You can find the $250 Computer Upgrade parts list here. Why didn't we have this on the site before?
I got an email from a 14 year old in Houston who wanted to upgrade his PC, a Emachines T1801, circa 2003. It had a 800Mhz Celeron, 128MB RAM. Now he could probably upgrade to a 1200MHz Celeron and maybe 512MB of RAM, but that would cost a few hundred dollars (really old PC parts get expensive). The performance increase would be very small.
So, what I did was go looking for the parts he would need to do a real meaningful upgrade. I noticed after about 15 minutes that the parts I was finding were ones I had seen before. They were from the $500 computer parts list. If you take off the hard drive, DVD drive and the externals (monitor, keyboard/mouse and speakers) you have a $250 computer upgrade. This would be extremely fast compared to his current computer at a very low price.
You can apply this upgrade strategy to any of the higher priced computer parts lists on the site. The one other component I would recommend upgrading, even if you already have one, is the hard drive. If your current hard drive is smaller than 100GB you really should upgrade it. If not at the same time as the other components (CPU, MB, RAM, etc.) then as soon as you can afford to. It is amazing how much having a modern hard drive (750GB, minimum) will speed up your computer.
The first computer I built for the original Home PC Builder videos is now at my parents house (it has been for years). It had a 40GB drive in it which was big and fast for the time. Mom got a digital camera for her birthday and she started filling up the drive. It took a year or two, but she did it. They had been saying the computer was very slow compared to their new laptop. They needed more space so I got them a 1TB drive. The capacity was probably overkill, but dad has recently gotten into downloading "stuff" (wink, wink). They were very impressed by the speed increase.
I think this is an important addition to the site and I wouldn't have thought of it without getting a question about it.
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