Affordable upgrades have been a real lifesaver for years now, and they allow us to give a second life to a PC for little money.. Personally, I must say that I have been using them since I had my first computer, that modest 133 MHz Pentium with 16 MB of RAM and a 1 MB SiS graphics card.
At that time I carried out a total of three very inexpensive upgrades that allowed me to continue using it for quite a few years. First of all I I upgraded the RAM to 32 MB and mounted a S3 Virge 3DX graphics card with 2 MBand then I upgraded the graphics memory to 4 MB. It was a very tight investment, but very profitable.
During the last few years I have been carrying out other upgrades. and I have even resorted to the second hand market.and I have always been very satisfied with the result. In this regard, one of the best purchases I made at the time was a refurbished GeForce GTX 980 Ti on Amazon for €306.50.
The value of those inexpensive upgrades to improve and revive a PC is undeniable. I know that many of you resort to them to extend the life of your equipment, and as now is a very good time to buy different components I have decided to shape this guide, in which I am going to share with you five highly recommended upgrades that will allow you to give a new life to your computer.
As always, if after finishing reading this article you have any. doubt you can leave it in the comments and I will help you to solve it.. Before going into the subject, I invite you to read this guide that we published at the time, and that will give you an important and necessary basis to better interpret what we are going to tell you next. Without further ado, let’s begin.
Economical and recommended upgrades to improve a PC
1.-SSD drive: a great upgrade with minimal expense.
If you are still using an HDD you are living in the past. This type of storage unit is still valuable as a secondary solution, i.e. for storing files, photos, videos and other multimedia content that will only be used from time to time, and also for backup purposes.
Upgrading your PC with an SSD drive will be ahuge improvement that will affect just about everything you do with your computer. Thanks to this, PC startup and shutdown times will be reduced, the operating system will work more smoothly and respond more quickly, applications, files and documents will open almost instantly, and everything you do with your computer will run faster.
The most demanding professional applications will also Will be able to work faster, load times in games will be reduced. and the graphics engines of these games will be able to load textures and all the elements they need faster so that popping, stuttering and/or jerks between fast scenes and transitions do not occur.
This is undoubtedly the best of the inexpensive upgrades we can do to a PC, since. Is the one that will most improve the overall user experience. even with a very small investment. That is why we must give it the priority it deserves.
2.-RAM memory: the importance of reaching the recommended minimum.
RAM is a basic component for any PC. Its impact on computer performance can be enormousbut it can also be null in certain cases. In the end everything will depend on the amount we have and the use we give to our computer, but it is a fairly easy topic to understand if we start from an orderly basis of minimum and recommended levels.
Any current PC should have a minimum of 8 GB of RAM to ensure an acceptable, but not optimal, experience with Windows 11 in basic tasks such as office, multimedia and web browsing. If we want to play the minimum to get a good experience are 16 GBand to work with demanding professional applications and to perform specific tasks, such as video or photo editing, it is recommended to have at least 32 GB of RAM.
Upgrading your RAM to reach the recommended level depending on how you want to use your PC is another of the best possible upgrades, because. you will notice a big improvement in terms of performance with a very small expenditure. For example, something as simple as moving from 8GB to 16GB of RAM on a gaming PC will completely do away with the occasional micro-stutters and stalls that have been occurring in newer titles, and also in some that have been around for a few years.
If you use an integrated GPU, upgrading the RAM memory will also mean a significant leap in performance, since this component consumes a part of the RAM to be used as graphics memory. All in all, keep in mind that right now having 32 GB of RAM will not make a significant difference in performance except for very specific applications.
3.-Processor: many options at bargain prices.
Upgrading the processor will greatly improve the performance of our PC, even if we are not going to use it to run games or demanding applications. However, it is important to keep in mind that depending on the use we want to give it we will have to upgrade in one way or another.
So, for example, if we are only going to use it for office automation, multimedia and web browsing something as simple as mounting a Intel Core i3 with four cores and eight threads. will give us a very large performance improvement if we come from a Celeron or a Pentium. We will also notice a big performance improvement if we go from a Ryzen 3 1200 to a Ryzen 3 3100.
