What Are the Most Important Computer Parts to Upgrade?

Many people find choosing the right computer parts and accessories overwhelming. It’s understandable; there are many options and much of the nomenclature isn’t standardized between brands.

Unfortunately, this complexity means many people aren’t sure what computer parts to upgrade if they’re facing X or Y issue. That’s why today we’re going to list out the most important computer parts to consider upgrading when it comes time to boost your capabilities.

Upgrade #1: Memory Storage

This first one won’t excite many people but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Some of the most important computer parts in any PC, and the ones getting the most use, are those involved in memory storage.

Do you know the estimated lifespan of a hard disk drive (HDD) is around 3-5 years? Even solid-state drives (SSDs) can only be expected to last roughly ten years. Nothing lasts forever.

Worse, storage failure can be sudden and lose you a lot if you don’t have backups. So while it isn’t flashy or exciting, you really should consider upgrading your memory periodically.

The good news is this comes with perks. The most obvious is it will allow you to increase storage capacity. However, the big one is that modern SSDs will let you access data fast and efficiently in a way old hardware, notably HDDs, can’t.

We’ll also note here that we sell storage upgrades and more at our store. In fact, we sell parts in all the categories discussed today.

Upgrade #2: RAM

Random-access memory (RAM) is a big part of how your computer “thinks” about complex tasks. It’s also, for one reason or another, often an afterthought of PC builds. 

Even gamers often put as little as 8GB of RAM into their rigs, with some lower-end pre-built PCs coming with as little as 4GB or even 2GB. These sorts of numbers can be a pretty big performance bottleneck.

There is a caveat to this discussion in that most computers won’t benefit from ever greater amounts of RAM. Power users may somewhat debate the magic number but most put it around 16GB.

At 16GB, your CPU and GPU should be able to push all the data they need through to be as efficient as possible. At that amount of RAM, even power gamers are more or less not going to see a RAM-related performance drop.

RAM is also one of the cheaper upgrades that can lead to a performance increase. That isn’t to say RAM is “cheap” (you can expect to spend 100 or so dollars getting to 16GB) but it also isn’t as expensive as some of the other upgrades we’ll discuss.

(Also yes, RAM “stores memory” but it’s different enough than the previous section to be worth discussing on its own.)

Upgrade #3: GPU

Your graphics processing unit (GPU) is one of the single most important parts of your computer if you’re interested in gaming, video editing, high-end video viewing, and more. They’re also critical to crypto mining rigs.

Many view their graphics card as the key to a strong gaming experience and there is some truth to that. Along with a good CPU, it’s a good graphics card that will allow you to play the latest games on the best settings.

When many people can only afford one or two upgrades for their PC, the GPU is often what is swapped out first. It’s key to the calculations involved in intense visuals, which are often what gamers and other power users prioritize.

As for limiting factors, there aren’t many when it comes to buying a new card. While many cards require that you hook them up to your power supply, that isn’t a hard ask. The real challenge these days is finding a card in stock!

At the same time, research your card just to make sure, as some can act a bit strange with certain motherboards. Compatibility problems are a rare issue, assuming your board isn’t ancient, but they aren’t unheard of.

Upgrade #4: CPU

Your computer processing unit (CPU) is in many ways the second half of what many view as the most important parts of a strong PC build. Along with your GPU, it is your CPU that does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to visuals and more.

The challenge with a CPU upgrade is that figuring out compatibility is a real hassle if you’re not computer savvy. In fact, it can be somewhat confusing even if you are. 

The key element of what determines your CPU compatibility is going to be your motherboard. Each motherboard has a socket intended for CPUs and that socket needs to be compatible with your new processor.

A Note on Motherboards

We debated putting motherboards on this list because a motherboard upgrade is somewhat a mixed bag. On the one hand, they allow for a number of other upgrades but, on the other, they aren’t very exciting.

One of the most critical things a motherboard upgrade can do is allow you to use the newest CPUs, which do have a serious impact on performance. At the same time, a motherboard upgrade alone often won’t impact much.

As a sort of middle-ground stance, we’ll just mention here that motherboard upgrades are investments in the future. If you want to use the newest parts, you will need to buy a new motherboard on occasion. 

They also can come with better sound features and more accurate wattages but these are admittedly getting to be somewhat niche benefits. Still, motherboards are useful for more than just holding other parts.

Get the Best Out of Your Computer Parts

That about covers the go-to computer parts people tend to upgrade when they’re tinkering with a PC build. There are of course a million other things one can do but we’ve covered the big ones today.

If you’d like help getting the most out of your PC, or are having any kind of computer trouble, we can help. Check out the services Computer Revival can offer and contact us if you have any questions.