When you have an old computer that’s not functioning as well as it used to, your gut instinct might be to toss it out and buy a new one. But you can easily get your computer working good as new by upgrading it with new hardware or software. Computer upgrades are usually cheaper than buying a brand-new computer.
If you’re going to go the upgrade route, there are a few potential problems you should be aware of before you start shopping around for new hardware. Here are 5 unforeseen problems that come from upgrading your computer, and what you can do to avoid them.
1. No Difference
The worst thing that can happen after you make a computer upgrade is that there’s no discernible difference in performance or presentation. Maybe you install a new graphics card, but you’re still not able to play your favorite PC game on higher graphics settings without significant slowdown.
It’s important to remember that computers are complicated machines that have an intricate configuration of parts working in conjunction with one another. It’s possible that if you upgrade one component, you’ll also need to upgrade another component in order to see a noticeable difference in performance. For example, if you upgrade your graphics card, then you should also upgrade your CPU. A slow CPU will slow down your graphics card, even a state-of-the-art one.
When you upgrade your old computer, try and upgrade as many components as possible for the best results.
2. Screen Tearing
A graphics card upgrade is one of the most common computer upgrades. It also leads to one of the most common upgrade problems—screen tearing.
Screen tearing is a visual glitch in which the image on your display is “torn” in halves and appears misaligned. It’s a very frustrating glitch when you’re playing a PC game because it could throw you off when you’re trying to hit targets.
Screen tearing happens because your GPU is processing data faster than your monitor can refresh the image on the display (also known as its refresh rate). NVIDIA G-Sync is one of the best ways to eliminate screen tearing after you’ve installed a new GPU. When you’re shopping around for a new graphics card, consider getting a NVIDIA GeForce so you can reap the benefits of G-Sync.
3. Losing Your Data
When you make computer upgrades, there’s always a chance you could lose all your saved data if you’re not careful. If you upgrade your storage drive, for example, you’ll need to first move all your data to an external hard drive or into cloud storage because it’ll be lost once you remove the hard drive.
Even if you’re not upgrading the hard drive, you should still make backups of all your data before you undertake any computer upgrade. When you open up a computer and remove/swap hardware, there’s always a chance that something will go wrong and that your storage drive could get damaged (maybe you accidentally spill water on it, or maybe something gets hooked up wrong and it fries your motherboard). It can be tedious and time-consuming to make backups, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
4. Incompatible Files
If you’ve had your computer for a long time, you’ll really benefit from a software update for your operating system. Software updates fix bugs, add greater security features, and provide you with new tools you can use on your computer.
The only bad thing about a software update is that it might prevent your computer from being able to read old files. Old computers are more likely to have old file formats that can’t be read by more modern operating system configurations. To prevent this issue from happening, you should try and convert old file formats to new file formats.
Also be aware that a software update may require you to re-download drivers for your laptop accessories.
5. Hardware Won’t Fit
Let’s say you’re shopping for new hardware online, and you find a powerful new CPU with quad-core processing and liquid cooling. You pay a pretty penny for it. When it finally arrives on your doorstep, you yank it out of the box, open up your computer panel, and…it doesn’t fit. The CPU is too large to fit inside your tower desktop, and it doesn’t even have connectors that are compatible with your existing hardware.
Before you upgrade your hardware, it’s important that you do careful research not only about the hardware you want to buy, but also about what kind of hardware your current computer can handle. Open up your computer and do measurements of the internal space, and take note of what types of data connections there are. You don’t want to buy an expensive piece of hardware only to find out it’s not compatible with your computer configuration. You’ll need to do even more careful research if you’re upgrading your laptop, because laptops have less internal space than tower desktops do.
Upgrading your computer is a great way to boost your computer’s performance without paying for a completely new machine. Just avoid these 5 common upgrade problems and you’ll be more than satisfied with your enhancements.