By Marty Taylor
For less than one-hundred dollars I was able to take my piece of junk, five-year old computer and make it fast again. The good news is, it is so easy that anyone can do it.
There are four factors that greatly affect PC speed:
1. Computer processor speed (more expensive to upgrade, and not for beginners)
2. Random Access Memory (RAM; this is cheap to upgrade and installation is child's play)
3. Hard drive speed (Cheap to upgrade, very easy to install)
4. Software performance issues (Cheap and easy to fix)
Computer Processor Speed
Your processor speed is determined by your CPU. This is a tiny square chip that is directly inserted into your motherboard. If you open the side of your PC you will not see it because it will be hidden underneath a heat sink and fan.
CPUs are not the most difficult thing to replace, but you need to make sure that you buy the right one for your motherboard. Not just any CPU chip will work, it has to be supported.
If you already have the best CPU that your motherboard supports, then you need to upgrade to a new motherboard that supports higher end processors. This makes the job more complex and you are basically buying a new computer at this point.
The good news is, you can find great deals on CPU's and motherboards online and get a much better price than if you visited your local computer store.
Random Access Memory
RAM is great because it has a huge affect on overall PC performance, but is dirt cheap to buy. For applications these days I would settle for nothing less than 8 gigs of RAM, but I'm a power user. For the regular person who just wants to open documents and spreadsheets faster, 4 gigs should be enough.
Installation is super easy. Just pop off the side of your case and you will be able to see these long rectangular chips that are inserted into these plastic slots on your motherboard. Just release the clips on each side of the chip, and it will pop right out. Then you just insert the new chip into the board and you're done.
Hard drive speed
Hard drive speed greatly affects PC performance because before a file can be opened it must first be located. This is what the hard drive does. The faster it can locate a file, the faster Windows can start opening it.
Solid state hard drives are the newest thing these days, and will be further refined to run even faster. They can boot up your PC in less than 15 seconds, and don't seem to crash or freeze nearly as much as the spinning hard drives.
Hard drives are cheap to buy, and generally go around.25 cents a gigabyte these days, but it all depends on where you are located and what kind of deals you can get.
Installation is easy, just plug two cables into the back of the hard drive and you're good to go.
Software performance issues
I can't stress this one enough. It is the cause for so much frustration and it is one of the easiest to fix.
If you don't regularly maintain your computer, of course it will lose its' performance over time. This is because a computer is much like a car, and needs to be taken care of to run at maximum performance.
This means you need to run maintenance upkeep tasks such as:
-Defragmenting your hard drive
-Scanning your computer for viruses (AVG is a free anti-virus scanner)
-Cleaning your temp files, internet cache, and other junk.
-Going through your start up programs monthly, and disabling the ones you don't use.
-Scanning your computer for registry errors, and fixing them immediately.
These are just a few simple tricks that will allow you to make your PC run like the first day you bought it. You don't need to run out to the store and buy a computer every five years, simple maintenance is all that is required.