How Should I Upgrade My PC For Gaming And Productivity

These are the posts I enjoy writing the most. How and what should I upgrade in my PC to have maximum performance in gaming and productivity.

Don’t get me wrong though.

I have an unbiased love for technology. But there is something about technology that is modular and gives me the control to know and tweak precisely how a machine will work.

With smartphones things are simple.

You have a box. 😛

Either you like it or don’t like it. Yes, you can have apps suiting your needs.

But that’s it.

For those who like to tinker with stuff, building your own PC, diagnosing your PC and upgrading your computer depending on what you need in terms of gaming and productivity holds special appeal.

So if you are wondering “What should I upgrade on my PC?“In this post, I am going to guide you on which upgrades will improve your PC performance the most.

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking to upgrade your computer for gaming or tasks like video editing.

The underlying principle is the same, the only difference is, you have to choose parts that support the task that you wish your PC to do.

Therefore I urge you to go through this post on how to build your own PC where I cover comprehensively how to choose different parts of a computer.

So without any further ado, let’s see how should you upgrade your PC for gaming, enhanced performance, and productivity.

Upgrading RAM On Your PC For Improving Performance

If you ask anyone who has little knowledge of computers as to how to increase the speed and performance of a PC;

In a fraction of second, will you get the answer get more RAM.

While most definitely the answer isn’t wrong but it is basically incomplete.

Although I talked about this in great lengths on how to free up more RAM on your Windows PC10 Effective Ways To Free Up RAM On Your Windows Computer but looking at the context, it’s imperative I mention some aspects here.

A computer’s memory or RAM is that part of your system that holds programs, applications, and processes that are currently running on your computer.

So installing more RAM on your computer will give more space for your programs to function in real-time.

So if your computer is continuously giving you an error like “system is running low on virtual memory” you will most definitely see visible performance improvements on your PC.

But the improvements that you are going to see by just upgrading system memory will not be the maximum performance that your computer can get.

It will get clear what I mean when you read on.

So by all means get more RAM or system memory for your PC but don’t stop there.

Check out Amazon’s bestseller list of computer memory to take your pick.

Note: Ensure that the RAM that you are picking is compatible with your motherboard. Download your motherboard instruction manual to see the list of compatible memory.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz C16 Desktop Memory Kit - Black
  • Hand-sorted memory chips ensure high performance with generous overclocking headroom.
  • Vengeance LPX is optimized for wide compatibility with the latest Intel and AMD DDR4 motherboards.
  • A low-profile height of just 34mm ensures that vengeance LPX even fits in most small-form-factor builds.
  • A high-performance PCB guarantees strong signal quality and stability for superior overclocking ability.
  • A solid aluminum heatspreader efficiently dissipates heat from each module so that they consistently run at high clock speeds.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz C16 LED Desktop Memory - Black
  • Dynamic multi zone RGB lighting
  • Next generation software
  • Custom performance PCB
  • Tightly screened memory. Maximum bandwidth and tight response times. SPD Voltage 1.2 Volt
  • Compatibility: Intel 100 Series, Intel 200 Series, Intel 300 Series, Intel X299,AMD 300 Series, AMD 400 Series, AMD X570
SaleBestseller No. 3
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3000MHz C15 Desktop Memory Kit - Black (CMK16GX4M2B3000C15)
  • Hand-sorted memory chips ensure high performance with generous overclocking headroom.
  • Vengeance LPX is optimized for wide compatibility with the latest Intel and AMD DDR4 motherboards.
  • A low-profile height of just 34mm ensures that vengeance LPX even fits in most small-form-factor builds.
  • A high-performance PCB guarantees strong signal quality and stability for superior overclocking ability.
  • A solid aluminum heatspreader efficiently dissipates heat from each module so that they consistently run at high clock speeds.

How Much RAM Do You Really Need?

While getting more RAM in your system will provide performance boost to your PC.

Especially if you are looking to run heavy resource-based tasks like video editing and gaming the more the merrier.

Although an important question to address here is how much RAM should you get?

There are way too many opinions on this and the topic has enough potential for a separate post.

But here let me keep things simple and give you directly the most accepted standard for PC builds in 2020 and beyond.

  • I know many will say that 4 GB is enough. But I don’t necessarily agree with that. I mean sure if you are looking to run lightweight apps, a few browser tabs and some video streaming and general use like that. But here we are looking to upgrade your PC for gaming. Therefore,
  • I recommend a minimum of 8 GB of RAM if you want to game smoothly at decent settings. This will support multi-tasking and heavy resource-oriented tasks like photo editing.
  • If you are serious about gaming and multithreaded tasks like video editing, I highly recommend upgrading your PC to 16 GB of RAM.