On the other hand, if we are going to use the PC for gaming we should try to reach the recommended minimum of six cores and twelve threadsand, ideally, we should mount at least one Core Gen10 or a Ryzen 3000 series. Today the price of processors has come down a lot, and we can find very interesting options for gaming in optimal conditions for little more than 100 euros.
If what we want is to use the PC to work with demanding applications as well. we have very good alternatives at interesting pricesespecially after the price drop experienced by the Ryzen 5000 series with configurations of 8 or more cores. On the Intel side we can also find attractive options within the Alder Lake-S series.
4.-Graphics card: the second-hand market is a good option.
Within the economic upgrades to expand a PC this is one of the most complicated, because the prices of the graphics cards. can fluctuate a lot depending on the specific market situation, and also because we will have to choose this component according to our objectives and the configuration of our equipment.
We could talk at length in this section, but I do not want to overcomplicate this guide, and in fact it is unnecessary because we already published at the time an article dedicated to. how to choose the right graphics cardso I invite you to take a look at it if you didn’t have the chance to read it at the time.
In this guide the important thing is that you have clear that upgrading the graphics card can greatly improve the performance of your PC, and that just by investing between 100 and 200 euros in a new graphics card you will be able to play any current title. in optimal conditions under 1080p resolution. It is one of the most profitable and important upgrades if our goal is to play games.
We have many examples of inexpensive upgrades that are a perfect fit for almost any PCespecially if we look on the second-hand market. For example, with a GeForce GTX 970 we can play in 1080p almost anything at medium quality for only 50-60 euros, while with a GeForce RTX 2060 we can play any current title in 1080p at maximum or very high quality without problems for between 125 and 150 euros, depending on how lucky we are when looking on the second-hand market.
Recommendations (new and used graphics cards).
- GeForce GTX 970 with 4 GB GDDR5 for 50 euros second hand.
- Radeon RX 580 with 8 GB of GDDR5 for 70-80 euros second hand.
- GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB of GDDR6 for 125-150 euros second hand.
- Radeon RX 6600 with 8 GB of GDDR6 for 209.90 euros with free Starfield.
Cooling and ventilation: give your PC a breath of air.
This is an important upgrade for many reasons. Proper cooling allows the components that we have installed develop their full potential and work at a higher speed.. At the same time, it also influences its service life and the overall stability of the equipment under any situation, and with any workload.
I have known cases of people who thought they had a good cooling, but as soon as they have run applications or games that have pushed their CPU or GPU to 100%. of load for a long time have found that this was not the case, and in a very unpleasant way (with blue screens and crashes).
I especially remember the case of a friend who upgraded to a Ryzen 7 5700X. to play The Last of Us Part I on PC, and when this game put the CPU at 100% sustained he realized he needed a better fan.
Something as simple and inexpensive as changing our processor cooling system. can make a big difference, and the same goes for chassis cooling if we install more fans. For example, moving from a configuration with a single front fan to one with two front fans and one rear fan would make a noticeable improvement in airflow inside the PC, and help us reduce operating temperatures.
Endnotes and specific examples of updates.
Even starting from a very small budget we can get a very important improvement by upgrading our PC. To see it more clearly nothing better than to show you some concrete examples. Imagine that you have a PC configured with a Intel Core i3-10100F, 8 GB of RAM and a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card.and that your goal is to play games.
When it comes to upgrading that rig we would have to raise the RAM to 16GB, we could change the graphics card to a second hand GeForce RTX 2060 and add an Intel Core i5-10400F. With these changes we would have made a very complete upgrade, and. for only 275 euros we would have a PC ready to move any current game. without any problem.
Obviously there are many options, we could also keep the Intel Core i3-10100F. and just upgrade the RAM and change the graphics card, it would not be ideal but even in this case we would have a huge improvement going from a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti to a GeForce RTX 2060, and those 16 GB of RAM would also be noticed. In this case we would have only spent 168 euros.
Let’s go with another example. Imagine that you have an office PC equipped with a Athlon 3000G and 4 GB of RAMIn this case, if you want to keep the CPU and integrated GPU configuration, the AMD Ryzen 3 4300G would be a good choice for 89.90 euros, as it doubles the number of cores and threads of the Athlon 3000G, and taking into account the small price difference between 8 GB and 16 GB RAM kits ideally you should opt directly for a 16 GB kit.
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