December has always been the month of the year where I have more time at hand than in any other month. This is probably the main reason why I tend to upgrade my computer during that time because it can take some time to fully upgrade it, especially when something goes wrong during the upgrade.
The toughest part is to answer the question about the upgrade itself. Which components do you want to upgrade, does it make sense to upgrade it and how much will it cost ?
My first thoughts when I'm thinking of upgrading a pc are always "More RAM". Ram is absolutely crucial and if you are stuck with 1 Gigabyte of Ram or less you might consider upgrading it to 2 Gigabytes. Ram is cheap at the moment which means that you can get 2 Gigabytes from companies like Kingston, GEIL, OCZ and Corsair starting at $50. The next step would be 4 Gigabytes which start at roughly $100.
Just check the manual of your motherboard first to make sure that you buy the right RAM for your system. Another advantage of adding RAM is the fact that you it is relatively easy to add to your system. Takes less than a minute to replace.
The second choice really depends on what you do with your computer. If you are a gamer you might consider getting one of those new Geforce 8800 GT which start at $270 and make it possible to play Crysis and other high end games in high details. Again, check your computer to see if it supports AGP or PCI Express Video Cards before going out and buying one that does not fit.
Both RAM and Video Cards have the advantage that replacing them is easy and requires minimal knowledge whereas adding a new CPU for instance is lots of work.
My third choice would be to add another faster hard drive to the computer. If you just need more storage you could buy an external hard drive with capacities of 500 GB or more which can be plugged into an USB port. I use two of those and have them fully encrypted with True Crypt.
If you want an internal hard drive you have to make sure that you can fit it into the computer. Again there is SATA and IDE drives, make sure your computer has the necessary cables and support for the drives that you choose. Replacing the main hard drive with a new one takes some time though.
Buying some smaller components is also an option. I tend to buy a new keyboard every 6 months and a new computer mouse every 12 months. Other choices could be a sound card, speakers or a headset.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.