If you are confused what RAM will be compatible with your PC don’t worry.

Either you can refer your motherboard’s manual to see the list of compatible RAMs.

Or

You can go to this crucial’s website that has a PC upgrade advisor tool which will help you to precisely locate what memory you need.

2. Upgrading Your Graphics Card For Improving Your Gaming Performance

This is probably the most exciting and not to mention the easiest upgrade you can do to improve the graphical performance of your PC.

Why am I calling this exciting because only after you have done this upgrade will you be able to enjoy the games you have been holding on for.

Easy because choosing a graphics card is relatively easier.

Still, I have created a whole post dedicated on how to choose the best graphics card for your PC here.

If you look at PC build from a manufacturer’s perspective skipping a graphics card for an integrated one is a popular approach to cost-cutting.

But you can’t blame them because not everyone who needs a computer necessarily needs to have discreet graphics card in their PC.

And with the advancements, we have been seeing in the fabrication process modern integrated graphics are good a wide domain of users.

The integrated graphics card you find today will be enough for you to run apps like photoshop and even watch 4k video.

There are players on steam who are even gaming on integrated graphics.

But that is the extent to which I think you should stretch their use.

If you want to ramp up the graphical performance of your computer for tasks such as gaming, VR, and 3D modeling, getting a good graphics card like the 5700XT is a must upgrade.

Recommended

Gigabyte Gv-R57XTGAMING OC-8GD Radeon Rx 5700 Xt Gaming OC 8G Graphics Card, PCIe 4.0, 8GB 256-Bit GDDR6, Video Card
  • Powered by 7nm Radeon rdna architecture
  • Accelerated game fidelity with Radeon image sharpening & fidelity fx
  • Immersive gaming experience with free sync & free sync 2 HDR technology
  • Wind force 3x with alternate spinning fans & 5 direct touch copper heat pipes
  • Intuitive controls with AORUS engine

Other Best Sellers On Amazon

Bestseller No. 1
XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 1386MHz OC+, 8GB GDDR5, VR Ready, Dual BIOS, 3xDP HDMI DVI, AMD Graphics Card (RX-580P8DFD6)
  • The XFX RX 580 series graphics card feature the latest Polaris architecture which includes the 4th gen GCN graphics cores, a brand new display engine, new multimedia cores, all on the revolutionary next finfet 14 process technology for enhanced performance and efficiency
  • Equipped with XFX double dissipation cooling technology for optimal cooling and performance. Minimum power requirement is 500 watts. Memory clock true: 8.0GHz, boost OC+: 8.1GHz
  • Multiple factory GPU overclocked settings - 1366 MHz true clock and 1386 MHz OC+
  • AMD VR ready premium - Experience the new generation of compelling virtual reality content with the Radeon RX GTS graphics card paired with the leading VR headsets. The Radeon RX GTS graphics card coupled with AMD LiquidVR technology delivers a virtually stutter-free, low latency experience, essential for remarkable virtual reality environments
Bestseller No. 2
MSI Gaming GeForce GT 710 2GB GDRR3 64-bit HDCP Support DirectX 12 OpenGL 4.5 Single Fan Low Profile Graphics Card (GT 710 2GD3 LP)
  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GT 710; Maximum displays: 2
  • Video memory: 2gb ddr3/memory clock: 1600 MHz/memory interface: 64 bit
  • 300w system power supply requirement; Interface is pci express 2.0 x16 uses x8
  • Connectors: VGA, dvi d dual link, HDMI; form factor: Low profile
  • HDMI connectors is maximum resolution 4096 x 2160 at 24 hertz; DVI connectors is maximum resolution 2560 x 1600 at 60 hertz
SaleBestseller No. 3
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDRR6 192-bit HDMI/DP Ray Tracing Turing Architecture VR Ready Graphics Card (RTX 2060 GAMING Z 6G)
  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Core clocks: 1830 MHz/ 14 gbps
  • Memory interfACe: 192-bit
  • Video memory: 6gb gddr6
  • Output: DisplayPort x 3 (v1.4)/ HDMI 2.0b x 1

3. Upgrading Your PC With A Faster Storage Drive.

Believe it or not, I was waiting to get to this segment. 😛

Well, here I am.

Why was I waiting?

