Chapter VIII.1. Finding and Installing the Hardware You Need

In This Chapter

  • Discovering what upgrades will improve your Windows 7 experience

  • Making basic hardware upgrades

  • Choosing a new monitor

  • Troubleshooting new hardware installations

Let's face facts: You don't need all the fastest, most expensive gadgets to get value out of your computer. On the other hand, equipment that fits your needs can help you do more and better work in less time.

You can spend a whole lot of money on toys and gewgaws that, ultimately, end up collecting dust. You can spend a pittance on items that you'll use every day. Unfortunately, it's hard to tell in advance whether a specific, fancy new WhipperSnapper II belongs to the former group or the latter.

This chapter reviews the common computer thingies now available to help you decide whether any of them would be valuable to you. I take a special look at the hardware that's supposed to make Windows 7 work faster.

Note

I've had a great deal of luck in upgrading three- or four-year-old Windows XP PCs to Windows 7: In many cases, a little more memory (goose it up to 1GB) and a decent video card (widely available for, say, $50 or less) provide all the oomph necessary to get Windows 7 humming, on hardware that's more than a little past its prime.

In subsequent chapters, I take a specific look at hard drives, and printers and multifunction devices (you know, copier/scanner/faxer/coffee-warmer/foot-massager appliances). I also discuss Device Stage, a feature that debuted ...

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