My PC is still slow, should I buy a new one now?

In the previous article we considered the performance improvements through the software changes and updates. Although this may have improved performance you may find that this isn’t enough, or that the improvements

Cleaning PC

Whilst your computer hardware won’t last forever, you could consider upgrading parts of it, or even entering into a maintenance regime to keep it running. Hardware basically is the physical parts of the computer, over time they may become outdated, not able to keep up with the rigours of modern software or even just in need of some TLC

For a look at what can be done to keep your hardware in tip top condition, here’s a systematic approach:

  1. Clean Your PC:
    • Physically clean your PC, including removing dust from fans and components, as overheating can cause performance issues. Take a brush or (low power)vacuum cleaner to the vents around the PC case to remove ant dirt or dust. Whilst you are doing this don’t forget that your keyboard, mouse and screen could probably do with a clean up too.
      Clean Keyboard
  2. Check for Hardware Issues:
    • Make sure the hardware is running right, run diagnostics to check for hardware problems. Sometimes, issues with components like the hard drive or CPU can cause slowdowns.
    • You may want to consider using third-party diagnostic tools like PC-Doctor, PassMark’s BurnInTest, or MemTest86 to perform comprehensive hardware tests.
  3. Monitor your Hardware
    • Various software tools can help monitor hardware components in real-time, such as CPU temperature, fan speed, and voltage.
    • Tools like HWMonitor or Open Hardware Monitor can provide insights into your system’s health.
  4. Check Power Supply:
    • A faulty power supply can cause various issues. If you have access to a power supply tester or a spare power supply, consider testing or replacing it to rule out power-related problems.
  5. Clean Up Your Hard Drive:
    • Do you need all those files on your disk? Delete unnecessary local files and programs to free up disk space. Important files could be stored off the computer disk (DVD or cloud for example), these should also be backed up in any case. Those free download programs that you haven’t used in years, really need them? Ditch them!
    • Use built-in tools like Disk Clean-up (Windows) to remove temporary files and system junk, or third-party tools such as WiseCleaner.
  6. Defragment Your Hard Drive (Windows):
    • If you have a hard disk drive installed , defragmenting it can help improve performance by optimising data placement. This reduces the time taken to access files on the hard disk platters.
      Hard disk drive open
  7. Upgrade Your RAM (Memory):
    • If your PC has insufficient RAM, adding more can significantly improve performance. Check your PC’s specifications to see if it’s upgradable. One test to see if your RAM is too small is to watch the access to your drives. If this is almost continuous you are probably using Virtual Memory (on the disk drive) which is termed Disk Thrashing. This in comparison is slow and greatly affects the performance, either cut down on the applications running or increase the memory.
  8. Upgrade to an SSD:
    • If your PC still has a hard disk drive, consider upgrading to a Solid State Drive (SSD). SSDs offer significantly faster data access and can greatly improve overall performance. With prices falling as this technology becomes more commonly used it’s worth the consideration.
    • This can also help with the problem of Disk Thrashing in conjunction with adding more memory.
  9. Test External Devices:
    • If you suspect external hardware devices, such as a printer or external hard drive, are causing issues, try disconnecting them and see if the problem persists.

If you’ve tried these steps and your PC is still sluggish, and it’s becoming outdated, then it may be time to consider purchasing a new one. Newer computers typically come with faster processors, more RAM, and improved hardware, providing better overall performance.

Before buying a new PC, make sure to consider

  • Your specific needs
  • Within your budget
  • Suitable for the type of tasks you’ll be performing

Additionally, migrating your data from the old PC to the new one should be part of your transition plan.

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