Well, because of the simple fact that if there is one upgrade that will boost your PC responsiveness the most is getting a fast SSD into your computer.

Allow me to explain, your PC speed and responsiveness will always be limited by the slowest link.

And guess which is the slowest link possibly in your PC.

Your mechanical hard drive.

Ideally, see if you can get a 1 TB or more Solid state drive for your PC.

But if you want to keep things in the budget do what I did with the PC I build on this blog.

Get a 1 TB or more mechanical hard driveand append it with a 500 Gb or 1 Tb solid-state drive.

I am listing all the recommended products below.

Recommended Solid State Drives.

Preview
Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s - CT250MX500SSD1
Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s - CT500MX500SSD1
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM)
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 2TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E2T0B/AM)
Samsung (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM) 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology
Title
Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s - CT250MX500SSD1
Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s - CT500MX500SSD1
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM)
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 2TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E2T0B/AM)
Samsung (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM) 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology
Interface
SATA III
SATA III
SATA III
SATA III
PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
Internal/External
Internal
Internal
Internal
Internal
Internal
Form Factor
2.5''
2.5''
2.5''
2.5''
M.2 (2280)
Capacity
250 GB
500 GB
1 TB
2 TB
1 TB
Customer rating
-
-
-
-
-
Prime
Price
$44.99
$57.99
$129.07
$279.99
$179.99
Preview
Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s - CT250MX500SSD1
Title
Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s - CT250MX500SSD1
Interface
SATA III
Internal/External
Internal
Form Factor
2.5''
Capacity
250 GB
Customer rating
-
Prime
Price
$44.99
Details
Preview
Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s - CT500MX500SSD1
Title
Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD, up to 560MB/s - CT500MX500SSD1
Interface
SATA III
Internal/External
Internal
Form Factor
2.5''
Capacity
500 GB
Customer rating
-
Prime
Price
$57.99
Details
Preview
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM)
Title
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM)
Interface
SATA III
Internal/External
Internal
Form Factor
2.5''
Capacity
1 TB
Customer rating
-
Prime
Price
$129.07
Details
Preview
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 2TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E2T0B/AM)
Title
Samsung SSD 860 EVO 2TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E2T0B/AM)
Interface
SATA III
Internal/External
Internal
Form Factor
2.5''
Capacity
2 TB
Customer rating
-
Prime
Price
$279.99
Details
Preview
Samsung (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM) 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology
Title
Samsung (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM) 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB - M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology
Interface
PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3
Internal/External
Internal
Form Factor
M.2 (2280)
Capacity
1 TB
Customer rating
-
Prime
Price
$179.99
Details

Recommended Mechanical hard Drives.

Seagate Bare Drives BarraCuda 1TB Internal Hard Drive HDD – 3.5 Inch SATA 6 Gb/s 7200 RPM 64MB Cache for Computer Desktop PC – Frustration Free Packaging ST1000DMZ10/DM010
  • Store more, compute faster, and do it confidently with the proven reliability of BarraCuda internal hard drives
  • Build a powerhouse gaming computer or desktop setup with a variety of capacities and form factors
  • The go-to SATA hard drive solution for nearly every PC application—from music to video to photo editing to PC gaming
  • Confidently rely on internal hard drive technology backed by 20 years of innovation
  • Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included two-year limited warranty
Sale
Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD – 3.5 Inch SATA 6Gb/s 7200 RPM 256MB Cache 3.5-Inch – Frustration Free Packaging (ST2000DM008)
  • Store more, compute faster, and do it confidently with the proven reliability of BarraCuda internal hard drives
  • Build a powerhouse gaming computer or desktop setup with a variety of capacities and form factors
  • The go to SATA hard drive solution for nearly every PC application—from music to video to photo editing to PC gaming
  • Confidently rely on internal hard drive technology backed by 20 years of innovation
  • Enjoy long term peace of mind with the included 2 year limited warranty
Seagate BarraCuda 4TB Internal Hard Drive HDD – 3.5 Inch Sata 6 Gb/s 5400 RPM 256MB Cache For Computer Desktop PC – Frustration Free Packaging ST4000DMZ04/DM004
  • Store more, compute faster, and do it confidently with the proven reliability of BarraCuda internal hard drives
  • Build a powerhouse gaming computer or desktop setup with a variety of capacities and form factors
  • The go to SATA hard drive solution for nearly every PC application from music to video to photo editing to PC gaming
  • Confidently rely on internal hard drive technology backed by 20 years of innovation; Max sustained transfer rate OD(MB/s): 190 MB/s
  • Enjoy long term peace of mind with the included 2 year limited warranty

You will have a hard time believing the incredible performance boost you will see after you install a solid-state drive independently or in combination with hard drives.

