Personal computers, also called PC’s, are general purpose computers that are intended for use by an individual user. Their modular nature, that is being able to replace most parts individually for either repair or upgrade, makes them an extremely versatile computer for both commercial and personal use. There are, however, several components – both physical hardware and virtual software – that comprise a computer, which can make repairing or upgrading one a daunting task to the uninformed. This shouldn’t be the case though, as upgrading a computer is one of the simplest things a person can do to increase the performance, functionality, and life of a PC.

Before performing PC upgrades, a user should be aware of the specific components being used. These include the OS, CPU, GPU, RAM, and many others – though these are certainly the most common and easily recognized. Once identified, the user should determine hardware and software compatibility between the current components and the component that will be used in the upgrade. There are countless resources available to determine this.

Making the decision of what to upgrade is simple as well, though it largely depends on the purpose of the PC – this is because of the wide range of uses for PC’s, which makes general statements inaccurate. For example, in a regular office/business environment, certain components such as the GPU are likely to be less important that the CPU, RAM, or OS (as well as other software). In other production environments, perhaps those involved with graphic design, the GPU becomes a much more important factor for both efficiency and performance.

Regardless of the specific PC upgrades being made, there are universal measures that should be taken to ensure an upgrade is made safely. The foremost of these is protecting electronics from electrostatic discharge. While this is often overlooked by novices and experts alike, the solution is simple – using an antistatic wristband or taking measures to ensure one is grounded beforehand as preserve the component.

Finally, the best advice for those that intend to make PC upgrades is to do research prior to making any changes. The mistake of neglecting to check the RAM capacity of a PC, exceeding the capabilities of a power supply, or a general lack of awareness of a device’s inter-compatibility are ones that are often made that hinder effective upgrades of a PC. The majority of these issues, however, can easily be avoided.