PC Upgrades, Another Small Business Case Study, And A Money Saving Quick Tip – SBITS008

When the PC you’re using is good but not great, fast but not fast enough, or just needs that one extra part to be perfect, it usually means its time for an upgrade.  Not an upgrade of the PC mind you, just of some choice components that’ll make an average looking computer, super model stunning.  And I’ll tell you here, which upgrades you’ll need, to do what.  I’ve also got another Small Business Case study and an awesome quick tip that is guaranteed to save you money.  Read.  Save.  You.  Money.

PC Upgrades 

Wanting to make your computer better, faster, and store more stuff is an internal struggle you have with yourself almost every time you put fingers to keyboard.

“Why does this always take so long?”

“Where’s all my space gone??”


 Sound familiar?

These days, it’s relatively easy to get the performance you want for a relatively cheap price, all through the power of PC upgrades.  A quick glance at the guide below will steer you in the right direction:

CAVEAT:  If your computer is over 4-5 years old, it may be a better decision to replace the box (or laptop).  Though it is entirely possible to upgrade computers that are much older, the price for the components can be extremely expensive and cost of the upgrade vs. the performance gained may not be feasible.

  • CPU.  Think of this as the brain of your computer.  Upgrading this will generally make you PC run faster overall, and not just in one particular area.  Ballpark figures indicate a cost of $200+ for a current spec CPU which is a DIY job for desktop computers, but a no-no for laptops.  Be sure to check the compatibility of the CPU you want to buy, with your existing hardware, before you make any purchase.  I would also consider this to be one of the last upgrades you do to a PC as doing this too soon, will mean you’re spending good money for something that’s only just “a little bit” better.
  • RAM or Memory.  When you open a file, or run a program, it gets loaded into RAM.  Different programs and files, have various memory requirements and its quite possible to occupy all of your RAM by opening up a lot of programs while you work.  When this happens, your computer will use the hard drive instead, totally slowing down your PC.  Upgrading your RAM will allow you to have more files and programs running simultaneously.  An easy DIY job for desktops and laptops, this upgrade will cost you $20 onwards and as with the CPU, be sure to check the compatibility of the RAM with your current system before purchasing.  This is almost always the first components to be upgraded.
  • Hard Drive.  All your stuff is stored here.  Buy one if you want to store more stuff.  Conventional desktop hard drives run from just over $50 for 1TB and go up steadily from there.  This is an easy DIY job for laptop or desktop, though make sure you buy the right type (desktop hard drives won’t fit in laptops, but laptop hard drives will fit desktops).  For a great performance increase, buy an SSD (Solid State Drive) hard drive.  These hard drives speed up your PC with its ability to read and write much MUCH faster than a conventional hard drive.  Pricing for these drives are entirely different and for around $70 you can pick up a 60GB SSD hard drive.  Yes, 60GB.  One thing to consider with a new hard drive, is whether you’re just adding it as another drive, or replacing a drive that is already in the system.  If you’re replacing a hard drive, you will either need to rebuild your entire operating system, or consider using an imaging program such as Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image.  If you just want the extra space, just slap it in and off you go.
  • Video Card.  In most cases, the decision to upgrade the video card is based on a single purpose.  Improved graphics performance!  This can be to play games, 3D modelling, or for video and photo editing.  A video card (or a better video card) will help all of these, so if your decision to upgrade this component is NOT something relating to graphics, then you’re probably best off upgrading another part.  For a desktop, this is an easy install (provided you have space) but for a laptop, this is something that I would not recommend.  A simple video card will set you back $50 while a true work house for a workstation or gaming will see you well into the thousands.  If you’re looking at pulling a trigger on a killer video card for gaming, make sure you have the case space and the power supply for it.

Other components that can be upgraded, but are not really recommended are:

  • Case.  If you need to upgrade the case for whatever reason, then go for it.  Just bear in mind that it will no way improve the performance of your current system, other than potentially provide better airflow, and give you extra space for future upgrades (read: video cards).  Other than that, it will just give you something better to look at.
  • Power Supply.  Only really needed if your current power supply is dead, OR if you plan on adding multiple drives and maybe a more powerful video card.  As with the case example above, it wont provide extra performance on its own, but it will all you to upgrade other components knowing you have adequate power.
  • Motherboard.  This can be upgraded, but if you’re thinking of doing it, you’re probably better off buying a new machine.  Strictly for enthusiasts, this type of upgrade lends itself to A LOT of research, and is not a DIY project for the faint-hearted.  In most cases a new motherboard will mean a new CPU and also new RAM.  There is also a good chance you will NOT be able to use the operating system loaded on the hard drive and so you will need to re-install that also.  Big exercise, big dollars, with big time spent.  Not recommended for beginners

Small Business Case Study – The Bookkeeper

This episodes Small Business Case Study is relatively straight forward and in incense, quite simple.

However, the simple changes that were made saved this business months of work, heartache and lost revenue.

It was also an example of how bad IT advice can lead to unwarranted purchases which results in a blatant waste of money.

Lessons learnt here.  Get good advise from more then 2 sources.  And make sure your backups are on point!


Quick Tip?  

This one tip could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.  It’s basically one sentence.

“When installing a printer, make sure you set it to print in Black and White by default.”

Print only in colour only when you absolutely have to.

If you own your colour printer, then doing this will save you money by not having to replace the colour cartridges as much (black cartridges usually have a higher yield than colour).  If you are leasing out a printing workhouse then you’ll be saving money by not having to pay 10 cents for every colour page printed.

Subscribe to The Small Business IT Show

Subscribe to the Small Business IT Show in iTunes

Subscribe to the Small Business IT Show in Stitcher

Get In Contact

dex [at] smallbusinessitshow [dot] com


Small Business IT Show - Printing Quick Tip

  • https://businessfirstfamily.com/ BusinessFirstFamily.com

    Hey Dex, great post here. I think one thing that I would add is that you have to have a proper server operating system for your small business. If the operating system is good, then the rest of the software will work well together for the business. Although it seems like you haven’t posted in a while, I would be happy to connect with you if you get going again.

The podcast for all things IT in your Small Business