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megimoo
01-30-2009, 10:02 PM
Economical upgrades that will extend the useful life of your PC
The inside of an old Pentium 4 class PC reveals plenty of upgrade opportunities - with spare PCI slots and drive bays to fill

Is your old PC starting to feel a little sluggish? Upgrading a desktop computer really isn't as difficult as it sounds. The components are modular, the slots uniform and systems are expressly designed for expansion.
In most circumstances, you won't even need a screwdriver as most modern cases are held on with dinky lttle catches.
..........................Here are 10 upgrades that even your granny could do.

1. ReadyBoost
Want to speed up Windows Vista? ReadyBoost uses up to 4GB of flash memory as a disk cache for your hard drive, making file access and program launching faster. You can use a USB stick, Compact Flash card, SD card or any kind of removable memory to do the job.

2. Intel Turbo Memory
Similar to ReadyBoost, Intel Turbo Memory enhances the caching capabilities of your hard drive by swapping
frequently accessed data into flash memory. The upgrade is fitted into a PCI Express Mini Card port - so is ideal for notebooks. You can pick up a 1GB card for around 30.

3. Second hard drive
Most desktop machines have a secondary HDD fitting dangling inside the cabinet, ready to plug in another hard drive. It really is just a case of slotting in the drive, connecting a power lead and data connector. Check first whether the system takes IDE or SATA drives - then use it to back up files, store photos, video and music.

4. Solid state drive
Solid state drives are faster and run cooler than their hard drive cousins, but cost more. Still, they make ideal second drives in an older system. Bung in a modest 64GB for around a 100 and use it to store frequently accessed programs - you'll see performance gains that warrant the price tag.

5. Graphics card
The default upgrade for gamers, swapping out your old graphics card is a fairly simple task. Most modern graphics cards fit in a spare PCI Express slot - though AGP cards are still available. PCI Express cards need an extra power-boost and will need to be hooked up to your internal power supply.

6. New monitor
Cathode ray tube monitors have gone the way of the dodo - so if you're soldiering on with one of those bulky old things, think carefully about upgrading to a flat, LCD display. Starting at around 120 for a 22" screen, you'll get a plug and play upgrade that gives you more room in your office and a lot less radiation cooking your kidneys.

7. NAS drive
Strictly speaking, plugging a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive into your router isn't an upgrade it's adding a peripheral. But, an external, shared drive on your network may well be the most useful computer purchase you'll ever make. With 500 GB drives starting at around 80, it's a thrifty addition to any system.

8. Install Linux
Need to breathe life into an old computer? Install Linux, we say. Ubuntu makes the open source OS easy to install and if you can't quite let go of Windows there's comprehensive documentation for dual-booting the two operating systems on the same machine.

9. Extra USB ports
Older desktop machines come with fewer USB ports. Don't bother with external hubs that collapse under their ambitious load; add a USB 2.0 card in a spare PCI or PCI Express slot. It should cost you around a tenner.

10. More RAM
Adding memory's the easiest upgrade of all, with spare slots available in most desktop machines. Click on "My Computer" and choose "Properties" to find out how much RAM you currently have, then go to Crucial's Memory Advisor to find out what type of RAM you need and how much your system can cope with. Prices vary - but a 1GB module will usually cost around 30.Economical upgrades that will extend the useful life of your PC

http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/pc/10-cheap-and-easy-upgrades-for-your-old-computer-515427

tacitus
01-31-2009, 11:01 AM
I highly recommend #8 for those that are tired of M$. I've been using Ubuntu for about 2 yrs and it's great. No spyware, no virus crap, no crashes or lockups. But it's not for the everyone!

Ubuntu has a forum (http://ubuntuforums.org/) you can visit to determine some of the issues that users have seen.

