Should You Do An Upgrade?

by Michael Quarles - Date: 2006-12-18 - Word Count: 290 Share This!

Some people love their computers, others do battle with them every day. Yet whichever group people belong to they both have something in common: each seems always to want a little more from their machines. Inevitably, they begin to think about upgrading.

Of the most common upgrades, adding more RAM is the easiest to accomplish, and often gives an immediate increase in computer speed. Programs load faster, and run better with more RAM. But some PC owners have a roadblock in their way. Older operating systems, like Windows 98, have a limit on the amount of RAM they can handle. For Win98, it's 256 MB. In 98SE the capacity tops out at 512.

A faster CPU can improve game play and other demanding tasks. While installation requires a few more steps than plugging in another RAM module, it's fairly easy. Your only constraint will be your processor's socket type. For instance, if your motherboard has a 939 socket, then you'll have to get another 939 CPU.

You might go for a CPU and motherboard combo upgrade. A faster bus, and features like PCI Express slots, have many people taking this route. It also gives you a chance to change slot types. The biggest drawback is that it is a much bigger chore, requiring PCI cards to be removed, all the ribbon cables and case wires disconnected, and then everything reconnected in its proper place.

Should any of the concerns I've mentioned have you backing away from trying an upgrade yourself? No, I don't think so. A person of average intelligence, with a good guidebook, can do their own upgrades. Considering the fees computer techs charge, you can save $100 or more on some jobs, and gain a wealth of knowledge by doing it yourself.

Related Tags: ram, operating system, cpu, motherboard, pci express, windows 98, 98se, processor, socket

Michael Quarles is the author of "Building a PC for Beginners". His website is .

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