Improve the PC by changing one piece and upgrading the hardware

Computer hardware Sometimes it is not necessary to buy a new computer every 2 years to have a performing machine: in most cases it is enough to replace one or two hardware parts to give new life even to an old and slow PC. It is therefore interesting to understand which hardware updates have the most impact on the performance of a computer, which changes improve the PC more and how to enhance it from a hardware point of view, that is buying new parts to replace old ones. These replacements can be done almost entirely on an assembled desktop computer, while more limited but still possible on a laptop that can however have some welded and non-upgradeable pieces.
So let's see together what we can do for improve the PC by changing a piece and upgrading the hardware, also based on the expense we are willing to make.

How to upgrade your PC with one change

The updates that we offer will allow you to significantly improve the performance of your PC (be it fixed or portable) by spending a certainly lower figure than that spent by purchasing a new computer.
We advise you to follow the proposed order well: if we have to strengthen all the elements indicated, we start from those indicated in the first chapters, so as to immediately obtain an increase in performance.

Enhance RAM

Adding more memory is the simplest and least expensive upgrade for a PC and can be done both on desktops and laptops without particular technical difficulties.
Currently we can start Windows 10 and practically all the most popular programs without slowing down by adopting 16 GB of RAM; if our laptop or desktop PC has only 8 GB of RAM (very common configuration) we recommend that you immediately add a RAM bank like the ones shown below.

  • DDR4 for stationary PCs: Crucial CT8G4DFS824A 8 GB PC Memory, DDR4 (€ 28)
  • DDR3 for stationary PCs: HyperX HX316C10F / 8 Fury RAM memory for Desktop PC, 8 GB, 1600 MHz, DDR3 (42 €)
  • DDR4 for notebook: Crucial CT8G4SFS824A 8 GB Single Rank x 8 Laptop Memory, DDR4 (€ 36)
  • DDR3L for notebook: Crucial CT51264BF160B 4 GB memory, DDR3L (29 €)

If we have less than 8GB of RAM on our computer, it is better to remove the bank or banks of RAM already present and buy an 8GB RAM module immediately; the next RAM module (to get to 16GB) we can buy it even after a month, so as to amortize the final expense.
To learn more we can read our guide How to increase the Ram and add new memory to the pc.

Hard disk (internal memory)

If there is a normal hard disk inside the PC we must immediately replace it with an SSD: this one it is by far the most effective hardware modification for any computer, be it a desktop PC or a laptop. Some SATA SSDs that we can add to any computer can be found in the list below.

  • KingDian – 2.5 ”480 GB SSD solid state drive (€ 50)
  • Crucial MX500 Internal SSD, 500 GB (67 €)
  • Samsung 860 EVO 500 GB Internal SSD (85 €)
  • Samsung 860 QVO SSD Internal 1 TB (109 €)

We have already talked about differences between hard disk and SSD pointing out with some emphasis how much faster SSD is than HDD.
On the SSD we can install the operating system and programs, while on the old mechanical disk we can keep Windows backups or use it as a data archive, so as to have all the space you need.
In other articles we have seen i Best SSD drives to buy to make your PC go as fast as a tablet is How to update the laptop disk with a new SSD. If we don't know how to move Windows from a mechanical disk to an SSD, we can also read our guide on how Move Windows to SSD without reinstalling everything.


Switching a PC processor is a complex operation and definitely out of the reach of most users who use the computer to study, surf the Internet or play games sporadically. We will almost certainly have to ask a technician for help if you are not sure what you are doing and then the processor also has a high cost.
Other than that, just updating the processor with a more powerful one can not bring any improvement if the rest of the computer remains the same as well it can create compatibility problems by requiring more RAM and changing the entire motherboard. Switching processors can be effective for PC performance if you switch to a new one that is significantly more powerful than the old one.
In the end you can first change PC with a new one, perhaps by keeping the disk, RAM and video card of the old one.

To change the processor, please read our guide How to change PC processor.

Graphic card

A modern video card has very high costs (even more than € 300), and it is therefore advisable to consider this update only if you use the PC with the latest generation video games or if you use heavy graphics programs. If we are not serious players, we do not work with 3D graphics manipulation or with video editing, we do not need to buy a better graphics card than the one already available in the system (dedicated or integrated in the processor).

In any case we can learn more about it by reading our guide on Which video card (graphics card) to buy for the computer.

Other components

Excluding the components at the top, all the rest of a computer's hardware can be changed and improved slowly or when the urgent need arises, since we will rarely obtain advantages in performance and speed (except if we assemble a new entire computer starting from the motherboard).

  • Change motherboard it does not mean doing a hardware upgrade or a modification of the computer, but practically it means changing computers and the expense inevitably goes up. You can definitely buy a new motherboard and mount it in the old PC (it is very tiring), but you shouldn't expect any speed increase.
  • Update Windows 10 regularly is an effective way to add features and solve problems that can slow it down. Software updates they are always very important, not so much for improving program and system performance, but for security reasons.
  • In addition to Windows and programs, it is important install hardware driver updates, which can really solve problems and improve computer stability.
  • A monitor bigger and better it will certainly be an important purchase for those who work with photos while a second monitor to be placed next to the first is something very useful for programmers, as seen in the guide Compare monitors and screens.
  • A better and ergonomic keyboard Finally, it can be recommended to those who write a lot or manage a blog.

Even if we don't have the possibility to update all the components indicated above, we can very well wait for better times and buy only the components that really change the speed of the computer (RAM and SSD).


In conclusion, as mentioned in another article, to improve a PC also portable you have to change disk and add RAM. Of course, if it is a very old computer, even these changes will not benefit and it will certainly be better buy a new PC in full, without wasting time, money and effort in trying to improve it.
The old PC does not have to end up in the garbage: we can always recycle it and optimize it as a file server or as a network NAS, adding a lightweight Linux system.

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