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PCs All-in-One For Dummies®, 5th Edition by Mark L. Chambers

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Chapter 1. Determining What to Upgrade

In This Chapter

  • Knowing when to upgrade your CPU and motherboard

  • Figuring out whether you need additional memory

  • Determining whether you need extra ports

  • Considering a hard drive upgrade

  • Evaluating a CD/DVD recorder or a tape backup drive

  • Deciding on audio and video improvements

My father always said, "Son, never take a long trip without a road map handy." This is why our old family Plymouth had six metric tons of paper maps for every state in the Union stuffed into the glove compartment, ready to be pulled out just in case we went astray. (Now I just visit MapQuest — progress marches on.)

Consider this introductory chapter a road map to upgrading your PC: what you can do, what you should add or replace, and what your benefits will be after the dust has cleared. After you read this PC upgrade primer, you can easily determine what you need to upgrade, and you can jump to the proper chapter within this minibook to find the specifics.

One note before you jump in: Upgrading your PC is not a difficult job! All it requires is

  • The courage to remove your computer's case. (Believe me, you'll get used to it.)

  • The ability to follow step-by-step instructions.

  • Basic skills with a screwdriver.

With these requirements in mind, read on to determine what you need in order to turn your PC back into a hot rod.

Making Performance Upgrades: CPU, Motherboard, and Memory

I cordoned off the upgrades in this section into a separate category that I call performance upgrades: They ...

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