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10 Signs Your PC Needs Upgrading

  February 24, 2021

10 Signs Your PC Needs Upgrading

It’s not always easy to let go of your long-time PC; it’s been with you through thick and thin, through gaming ups and downs and long nights of work and play alike. There comes a time with all PCs, however, when it’s time to put them out to pasture and reward yourself with something new and exciting, and much more capable.

Here are 10 signs that your PC needs upgrading, and why you might just be better off buying a new one.

1. Can’t Play New AAA Games

Screen capture image from the CD Projekt Red game Cyberpunk 2077 showing off its ray tracing appearance
Image credit: CD Projekt Red

It’s one of the worst feelings in the world for a PC gamer. You buy a new game, you’re all excited to play it with your friends and family and either it just doesn’t install, or when you try to boot it up it tells you your PC just doesn’t measure up.

Maybe the processor’s too old, you don’t have enough memory, or your graphics card is a few generations behind where it needs to be, but what you have just isn’t enough to get it going.

If your PC is a few years old, it’s a good idea to check the minimum specifications for any game before buying it to make sure that your PC can meet them, otherwise, this kind of error is an ever-present danger.

It’s possible that you’ll be able to replace or upgrade just one component in your system to bring you in line with what you need to play that game you’re after, but that is very much a stopgap solution to a problem that will only grow worse over time.

Once one game is too much for your PC, it won’t be long before lots of them are and that can lead to regular upgrades, which on a component by component basis can be more expensive than buying a brand new system outright – especially since your other older hardware will likely hold back your new, shiny upgrade.

2. Low Frame Rates or Frame Times

Graph showing the performance differences in FPS in Control, Minecraft and Borderlands 3 across the Nvidia RTX 3070, 2070 and GTX 1070
Image credit: Nvidia

Before you stop being able to play new games altogether, your PC will likely let you know it needs a helping hand by struggling to hit comfortable, smooth frame rates and frame times during play. This can result in choppy gameplay or immersion-breaking stuttering that can make it difficult to enjoy your favourite new games, no matter how much you adjust the settings.

Playing modern games at lower resolutions and details is one way to eke out a few more months or years from your PC, but there will come a point where you’re cheating yourself out of enjoyment in your favourite hobby by not upgrading.

Often a big graphics card or processor upgrade will go a long way to fixing poor frame rates and times and that is certainly worth considering when your PC is showing its age; although unless you’re willing to upgrade multiple components at the same time, you may be hamstringing your new and shiny piece of hardware.

Unless you’re playing at ultra high resolutions, powerful graphics cards need a powerful processor to work in tandem with them. A more modern CPU almost certainly means a new motherboard, and potentially new memory too.

If your PC is showing its age in just one key area, a single component upgrade makes the most sense to improve your gaming experience, but if there’s a lot to be desired about your pride and joy, it might be time to do a full system upgrade instead. Chillblast’s line of gaming PCs starts at reasonable prices with all-modern components and reaches as high as you can imagine with the most powerful hardware in the world.

Give them a look over, there might be something that tickles your fancy.

3. You Can Only Have So Many Tabs Open

Image showing both a laptop and desktop PC screen with a multitude of web browsing tabs open
Image credit: Tracy Apps/Flickr

Certain browsers are real resource hogs (we’re looking at you, Chrome), so there’s a maximum number of tabs that any PC can have open – even the super powerful ones. But if you’re finding that you have to close tabs when web browsing because your system slows to a crawl, it might be time to upgrade your PC.

Not being able to access all the information you need when you need it is a limitation of hardware, and though you could be more stringent with the number of windows or tabs you have open at any one time, or consider using a more efficient browser instead, a PC upgrade can let you continue to use your PC how you want it.

Typically, browsers require heaps of memory and a decent processor to retain strong performance. If you’re using an older PC with four, or even eight gigabytes of RAM, simply adding an additional stick of memory (make sure you get the same generation and speed as your existing stick(s)) can be enough to give your system a real boost in its web browsing capabilities. That’s especially true considering how easy RAM is to upgrade.

Processors aren’t quite so easy to replace, especially in older systems where getting hold of a CPU that’s compatible with your motherboard may be difficult – it’ll have to be second hand. Still, an upgrade from a dual-core CPU to a quad-core option can be both affordable and game-changing for PC’s struggling with web browsing. It might give your system just enough extra power to last another year or so before you need to buy a new PC.

