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Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC

Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC - PCSTATS
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Abstract: Once you have got the idea of upgrading into your head, the next step is to figure out how to go about it.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCstats Mar 13 2005   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCstats

Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC


Upgrading a PC is easy, and will extend the useful life of your investment. There are a couple fundamentals of how to upgrade, like knowing what new parts will work with the existing hardware. - Version 1.0.0

If you've owned a PC, and especially if you are a game player, you have thought at one time or another of upgrading your computer. PC technology moves forward quickly, but given the relative expense of most hardware and software, the average user buys something, sticks with it for a while and only becomes discontent when circumstances force them to use newer software or a new operating system. Then, all of a sudden, the old Pentium box seems....slow. Time for a face lift.

If you are a PC gamer, you are already familiar with this merry-go-round. Every year or so, there is a must-play game which demands more processor speed, a faster graphics card, more RAM, etc. As a good example of this, look to some of the upcoming game releases from ID software and Valve. Given the the speed of today's average PC, these games are not just going to push the envelope, they are going to be delivering their own envelope, sealed and stamped with a single word. Upgrade.

Once you have got the idea of upgrading into your head, the next step is to figure out how to go about it. You could take you computer down to your local shop, I suppose, and ask them for a recommendation.

Just be aware that it is in their interest to sell you things you do not need.

The major difficulty in upgrading a computer is the amount of variables involved. Your possibilities are governed by a huge number of factors, including but not limited to the operating system you are using, the motherboard you have, the type of case you have, the power supply in that case, compatibility of your present hardware with an upgrade, etc. etc.

This article is intended to help you recognize the range of upgrades that are available to you given your current hardware, how to perform those upgrades yourself, and the potential difficulties involved.

Figuring out what you have

This is an essential first step. In order to know what upgrades are available to you, you have to know what hardware you have currently. The best source for this obviously is the bill of sale for your computer, if you still have it handy, since even the big manufacturers usually itemize the parts that go into their systems.

The second best way is to cart your system down to your local mom & pop computer store and tell them you want to upgrade, and ask about your options. If they are remotely honest, you should get a good idea of how to proceed.

A word to the wise, do the installation yourself though, it's easy and you will save yourself some cash. The third option is to figure out your hardware inventory yourself. We'll go over some methods of doing this next.

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Contents of Article: PCstats
 Pg 1.  — Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC
 Pg 2.  Using Diagnostic Software
 Pg 3.  Using the POST Screen
 Pg 4.  Inside the BIOS
 Pg 5.  Opening the Case
 Pg 6.  Power Issues
 Pg 7.  Upgrading Memory
 Pg 8.  Installing a new hard drive
 Pg 9.  HDD's Continued
 Pg 10.  Installing a new optical (CD) drive
 Pg 11.  Upgrading the CPU
 Pg 12.  Finishing with an Upgrade

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