Should I Upgrade or Replace my Computer?

Dear Computer Lady,

Is it better to just upgrade the ram, processor, hard drive, and video card or just simply buy a new computer (more specifically a chrome box, is what I’m thinking of buying) I can not find a straight honest answer to save my soul.

Please help me. Thank you! Briar

Dear Briar,

There are a couple of things to consider when it is time to upgrade your computer, one is finding parts that will work with your computer, and the other is the cost.

First, the parts. You can usually find a hard drive and a ram upgrade for just about any working computer, so those are good components to think about upgrading. Just remember that the rest of your computer is still the same age as it was, so while upgrading the ram and hard drive might make it faster than it was, and able to hold more information, you are still working with an older computer.

The processor is going to be next to impossible to upgrade unless your computer is less than 6 months old. Why? Processors only work with motherboards designed for them, and things change so quickly in the processor world, that even a 1 year old motherboard is no longer compatible with processors currently on the market. On the rare occasion that I find myself needing to replace a processor, I always need a new motherboard as well, which usually means that I have to replace the ram because the old ram won’t fit.

Upgrading your video card is not as hard as the processor, but not as easy as the ram and hard drive. Before you order a video card, you need to find out what kind of expansion slots you have available on your motherboard, and then find a video card that fits in one of those slots.

Finally the cost needs to be figured in. Most of the time, once you look at the prices of components, you will end up spending about the same amount on parts as you would purchasing a new computer that would be faster and more powerful than your current computer. If you have to hire a computer shop to do the upgrades for you, it will cost more than a new computer.

One final thought I have for you is about the Chromebox that you are thinking about purchasing. I have not used the Chrome operating system yet, but I do know that it does not run programs like Windows does. If all you are going to do is use the internet, check your email online and do a little word processing, this computer would be great for you, but it does not run programs like Quickbooks, Microsoft Office, or iTunes.

I hope this helps in your decision making.



It’s Your Turn: What do you think?
…. Share your experience in the comments box below.

Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
Connect with


Previous Post

Syncing iPad Contacts

Next Post

Uninstalling Internet Explorer 10