Time to Upgrade?

Is your computer becoming old and sluggish? Do your newer applications seem to go too slow? Do you spend too much time looking at the Windows hourglass? If you do, it may be time to upgrade your PC. However, for most people it is not economical to upgrade the whole PC at once, and in many cases it is not necessary. For partial upgrades you have four choices:

  • The first, and probably the best, is a memory upgrade. Memory is the area where the computer puts information it is using--the more memory, the more you can do at once. If Windows or OS/2 runs out of memory, they must use the hard drive, which is hundreds of thousands times slower. Due to overproduction, memory prices are staggeringly low, so it is less out of reach.

  • Another upgrade is a CPU or motherboard upgrade. A CPU upgrade is usually more effective for newer computers, and only involves replacing the right chip and flipping the right switches. For a computer older than two years, replacing the motherboard would be a better choice. This involves removing the main board and putting in a new one, and sometimes replacing some of the system components with ones that are built into the newer motherboards. This is a good upgrade for number crunching applications, like spreadsheets, accounting, and graphics-intensive programs.

  • One upgrade that shouldn't be put off to the last minute is the hard drive. Simply using the computer can slowly build up files, until one day you find that you have no room left for anything. This can easily creep up on anybody, so this is a good thing to upgrade before it becomes necessary. Hard drive prices are dropping as well, so drives over a gigabyte (one thousand megabytes) are standard, and four gig drives are not unusual.

  • Another thing to think about adding on is one of the many poupular peripherals that have lowered in price. These include CD-ROMs, with speeds up to 12x, fast 33,600 bps modems to help access the Internet, and scanners, devices that let you turn paper into electronic documents and which are now becoming more available.

July, 1997

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