By: Pcforu  06-Dec-2011

The time often comes when an old computer just isn't cutting it anymore and you need a new PC. The following guide will help you to answer the questions of what you need, what you upgrade, and more.

The points below apply for both Desktop and Laptop Computers.The first thing you need to consider is what you will be doing with the computer. Are you a gamer? Will you be running hardware intensive programs like AutoCAD, animation/design programs that need to render, etc? Will you need to store a lot of video, pictures, and music?


This is the brain of your computer. The two most common brands are Intel and AMD right now. For most people, the processor an average new computer comes with is fine for you. However, if you will be gaming, rendering, or using your computer as a media pc, you may want to upgrade this processor.

I would recommend a higher speed, multi-core processor if you will be doing any of the cpu intense activities listed above.

Dual Core, AM2 or the new i series type CPU’s are more common now and are a minimum recommendation, there are also Quad Core cpu's as well.

Memory (RAM)

This is one area of the computer I would recommend upgrading no matter what you are planning to do with your PC. Most slow downs on people's computers is due to a lack of RAM. I would recommend at least 2 Gb for Vista. If you can afford to go higher, this is one area I would suggest doing so. It will be worth it in the long run because it will keep your computer running faster longer. Also, before buying a new computer, you may want to ask yourself if a simple memory upgrade will solve your computer slowness. Typical memory configurations are 2Gb for Windows XP minimum, and at least 3Gb for Vista. Windows 7 may require at least 4Gb! Be aware there are different speeds of Ram also DDR2 800 (pc2-6400) would be the minimum speed to consider. For a high spec computer you need to consider using DDR3 1066 (pc3-8500) Ram or faster.

Video Card

Most average computers don't come with a video card and just come with an onboard graphics card. These are fine for most users. However, if you are a gamer, you will want a video card for sure. New video cards change often and the top of the line cards are very expensive. I would recommend getting something in the middle unless money is not an option. Usually the best price for performance will be in the $150 - $250  range. Make sure you read reviews of the card before deciding which one to go with. Acommon PCI xpress 512Mb Video card using DDR2 Ram is a good start.

Hard Disk

The speed of most hard drives is comparable across the board. Be aware that some older Hard drives only operate at a speed of 5400RPM, whilst the new High Speed Hard drives operate at 7200 RPM. The new Solid State Hard drives are even faster.

There are higher end hard drives that are faster. For most people, only the hard disk size is an issue. If you do a lot of multi-media stuff such as taking pictures, downloading or taking video, storing music, etc, you will want to consider a larger hard drive or even a second hard drive. The choice between a IDE or Sata hard drive is simple – SATA is best and faster all around, but is a slightly dearer product. Typical Hard Drive sizes nowadays are Minimum 120Gb, 160Gb are most popular and 250, 500GB up to 1TB, 2TB are available.

New 1TB and 2Tb hard drives are very popular with movie and MP3 collectors. Also, if your new computer is going to be a media PC, you will also want a large hard disk. The reason for this is because recording TV, especially HDTV, takes up a whole lot of hard drive space. Be aware that Music files (MP3, MP4) will also use uo lots of hard drive space.

Monitor (Screen)

Most new Computer systems come with a flat screen LCD or LED Monitor. These can range from 17" up to 32". Resolutions can vary with a std resolution (picture quality) at the 1280 x 1024 and reaching as high as 1920 x 1080. Ranging from std definition to HD High Definition.




The information in this article was current at 02 Dec 2011

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