The three top upgrades being asked for in computer shops may surprise you. While all the excitement and controversy over Vista gives you a clue about two of the top three, one of them that I am asked for increasingly is an item that many PC users pay little attention to.
First, is more RAM. While a RAM upgrade is perhaps the easiest for the do-it-yourself owner to perform, the wide variety of RAM types backs off some people. They really shouldn’t worry. RAM is clearly labeled, so all that’s needed is to pop the case open and read what it says.
More RAM will make a computer faster, and more efficient. It will reduce, and with some programs eliminate, the use of virtual memory on your PC’s hard drive. Tasks that once had you drumming your fingers will be done in a flash.
Second, is Vista. The level of computing power systems need to run the new OS has left many PC’s behind. A common refrain has been “I’m just going to wait until my next computer before I try Vista. "
For many this is probably the right choice. If all that is required is extra RAM, or perhaps upgrading from a CD burner to a CD/DVD, then people should invest the money and try Vista. But if you have to add a new CPU to the list, a bigger hard drive, and a graphics card… well, it just doesn’t make sense.
Third, is that often ignored item, the power supply. The biggest reason for the upsurge in demand is gamers, who have installed more powerful graphics cards, only to become nervous about their PSU’s ability to meet the increased demand placed on it.
It’s well they should worry. An insufficient power supply can lead to sudden, catastrophic overheating, and complete system failure. As I’ve said elsewhere, such computers have a distinctive odor. They smell like burnt money!
Michael Quarles is the author of the book “Building a PC for Beginners". His website is http://www.monkeyseemonkeydobooks.com and features loads of free info.