Is your computer starting to feel outdated? Is it getting a little sluggish after updating your operating system to the newest version? Of course, upgrades are always nice when performance improves and programs respond a lot snappier, but you should think and research before you upgrade.
Downsides to Performance Upgrade
It is not a bad idea to extend the life of your aging laptop by upgrading its performance, and there are generally two ways to go about it: the CPU and the memory. With a better CPU and more (and perhaps faster) memory, your laptop will feel faster and you’ll be able to open more programs and browser tabs. But there are downsides to having a better CPU and faster memory: a worse battery life and increased heat. With a faster processor and memory, your laptop will work a lot faster, draining your battery faster and increasing the amount of heat it gives.
For most laptops, CPU upgrade is near impossible anyway, and for those that are upgradable, laptops are made compact in such a way that I’d advise against upgrading the CPU unless you are 100% comfortable with messing with the insides of your laptop. As for memory, I would recommend an increased amount but for the same speed. In the real world usage, an increased speed memory is negligible anyway, and the increased amount will allow you to open more programs and browser tabs at the same time.
Low Battery Time: What to Do
Battery is a concern for most if not all laptop owners. Batteries, once fully charged, can last anywhere from an hour to seven hours, depending on the laptop and its settings. One fact that some people don’t realize is that batteries degrade over time. This includes batteries in MacBooks, which are generally better than most laptops.
Most laptop owners change their battery every few years, which is a good idea, but they tend to look for a battery that is claimed to be better than their current model, which, in my opinion, is not a hot idea. Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting higher grade battery, and that’s more power to the owner, literally, but there are a couple of things that the owners must realize before upgrading. For one, a higher grade battery usually adds balkiness and extra weight, which the owner might not want, and two, the owners should really step back and try to remember how long their original battery used to last.
If the battery time per charge was of satisfactory when the laptop was first purchased, then the owner should just purchase another battery of the same model. Personally, I would not go with any battery under 6-cell.
Your Ultimate Upgrade: the Hard Drive
There are many old school computer users still stuck in the 1990s where they think upgrading CPUs and memory are their best options. My advice to them: this is 2012, check out the SSDs (solid state drives). A move from a regular 5400/7200 RPM HDD to an SSD is the biggest and best upgrade any user can commit. Not only does it give you the biggest performance boost, but SSDs don’t have a moving part and it is marginally lighter than HDDs. If you were not aware of this, go google SSD and start researching.
If the reason you are looking to upgrade your laptop is because there is something wrong with it, drop everything and call the manufacturer’s customer support if it’s still under warranty. If your laptop is a MacBook, and it still has AppleCare, then go to the nearest Apple Store and have the “geniuses” look at it. It is worth the few days it may take them to fix it, and tinkering with the laptop might possibly void your warranty, so it is not worth it.