Installing a high-performance SSD will mean faster boot times, fast program loading times, faster game loading times, and overall increased responsiveness.

The great thing about solid-state drives is the fact that their price has been gradually decreasing over time.

A couple of years back people saw the incredible benefits of having a solid-state drive in their computer but were restricted by the price point.

Thankfully, we have been seeing a continuous decrease in price point and you can get high quality 1 TB SSDs at affordable prices now.

One great pick that balances the price and performance in a neat sense is the Sandisk SSD Plus.

This should be more than enough for most people who can’t afford the more pricey options displayed above.

SanDisk SSD PLUS 1TB Internal SSD - SATA III 6 Gb/s, 2.5"/7mm, Up to 535 MB/s - SDSSDA-1T00-G26
  • Easy upgrade for faster boot up, shutdown, application load and response (As compared to 5400 RPM SATA 2.5” hard drive; Based on published specifications and internal benchmarking tests using PCMrark vantage scores)
  • Boosts burst write performance, making it ideal for typical PC workloads
  • The perfect balance of performance and reliability
  • Read/write speeds of up to 535MB/s/450MB/s (Based on internal testing; Performance may vary depending upon drive capacity, host device, OS and application.)
  • Shock resistant for proven durability: Even if you drop your computer (Shock resistant (up to 1500G) and vibration resistant (5gRMS, 10 2000 HZ/4.9 gRMS, 7 800 HZ), temperature (from 0 degrees Celsius to 70 degrees Celsius))

4. Upgrading Your Processor For Enhancing Your PC’s Performance

Ok, so we are now entering into more technical aspects of upgrading your computer.

Most of the upgrades we discussed until now did not require a lot of skill manship from the user’s part.

Upgrading a CPU can be a bit tricky.

I am not saying it’s tough or you shouldn’t do it.

All I am saying is understand the simple fact that while upgrading a CPU will upgrade your PC to a higher performance benchmark but upgrading CPU may not be all that essential for you on a subjective basis.

Ah, I need to make that clear.

First off, if you wish to know in-depth as to how to go about choosing the best CPU for your needs, go ahead and open this post in a new tab and bask in the glory of knowledge. 😛

So before you go ahead and look to decide whether you should upgrade to a new CPU or not, ask this question to yourselves.

What do I want my computer to do after the upgrade?

If the answer to your question is, “I have a fairly new motherboard and the current system is limiting my multi-threaded tasks like video editing and I wish to gain more performance on these tasks.”

So If that is your answer, then yes you have the necessary technical knowledge to look into upgrading your CPU to a newer and higher version with more cores and threads.

If your answer is,”I just want my computer to be more responsive and game better”.

Than wait.

Hold on.

You may not necessarily need to upgrade your CPU

CPUs are expensive. And CPUs are fast. The fastest performing elements in your PC.

That is why when you are looking to upgrade your PC as a whole you are looking to upgrade to parts that will match the CPU properly.

Now, upgrading the CPU from one generation to its next-generation or moving from i3 to i5 may not necessarily provide you with the performance boost that you will see in the other upgrades that we discussed above.

Learn this by heart when you are browsing in the CPU world, Faster Clock Speeds Doesn’t Mean Better CPU.

Again go to this post for in-depth understanding of clock speeds.

To add to all this, looking to get a new CPU may force you to look into upgrading your motherboard.

Because the new CPU that you may be eyeing may not be compatible with your present motherboard.

And even if the new CPU is compatible with your motherboard you may need to update the BIOS of your motherboard for the new CPU to work.

Do you see what I am saying?

So look closely into your needs whether you will be okay without the CPU upgrade or not.

And if it so happens that you find it is your CPU that is bottlenecking your system;

You just might have to consider building a whole new PC for yourselves.

5. Upgrading Your System Softwares To Improve PC Performance

It’s not only hardware upgrades that promise a better PC.

It’s also the insides of the computer that deserves a look.

Most of the software that you have on your computer will get updated automatically, but sometimes you need to look out for outdated software that may create conflict and degrade the performance of your PC.

This includes updating your Windows OS as well.

A good way I found that will ensure that you keep your software and its update in check is to be very conscious of what you are installing and install only what is needed.

For example, I don’t have any anti-virus software installed on any of my computers.

More often than not heavy software like those can and will slow down your computer.