If you want to try it, download the Ubuntu iso file (http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download) and burn it to a live CD and boot your computer with the CD. It will allow you to try the OS and not make any changes to your system.

enslaved1
01-31-2009, 01:37 PM
Yes, it is amazing what a little work can do. Spend $2-3K on a whole new box or $2-300 (at worst) and a little elbow grease to play with the one you have? The choice is yours.

tacticus: I finally got around to making a Knoppix cd and am twiddling with that. It's a bit slow the first time out, but it seems usable. Of course what does one expect with a pentium 2, about 400mb of ram and no hard drive? :D

megimoo
01-31-2009, 02:53 PM
Yes, it is amazing what a little work can do. Spend $2-3K on a whole new box or $2-300 (at worst) and a little elbow grease to play with the one you have? The choice is yours.

tacticus: I finally got around to making a Knoppix cd and am twiddling with that. It's a bit slow the first time out, but it seems usable. Of course what does one expect with a pentium 2, about 400mb of ram and no hard drive? :DWhy no Hd ?Is that one of those internet appliances I have read about .

megimoo
01-31-2009, 02:57 PM
I highly recommend #8 for those that are tired of M$. I've been using Ubuntu for about 2 yrs and it's great. No spyware, no virus crap, no crashes or lockups. But it's not for the everyone!

Ubuntu has a forum (http://ubuntuforums.org/) you can visit to determine some of the issues that users have seen.

If you want to try it, download the Ubuntu iso file (http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download) and burn it to a live CD and boot your computer with the CD. It will allow you to try the OS and not make any changes to your system.
If you have enough disk space you could operate with dual operating systems !Just set up a slectable boot and select op1 or op2 !

tacitus
01-31-2009, 03:45 PM
I use to dual boot on the desktop last year until the laptop became available, do I just reformatted the 80gb HD for linux and left the 320GB hd formatted for windows. I also have a USB on the wife's laptop that we can all access. I really down't use windows that much because I have Wine installed on the linux box and I have a few programs I use from windows there, otherwise it's all Ubuntu. The only thing I occasionally miss is using yahoo IM with my brother, but we use the linux version of MSN messenger for general conversations and video/audio IM's. I tired the linux version of Yahoo and it's pretty sad and unuseable.

enslaved1: Using the live CD application with any flavor of linux will be slow, especially without a lot of ram (>1gb) and a P2. I didn't know those were still around.:eek: I have tried just about all the linux OS's on live CD and settled on Ubunbtu Gnome.

enslaved1
01-31-2009, 04:38 PM
Why no Hd ?Is that one of those internet appliances I have read about .

Why? because I can!!111!!!! ph3@r mah 3l337 h@x0r ski11z!!

No seriously, I have a stack of old computers I'm trying to frankenstien together, and have been problems getting the hard drives to boot, so i was hoping to use the knoppix to check the HDs, so first of course we must make sure that the HD is not needed to get the system up and running.

enslaved1
01-31-2009, 04:42 PM
enslaved1: Using the live CD application with any flavor of linux will be slow, especially without a lot of ram (>1gb) and a P2. I didn't know those were still around.:eek: I have tried just about all the linux OS's on live CD and settled on Ubunbtu Gnome.

Yeah, the computers I'm playing with are all ones that were sitting in a corner at my last job. I said hey you want those taken care of? and they said sure. One has a whopping 8mb of RAM, a cavernous 170mb harddrive and windows workstation 3.0 (? I'll have to double check that one) I was so tempted to give that one to my oldest son after he found out we were giving him a computer for Christmas. Then let him have the garage sale one he was intended. :D

AlmostThere
02-11-2009, 01:25 AM
If you bother to stick a second drive in, it would pay to move your swap file to that drive as well.

tacitus
02-11-2009, 11:01 AM
Here is something that might help speed up Windows machines. I haveen't tried any of them on the laptops we have.

10 Speed Tweaks that can make a huge difference in Vista performance (http://mostlysavingmoney.com/top-10-windows-vista-speed-tweaks/)

megimoo
02-11-2009, 12:28 PM
Here is something that might help speed up Windows machines. I haveen't tried any of them on the laptops we have.

10 Speed Tweaks that can make a huge difference in Vista performance (http://mostlysavingmoney.com/top-10-windows-vista-speed-tweaks/)Alas Vista is now officially dead, yeaho !