It’s no secret that computers have very limited lifespans. Just a few short years after buying your fancy new MacBook, you’ll probably be forced to start looking for a new one. The machine will slow down, start to develop physical faults, and may even stop being fit for purpose if you leave it for too long.
Of course, though, these machines can often be upgraded, and this can be a good way to make them last just a little bit longer.
Most people don’t understand the hardware inside their laptop or desktop computer, and this makes it difficult to know how to make upgrades. To help you out with this, this article is going to be exploring the different components in your machine, giving you the chance to repair or upgrade them without having to shell out on a completely new machine.
While cosmetic damage won’t impact the functionality of a machine, most people don’t like the idea of using a dented or chipped computer. This is especially important in professional environments, as you will look scruffy if your computer is in bad condition, and the people around you may be reluctant to work with you. This makes it worth working to keep your machine in good condition.
Thankfully, you can usually buy spare parts for even the most obscure of laptops and computers. For example, Apple MacBook lids and chassis can be found across sites like eBay, and there are loads of guides around the web that can help you to fit them. Of course, though, if you don’t feel comfortable with doing this yourself, it could be worth getting in contact with a company that can do it for you.
Storage space is one of the biggest issues for older computers. You will generate and collect countless files during the life of your machine, and this will slowly fill up the hard drives and solid-state drives you have in the machine. Once drives like this are completely full, your computer will no longer be able to create restore points or install new programs. On Windows, tools like CCleaner can help you to claim back some of the space taken up by temporary files.
A lot of people assume that they need to buy a new machine at this stage. You can buy new computer storage at any time, with most computers having space for several drives. If you want an internal drive, you’ll probably be looking at SATA options. Some machines have special connectors called “M.2 slots”, though, making it worth checking to see what your machine has available. Drives that use M.2 connections are much faster than their SATA counterparts.
Alongside getting an external drive, you could also consider the idea of buying a drive that is designed to sit on the outside of your computer. External drives can give you the power to make backups, store files that you don’t need all the time, and free up space on your main drives. Websites like bestexternalharddrives.com can help you to find the best external drives for your computer.
RAM stands for random access memory and is one of the most important components in your machine. Data is stored in RAM so that the processor is able to access it at any time, making your computer much faster in the process. For example, if you open loads of Google Chrome tabs, your computer will store information about each tab you’re not focused on in your RAM. When you access a tab you haven’t visited for a while, your computer will quickly retrieve the data it needs.
Lacking enough RAM will make your computer run slowly, causing programs to take a very long time to load. Of course, though, how much RAM should you buy, and how do you install it? Crucial.com has a convenient testing program that can tell you how many free RAM slots your computer has, along with providing you with product links that will be compatible with your device. Installing RAM is incredibly easy, but you may need to watch a video to figure out how to do it with your own machine.
The processor inside your computer will determine the performance of the machine more than anything else. This is essentially the brain of the machine and is responsible for handling all of the complex calculations your computer has to make. Unfortunately, changing your processor is often impossible on laptops, and this means that you will only be able to look at upgrading this if you’re using a desktop. Some gaming and professional laptops use desktop-grade processors, though this is rare.
You will only be able to upgrade to a process that is supported by your motherboard, but this is easier than you might expect. Both Intel and AMD have gotten better at using their sockets for more than one generation over the last few years, and this means that you can often buy a processor that is much newer than the other hardware in your machine. Changing a CPU isn’t too hard, but is another area that will be worth researching before you dive right in.
The Graphics Card
Many modern computers don’t have graphics cards, and this area only really applies to those who are using their computer for gaming or professional workloads like editing video or 3D modeling. It will be easy to tell once your graphics card starts to become underpowered, as it will get harder and harder for your computer to render graphics smoothly and in a timely manner. Much like a processor, it can be very hard to change your GPU in a laptop, though this doesn’t make it impossible in every case.
Desktop graphics cards always come in the same form factor and will use the PCIe slots on your motherboard to connect up. Sites like User Benchmark can help you to figure out how powerful a graphics card is compared to what you already have. Once you’ve chosen the card you want, you need only remove the old one and replace it with the new one, and you’ll be ready to go. Of course, though, it’s worth checking your power supply to make sure that you have enough power for your new card.
Upgrading your computer has always been a good way to avoid having to buy something new. While this will take some time and effort, it can often give your machine a new life, enabling you to keep using it for years to come.