Then how do I protect my PCs.

Well, you don’t need to.

If you are conscious with your browsing, avoid shady sites, download from trustworthy sources and run a light effective software like the Malwarebytes occasionally, and when you feel something isn’t right.

You are set.

And not to mention that the Windows Defender is getting pretty good to at catching unwanted insurgents by the day.

So my advice is to keep your PC healthy by feeding him healthy foods and giving him proper exercises.

Don’t feed him anything and everything you find on the internet. That’s how you get constipated.

You see what I a saying?

Sometimes Windows OS updates can also slow down your PC.

Usually, this happens with the big version updates that Windows rolls out.

The incremental and minor security and performance patches will usually stabilize your system and won’t cause any performance issues.

Many people set their system on manual updates and let the big updates reach them only when they know it’s been patched so as to not affect the performance.

For an average user, I don’t recommend it.

If you are handling other aspects of your PC right, any issues caused by updates will usually be taken care of by subsequent patches.

Other Upgrades You Can Look Into.

Many of you might be wondering what about the motherboard?

Can I not upgrade my motherboard?

Well, here is the thing.

The motherboard is that part of the computer where everything settles in.

The only reason why you should consider upgrading your motherboard is that you found a CPU that you can’t live without and which isn’t compatible with your new setup.

This means somewhere within you are basically ready to build your own brand new PC.

But just getting a new motherboard to upgrade your PC isn’t a good idea looking at the fact that the performance increase you will have as a result of a new CPU won’t be all that observable (exceptions exist on a subjective basis).

There may also be certain subtle upgrades you can look forward to.

Having a dual or triple monitor setup if you are a video editor or a photographer can be a very sensible step.

If you are looking for something that is reliable and budget-friendly check this monitor out.

If you by wrong recommendations grabbed a faulty power supply, getting a modular high-quality power supply unit like this one is a great idea.

Seasonic FOCUS 650 Gold SSR-650FM 650W 80+ Gold ATX12V & EPS12V Semi-Modular 7 Year Warranty Compact 140 mm Size Power Supply
  • COMPACT SIZE - 140 MM DEEP; High power output to size ratio.
  • SEMI-MODULAR; The semi-modular cabling design provides the most common connections while allowing flexibility on the peripherals.
  • 80 PLUS GOLD; 87% efficient at 20% load, 90% efficient at 50% load, and 87% efficient at 100% load.
  • 120 mm FLUID DYNAMIC BEARING FAN; The 120 mm FDB fan inside is regulated by the Seasonic S2FC fan control, which optimizes the fan speed according to the needs of the system.
  • 7 YEAR WARRANTY; Our commitment to superior quality.

If you are a writer or programmer getting your hands on a quiet mechanical gaming cum typing keyboard like this one will improve your productivity.

Sale
SteelSeries Apex M750 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Aluminum Frame - RGB LED Backlit - Linear & Quiet Switch - Discord Notifications
  • Pure performance QX2 linear mechanical gaming switches
  • Durable 5000 Series aluminum alloy
  • Real time Discord in game lighting notifications
  • Easy and intuitive per key RGB lighting customization
  • Reactive illumination to in game events like low ammo, health, kills, and more

You see how you can look at different facets to upgrade your PC for performance and productivity.

Some of them will be obvious updates that we discussed over the course of this post.

And some of those upgrades can be made on a personal basis.

Therefore, I want you to be very intelligent in making PC upgrades.

Don’t just pick something because your favourite reviewer says its good.

See what you need and research for yourselves and get it, as simple as that.

Checking Compatibility Of PC Upgrades.

So, in conclusion, is you are looking to upgrade your PC for improved performance I recommend directing your focus on RAM, SSDs and graphics card primarily.

It’s like this the PC that you have has a peak performance dictated by its CPU which is not utilized owing to slower parts.

These parts that I mention will fill that gap in performance and that is the extent to which you can upgrade your PC.

If you wish to go beyond that, save up and build the best performing PC with respect to the current times when you have sufficient monies.

In order to ensure that the parts you are picking are compatible with all other parts visit pc part picker.

I mean eventually, you will be able to do it on your own but till then pc part picker and r/buildapc are great resources.

Alright with that said, we are at the end of this post on how should you upgrade your PC for gaming and productivity.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

If you have anything to add, anything at all, do not shy away from commenting that out in the comments section.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and this blog so that I can share helpful posts like these on a daily basis.

Take great care of yourselves and I will see you in the next one.

Tada!!.