It’s no secret that buying a new, high-specification laptop is expensive. This is why many opt to buy the cheap or mid-range variety, before upgrading it. Today, we’re highlighting some common components to switch out, the effects it’ll have on your laptop, and how to choose the best model for the category.
How to Choose the Right Parts
RAM (random-access memory) is your laptop’s short-term memory. Whenever it boots up an application or software, that active data temporarily resides in your RAM. A higher RAM means that you can run more programs at once. It’s best upgraded if you often use your laptop to run a lot of active programs for hours, say if you have a coding job. When choosing your RAM, just remember to keep it compatible with your laptop’s motherboard. For the latter, the motherboard has generation preferences, system memory caps, and other requirements you should follow. You can find out what motherboard you have by going to System Information > System Summary on your computer and looking at the “System Model” line
No.2. Storage Drive
Storage drives are the more well known kind of memory. It’s where your laptop stores all its files. Of course, a bigger storage drive means you can save more files. You can choose from three kinds: hard drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SDDs), and solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs). Your laptop will have one of these three built into them, but you can upgrade to any without affecting its performance. HDDs are the basic pick. They’re cheap and can store a lot of data. However, the time it takes an HDD to save and open files is much slower compared to an SSD. But because of that, SDDs are also more expensive for less storage space. If you want the best of both worlds, then an SSHD is what you’re looking for.
The CPU (central processing unit) executes all the programs on your computer, working in tandem with your RAM. As such, if you use your computer for high-intensive programs like gaming and multimedia editing, your CPU has to be top of the line. The best CPUs come with metal core PCBs to provide the chip with greater structural integrity and better cooling. The more recent their generation, the more specific their design guidelines are, which makes them more expensive. When choosing your CPU, pay attention to the number of cores. The more a CPU has, the better its performance. However, never push beyond eight cores, as any number higher than that won’t net you a marginal leap in performance.
The GPU (graphics processing unit) is the component responsible for rendering all the graphics on your laptop. They’re sometimes called graphics cards or video cards. The more powerful your GPU, the faster and more accurate your laptop’s display will be. A high-end GPU is required on engineering laptops, for example, since its users deal with a lot of 3D modelling programs. The same goes for those who use their laptops to edit videos and play graphic-intensive games. To buy the best GPU for your laptop, always match the chip’s specification with your device’s resolution (such as 2k and 4k) and pay attention to its thermal design power. The latter is especially important if you use your laptop on-the-go, as GPUs are the biggest battery-drainers in a system.
All in all, when upgrading your laptop, ask yourself: “What do I need to improve?” and “What will I use my laptop for?” Do you need bigger storage? High-quality displays? Faster processing time? Depending on your answer, you could need an upgrade in multiple parts or a single, powerful component.