to get serious about overclocking or your computer is usually too hot all the time. An all-in-one cooler (AIO) is a good first step. These are pre-designed devices that circulate liquid from a radiator to a block above the processor. Installing an AIO cooler on an existing computer requires removing the current cooling fan and then getting rid of any existing heat on the CPU. Then install the radiator in its housing and place the cooling block over the CPU; the thermal compound is usually applied before the block. Run a few cables to the system board or power supply and you’re done.

Make sure your housing can hold the AIO chiller. The four typical AIO dimensions are 120mm, 140mm, 240mm and 280mm. All this is based on the size of the radiator fan. A 120 mm AIO has a 120 mm fan; a 140mm has a 140mm fan; a 240mm has two 120mm fans; and a 280 mm one has two 140 mm fans.

Whether or not a chiller is suitable for your computer depends on how hot your appliance tends to heat up. If you can get an AIO for sale, there is something to be said about how beautiful a liquid cooling system looks, especially if it has a bit of RGB glow.

You can do many other PC upgrades, but these are some of the most common and do not require much experience to do it correctly.