The economy is bad, you may be tired of how slow your computer is, and wishing you could get a faster machine. The problem for many people is that the money for buying new computers simply isn’t in the budget.
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There are a few things that you can do to help improve the performance of your computer rather than having to buy a completely new system. The first thing we are going to talk about doesn’t even cost you money.
Odds are that you have never ran any of the disk utilities built into Windows intended to keep your hard drive working as efficiently as possible. One often overlooked utility on all windows computers is the disk defragmenter. When data is written to a hard drive it's not always written in sectors close to each other meaning any time you access that data it takes longer for the computer to get it all.
The defrag program looks at the data stored on your computer and then moves the data that is movable around to place it into sectors closer together to speed up access time. This free fix can boost the performance of your computer if the drive is fragmented.
The next thing you can do will cost you a little money, adding more RAM. If you work with large data files or run applications like financial apps that use lots of computer resources adding more RAM can significantly boost the speed your computer operates at.
Many computers still ship with only 1GB of RAM, upgrading to 2GB or more will often give you a noticeable speed increase. Some computers ship with 2GB of RAM inside already and can be increased to 4GB. It is important to note that there is a limitation in the 32-bit operating system that prevents the system from seeing 4GB of RAM. You can install 4GB of RAM, but when you use Windows it will only see 3.5GB or so of your installed memory. To see 4GB or more RAM you need a 64-bit operating system.
If your computer is using hard drives that spin at 5400 RPM or less, upgrading to a 7,200 RPM drive can make accessing your data faster. Installing a hard drive itself is easy enough to do, the bad part is that you may need to reinstall your operating system and restore your files from a backup. This can be a tedious process best done by a computer tech if you aren’t familiar with how to reinstall the OS and transfer data.
Depending on your computer brand and how old it is you may even be able to drop a newer and faster processor into the machine and get significantly more performance. If you have a new computer that uses an Intel LGA 775 socket mainboard you have many options. However, if you are using an older system that has an obsolete CPU socket you are probably out of luck.
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It is also important to note that just because the CPU socket is still supported; it doesn't mean the mainboard will support newer CPUs. The easiest way to do a CPU upgrade is to find out what CPUs were offered with your computer when you bought it and upgrade to something you know is supported. I always tell friends and family that even if your computer was high-end three or more years ago a cheap computer today could very well offer better performance than your current system. Computer prices are relatively low today and sometimes you can replace the entire system for less than upgrades to an existing machine. Just shop around and check prices and compatibility before you buy upgrade components.