Which parts of your gaming PC should you upgrade first?

Which parts of your gaming PC should you upgrade first?

(Pocket-lint) – One of the best things about owning a PC is how easy it is to upgrade parts when they start to feel outdated.

The problem is, with almost every component in your PC being modular and upgradeable, it can be hard to know what to upgrade first.

The answer will of course vary from system to system, and there is not one right answer for everyone. But with the help of this guide, you should have a much better idea of ​​where to start.

So let’s look at our options and the potential pros and cons of upgrading each one.

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Storage

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A storage upgrade isn’t the most enticing thing in the world, it’s certainly not as exciting as a graphics card, and there tend to be fewer flashy RGB lights involved than with a memory upgrade.

Despite that, if you’re still running an old-school hard drive in your system, upgrading to an SSD is arguably the most noticeable performance upgrade you can make. It will make booting into Windows almost instantaneous, as well as making everything you do on your computer feel faster and more responsive. Plus, if you’re using a smaller SSD for Windows alone, paired with your existing hard drive for storing larger files, it’s one of the cheapest upgrades you can make.

But these days, many of us already have at least one SATA SSD in our systems. So, should you upgrade from SATA to NVMe in search of more performance?

The answer to that is not as clear-cut. NVMe SSDs have a whole host of benefits, especially with productivity and content creation, but especially for gaming, we doubt you’ll notice that much of a difference. That said, the price gap between SATA and NVMe is getting smaller every day, and the installation process is also much easier, with no wires to worry about. So if you need the extra storage anyway, it’s probably worth the price difference.

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Memory

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A memory upgrade tends to be high on the priority list for many PC gamers. But unless you’re running on very low capacity RAM, your money is often better spent elsewhere.

For gaming, 16GB is usually enough RAM to keep things running. More never hurts, but it’s an expensive upgrade that doesn’t often give you the immediate results you’re hoping for. When it comes to performance, we’d only recommend upgrading your RAM if you know you frequently run out of system memory — and if your system freezes when you have too many Chrome tabs open, that might well be the case.

On the other hand, it’s one of the easiest upgrades to install, so if you’re worried about taking apart your precious gaming rig, it might be a good place to start. It’s a super easy way to improve the aesthetics of your PC too. PCB memory alone can easily make a system look low-end, and there’s a plethora of dazzling RGB memory options to choose from.

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Graphics card

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This one should need no introduction, it’s already at the top of every PC gamer’s Christmas list, birthday list and every other list you can imagine.

That’s because the choice of graphics card is the single biggest factor when it comes to gaming performance. A better card basically gives you the ability to run higher frame rates, higher resolutions and more intensive graphics settings.

The downsides to upgrading your graphics card are also pretty obvious. Aside from the lack of stock availability, it’s an expensive upgrade. If you jump up to a much higher performance class, you may need to upgrade the power supply to match, which again increases the cost.

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processor

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While the GPU is the most important component for gaming performance, the CPU is not far behind. These two components must work together to create the most optimal gaming experience.

A really high-end graphics card, along with an old, low-spec CPU, will result in bottlenecks. This means that the graphics card is unable to run at its full potential, as the CPU-based tasks cannot keep up with the GPU.

So if you’re planning a massive graphics upgrade, you should definitely consider whether your CPU needs an update to match.

In theory, a CPU upgrade is a fairly simple task, but the reality is often much more complicated. A new CPU will often require a new motherboard to function properly, even when the same socket type is used. When it comes to changing both the CPU and motherboard, you are essentially building a new PC. It’s sometimes necessary, but starts to enter a different league than the other relatively simple upgrades on our list.

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Cooling down

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If you notice your system running hot, or getting much louder than you’d like, a cooling upgrade may be just the ticket.

But if your system is already running at decent temperatures, it’s unlikely you’ll see a performance boost from a cooler upgrade alone. The exception is that a more powerful cooler gives more headroom for overclocking, should you wish to explore that.

A nice cooler can also do wonders for the overall look of your PC. There are many options with fancy lighting and even some with built-in displays so you can display system information, memes or whatever else floats your boat – right in the heart of your rig.

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Power supply

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A power supply only tends to be upgraded with the addition of a more power-hungry component, such as a new graphics card – or when the old one is faulty.

It’s important to get a good one, as your entire system depends on it, but we admit it’s not the most exciting upgrade.

There are a few exceptions, but the Corsair PSU pictured here has an RGB fan to add some style to an otherwise pretty mundane component.

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Case and aesthetics

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Last but not least, there’s always the option to spruce up the look of your PC. It won’t affect performance, despite what some ambitious marketing campaigns might tell you, but there’s something to be said for having a system that looks as good as it plays.

A new case will have the greatest visual impact, but it is also the most time-consuming to install. Meanwhile, RGB fans are a simple addition that won’t break the bank and can really change the look of a system.

These days, there’s no end to the options when it comes to PC aesthetics – from braided cable extensions to dynamic RGB lighting accessories, the world is your oyster.

Written by Luke Baker.

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