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                  TO UPGRADE OR NOT TO UPGRADE?


Well that is always a good question.  Depends on what you need.  If you like to play video games this could be a vicious cycle of upgrading, because as we discussed earlier technology changes every 6 months. If you require more speed, or a hard drive, sound card or graphics card it's probably ok.  But if you need to add more memory and a new graphics card in order to play a game you might want to think about the cost of upgrading or buying a new system which may be more practical. Now here’s the catch even if you buy the latest greatest machine now, in 6 months it will be considered outdated, and may still not play those NEW great games. 

Don't Upgrade

I really recommend that if you are a serious gamer that you buy a console game system since the manufacturers make their games to suit that system. Also, if your saying a game system costs a lot just think of those video cards which can cost upwards of 600 dollars not to mention the other upgrades you may end up doing too.

Older Computer:

If you have an older computer and try to install the latest PCI or AGP card it probably won't work.  Just like you wouldn't put a Ferrari engine into a ford body you don't want to put a super new card into an old computer.  Most likely you would ruin the card. Now you’re thinking but why.  Well, let’s think about it, the parts in your computer (processor, hard drive, video, etc) are old.  Perhaps, you made a few upgrades already but on the whole it's still an old computer.  

Term old refers to any computer which is 6 months old or older.

New Computer:

 Make sure your computer can handle the system requirements (usually printed on the box).  Not the minimum but the recommended. It's always better to have the recommended system requirements than the minimum for all your upgrades.  

Now I hear you saying but why the recommended requirements. Well that's easy, in 6 months your component will be considered old, outdated and probably won't run the newest release of some program, game, etc. 

Installing a new sound card:

Open your computer. Locate the old sound card making sure to follow any cables to their destination on the motherboard or IDE drive. Replace the card by sliding it into the open slot. Re-attach any cables that were removed. Replace the screw to secure the card in place. Make sure the card it seated properly before closing your system. (you must press firmly to seat the card, they can be difficult.)

Installing an older sound card:

Sometimes, we get hand-me-downs from our friends who are updating their system. This can be a good thing if the price is right and they are compatible with your system. Ask about books or disks that came with the older card. If you have no info on this card except who manufactured it then you will need to contact the manufacturer to obtain the installation guide and or drivers. Most new systems will automatically install the right driver. But there are times they don't work.

Installing graphics cards:

Graphics cards are totally different. They require software and most of them need adjustments through a software program. Second hand graphics cards are fine if they come with all software. Be careful here with graphic cards that offer features which span two desktops some of these features will not turn off. So make sure you purchase the right card for what you will be needing.

Installing Memory Sticks:

Memory sticks are perhaps the most confusing of the products out on the market today, they come in many types SDRAM (SYNC RAM), DRAM (DYNAMIC RAM), PC100, etc. Knowing your system requirements is a must. Not all memory is the same and installing the wrong memory stick could be disastrous. Also, be aware that you can only upgrade your system if it is upgradeable and you know how much memory it can hold.

How much memory can my system hold?

When you bought your system the documentation that came with it stated the maximum that memory is upgradeable too. If you can't find it go to your manufacturer’s website and check out your system there, or go to Best Buy (all you have to know is your system model which is located on the back of your Tower) and they can help you too.

Importance of good surge protectors:

The importance of a good surge protector is required. A surge protector protects your system by not allowing the electric surge to go into your computer or other components. Without a surge protector your system could be damaged beyond repair by something as simple as a power surge or lightning strike.

Internet security tools:

Microsoft Windows provides a variety of products and services. Check with your Internet service provider for these products which are usually come free with your service. Also, check my Links page for other places to check out trial offers or just newer products, as well as, Free Stuff free virus protection programs.