The technology industry does not stop for anyone. In fact, it is advancing unstoppable and gradually rendering obsolete computer equipment of a certain age. The first response is usually to buy a new PC. However, it is also worth considering whether an old PC could be recovered, provided that the cost is reasonable. Time passes inexorably. Even for our personal computers. We run out of storage space or memory. It happens that the computer gets too hot or too noisy. It also happens that it takes forever to boot up or run software. Sometimes it disconnects from Wi-Fi, crashes or has random errors that you don’t know where they come from. In general, the user experience is quite negative. Or simply, even if it works fine, we can’t install the latest versions of operating systems. Nor can we run new applications or games. It’s time to look for solutions.
How to recover an old PC
Keep in mind that miracles are not possible. In fact, sometimes stretching the useful life of a computing device to the limit of what is reasonable is not going to generate any savings and a lot of headaches. In addition, there is a supply of solvent new entry-level equipment available at very low prices.
But depending on the equipment in question and after a proper assessment of the necessary budget, you can recover those computers that we have cornered. This is what we will see in this post, in which we address those major hardware upgrades. All with the intention of improving its performance and enable it to work again. Or simply, to be able to have it active more years of use either as primary or secondary use.
We will also discuss a software change that can make a difference. Remember that not all operating systems have the same requirements. Let’s get to it.
Mount an SSD
There are few hardware upgrades that will give you so much for so little and so directly. Hard disk drives have been a bottleneck for years for computer systems. In addition, any type of upgrade involves replacing them with an SSD. This will give you the advantages of solutions based on NAND flash memory. Especially in terms of performance. Also in terms of boot time of the operating system or applications. Even in terms of transferring files internally or to external drives.
Your old PC will probably not have the latest connectors for the M.2 PCIe. However, it will certainly have support for the SATA interface. This is more than enough because the data transfer performance will increase fourfold compared to a hard disk. The change is simple. As for the cost, a 250 or 500 Gigabytes SATA drive is cheap.
Increases RAM memory
Another of the most obvious upgrades to revive an old PC is to upgrade the RAM. This component has a direct impact on the user experience. Particularly on whether it is possible to perform certain tasks on a personal computer. Simply doubling the installed RAM from 4 to 8 Gigabytes is a radical improvement.
RAM replacement is a relatively inexpensive upgrade that allows you to improve your equipment without having to change major components such as the motherboard. However, a little care should be taken when putting it into practice. For example, you must know the number of slots available for the modules. In addition to the maximum capacity supported, and the standard used (DDR5, DDR4, DDR3 and earlier…). Another element to know is the form factor. That is, if it is for desktops or laptops and the main specifications. As with SSDs, their price is dirt cheap.
Upgrades the CPU and potentially the GPU
Processor replacement is not as easy or as cost effective as SSD or RAM. However, you can value it as well. Both Intel and AMD market dozens of different models. Moreover, they usually keep the same platform for a few generations. This potentially allows you to upgrade the CPU without having to replace the entire motherboard.
The list of supported CPUs will vary by motherboard. Therefore, you should investigate whether the motherboard’s chipset and BIOS support it. Benchmark applications such as CPU-Z can help you get started.
Changing the CPU will increase the performance of the PC in any type of task. Indeed, it will increase the number of processing cores and the working frequency. And another important point, it may include a higher level of integrated graphics than the one you had. In any case, if you see that it is worth it, in a desktop you could additionally mount a dedicated graphics.
It can not be the latest generation, for which you probably do not have enough power in the power supply. In that case, it would be more profitable to buy a new PC. However, you should know that there are older GPUs that can be perfectly suitable for this type of equipment.
The CPU replacement will probably entail a new heatsink-fan. Although, you might want to check if the old one will still be able to do its job. Keeping the temperature of this component at bay is key. This can also be extended to the rest of the PC.
It must be said that the dirt or dust generated inside any computer equipment can decrease the performance of the equipment. Besides forcing the fans to be permanently connected. They can even shut down the equipment if the temperature rises above the safety limit. Finally, it can end up reducing the useful life of the components.
Cleaning is free. In addition, it is convenient to do it with certain assiduity and more if it is a laptop. We assure you that you will notice it. Some PC errors are caused by overheating, and cleaning will directly improve it.
Change the operating system
If you don’t have much budget for hardware. Even if with the recommended upgrades you haven’t noticed a level jump, it’s time to take another step. This one, like the cleaning, is totally free. Yes, you will probably be tempted to stick with Windows. However, if you want to use recent versions such as Windows 11, the system itself may be contributing to its slowness. Or it may simply not let you install it because of the TPM requirement.
There is life beyond Windows. However, in a scenario of recovering your old PC, there is nothing better than switching to GNU/Linux. The free system has dozens of different distributions. Moreover, some of them stand out for their low resource consumption and their great capacity to run on older hardware.