Upgrades and Add-On's that won't break the bank
Published: March 5, 2009

During these times of financial crisis you may want more out of your computer but can't justify the purchase of a new computer. Here are some suggestions to enhance your computer experience.

One of the biggest problems faced with users of older systems is lack of speed, storage or both. In most cases a CPU upgrade is not the answer. The problem is not that you can't upgrade the CPU, it's more you can't find the CPU needed to upgrade your system. You could change your motherboard, but then you will need to change memory, power supply, case and more. In the end you are left with a floppy drive to put into your new system and it's probably white and your case is black.  Upgrading memory is an inexpensive way to get some extra speed and longer life out of your system. If you have 256mb or 512mb of ram, try doubling what you have. Usually this costs $40-$60. If you don't know what kind of ram you need look at Kingston memory (Kingston.com). Their website allows you to choose your brand of PC or motherboard and will give you the correct part number for your requirements.

In some cases you may find that some games or graphic programs will not work or are slow on your system. In that case you may want to upgrade your Video card. You don't have to buy the newest card as something for $90-$150 will probably bring new life to your older PC. If you have some money left you may even think about replacing or adding a second monitor. You can purchase a very good LCD 19" monitor for under $200 or 22" for under $250. Most new video cards will support two monitors. If you don't want to upgrade your video card but want two monitors, EVGA makes a device that plugs into your USB port and allows you to add up to eight monitors.

 In some cases your Computer is performing the tasks you need it to but you are running out of storage. During the past few years hard drive storage has increased greatly. Prices have not. In the past you may have paid $200 for a 40 or 80GB hard drive. Now you can purchase a 1TB hard drive for under $170.  Adding a second hard drive or replacing your existing hard drive will give you that extra room to add your digital movies, pictures and music.  If you don't want the added expense of adding your hard drive internally, you can also purchase many external hard drives from brands like Seagate and Western Digital. These drives simply plug into your high speed USB port and will automatically show up as a second hard drive.

If adding an external drive sounds like something you may want but you don't have a high speed USB port or need more USB ports, then simply add a USB PCI card.  Startech makes the  PCI330USB2  4 port USB 2.0  PCI card which sells for under $22.

Finally, if your computer seems fine but you want to backup your files, create music CD's or turn you family video into a DVD, you may consider changing your existing optical drive. A new LG DVD writer will cost you about $35 and will allow you to backup your files to DVD or CD, create DVD video and enable you to watch DVD's on your computer. These are also available in an external variety that plugs into your USB 2.0 receptacle. 

About the Author
Evan Freedman is an author for The Computer Geek Custom Web Page Design and for CSSZafco.com, distributor of computers and accessories. Evan has been diagnosing and fixing computer for over 25 years. Please visit the site to view a huge assortment of Computer Technology.

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