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