Memory and hard drive upgrades are fairly straightforward changes that you (or your IT department) can make to keep your desktop computer longer. And if you think your desktop is too old to find parts for, think again. There are many vendors of discontinued computer parts who can help you.
When is it worth it to upgrade a desktop computer? Computer expert Mark Kyrnin recommends that you compare the upgrade cost to the cost of buying new. If the upgrades cost you half or less than half the cost of buying a new computer, then the upgrade is probably worth it.
Kyrnin offers some good tips on upgrading memory:
Memory upgrades are easy and cheap. All you need to do is determine the amount and type of memory you need.
If you aren’t sure how much you have, you can check the operating system through the System option of the Control Panel window (if you use Windows). He also recommends that you open up the computer housing to see how many expansion slots you have available.
To determine how much memory you need, you can refer to the operating system again. Usually there is minimum amount and a “recommended” amount. You should aim for at least the recommended amount.
You will also need to consult your computer’s documentation or visit the manufacturer’s Website for the specs on your machine to determine the type, size and number of memory modules supported.
When buying memory, try to purchase as few modules as possible to leave expansion slots open for future upgrades.
Upgrading Your Hard Drive
Kyrnin calls the hard drive the next easiest upgrade, after memory. Of course, he is talking about desktop computers here. Upgrading a laptop’s hard drive can be considerably more challenging. Contacting the store and asking for the right parts and weighing out your options is important. Check store continuation programs for further information.
With most individual and business users storing large files – like pictures, music and video – a hard drive can easily be filled up. When it comes to hard drive upgrades, you can either opt for an internal hard drive or an external hard drive. Kyrnin notes that the most important consideration is whether your computer uses an ATA interface (found in older models) or the newer SATA interface. You can find this information in your computer’s specifications, either in documentation or on the manufacturers’ Website.
Buying Memory and Hard Drives
If you have an older desktop, you may have to shop around for memory and a compatible hard drive. Fortunately, there are many vendors of discontinued computer parts and accessories that tend to stock specialized and obsolete components. Some manufacturers, like IBM and Lenovo, have specific resellers to sell their discontinued parts. If you have an IBM or Lenovo machine that you are looking to upgrade, you may want to check their Websites for information on their options continuation programs.