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Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC
Beginners Guides: Fundamentals of Upgrading a PC - PCSTATS
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   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Using Diagnostic Software

The easiest method of finding out what's in your computer is to use a diagnostic program to check your PC. There are several excellent, freely available programs out there for doing this, but for the purposes of this article we are going to use SiSoftware's SANDRA PC diagnostic and benchmarking software. SANDRA is free for personal use, fairly easy to understand, and is updated frequently, making it an excellent tool for preparing an upgrade.

Assuming you have Downloaded and installed SANDRA standard edition, start it up.

To get the information you need, run the 'system summary' Information on the various parts of your system is displayed in categories.

Here's what you should take note of:

Processor Model: shows the brand and type of the processor
Speed: in Mhz or Ghz
Mainboard Mainboard model: Important for looking up manufacturer information
Chipset: Determines upgrade possibilities for the processor and RAM
Frontside bus speed: identifies the type of RAM (memory) needed for the board.
Total memory: Shows the amount and type of RAM currently in the system.

Video system Adaptor: The type and brand of your video card
Physical storage devices: Note down all devices. This is important in determining how much free space you have to add hard drives and optical (CD) drives.

Next, select 'mainboard information' from the SANDRA menu, and note down the following values.

Physical/BIOS memory banks Dimm1/2/3 etc.: These are the physical spaces for memory chips on your mainboard. This tells you what room you have to upgrade the memory.

AGP bus Current data transfer rate: Shows the speed of your AGP (video card) slot in the mainboard. This is important for compatibility reasons.

That's all the information we need for now. Hardware inventory without diagnostic software If for some reason you are unable or unwilling to use SANDRA or an equivalent software package, there are several other methods of determining your hardware. Perform the following operations as necessary.

To obtain motherboard, hard drive, CPU type and speed information. Locate the 'pause' key on your keyboard and restart your computer....

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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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