4. Running Low on Storage Space

Image of a PCs disk space with each disk being almost full
Image credit: William Hook/Flickr

With bigger games, higher resolution movies, and slimmer laptops than ever before, it’s not uncommon for even modern PCs to run out of storage space. If you’re just maxing out your Steam library’s drive, you can always have it install games to an additional drive too – although unless it’s an SSD, you can likely expect performance to be worse.

You could consider deleting a few games or apps, as that can help free up a lot of space. Tools like CCleaner can help remove unwanted files, too.

If you’re using a desktop, adding more storage is an easy option, as it’s as simple as plugging in an extra drive – assuming you have the NVMe or SATA data and power connectors to take it. Laptops are a lot harder to upgrade, although external drives do give you some options if you don’t mind taking a big hit on performance.

Often, replacing your existing drive(s) with larger versions is a good move as you can take advantage of improvements in performance as well as capacity. The process can be a little more complicated though, as you’ll need to move your data over from the old drive to the new one. In the case of your boot drive, that likely means reinstalling your operating system too.

If that all feels a bit complicated, it might be time to consider a new PC. Give Chillblast a ring and talk us through the issue you’re having. It might be that a modest PC upgrade will give you all the space you need, and some added performance too.

5. Struggling to Rank Higher In Competitive Games

Have you hit a ceiling when playing ranked in your favourite game? Chances are there are some training exercises you can do to up your game, or it might be time to learn a new hero. If you’re using an older PC though, you could consider a gaming PC upgrade to help improve your game. Believe it or not, faster gaming PCs actually give you a competitive advantage.

As several in-depth studies have shown, higher frame rates mean lower latency and lower input lag. That means you’ll see your opponent’s actions faster and your reactions will register quicker too. That can shave tens of milliseconds off of your actions, which in the most competitive of games, can make all the difference between winning and losing.

Although many of the most popular esports games like League of Legends, CS:GO, DotA 2, and Fortnite, all have relatively low system requirements, you can give yourself a real competitive edge by throwing powerful hardware at them to guarantee higher frame rates. You’ll want a high refresh rate monitor to take full advantage too.

Want to go one step further? Modern graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD support streamlined rendering pipelines to improve your input lag even further. Although the past few generations of all GPUs can take advantage of Nvidia’s Ultra Low Latency mode or AMD’s Anti-Lag, you’ll get the best performance overall with one of their newer generation cards in a new gaming PC.

6. Awful Office/Video Editing Performance

Image of a man sat at a desk with two monitors in front of him, both with video editing software being used

If you don’t use your PC for play, there’s no reason you can’t benefit from an upgrade too. If you find Excel takes a long time when loading your big spreadsheets, or video editing anything above 1080p is super choppy, buying a new PC might be the best way to improve your working experience.

For most productivity tasks, a strong multi-core CPU and plenty of high-speed memory will go a long way to keeping the experience fluid and responsive. Although you may be able to upgrade both within your existing PC, the latest generations of CPUs have pushed multi-threaded performance to previously unheard of levels. That not only makes the most expensive processors the most powerful ever seen, but the more modest options a great buy at a more affordable price.

Buying newer generation CPUs and memory does mean buying a new motherboard too, though, and you may need to factor in the cost of a more capable cooler and a different case if your existing one is a proprietary design from an OEM like Dell or HP.

Chillblast offers PCs designed specifically with office tasks in mind, so if you have a real need for greater performance but don’t need all of the bells and whistles of an expensive gaming PC, give Chillblast a call to see what we can do.

7. Can’t Stream 4K Movies or TV Shows

Screenshot that highlights Cobra Kai as the selected choice on Netflix

If you’ve upgraded your monitor to 4K to enjoy UHD movies and TV shows when you aren’t browsing the web or working, you might hit an annoying snag: your PC just can’t seem to do it. Whether it’s YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or some other streaming service, your PC just won’t stream 4K content. Why is that?

Because your graphics chip or card isn’t powerful enough.

Integrated graphics in five+ year old AMD and Intel CPUs just don’t support resolutions that high, and graphics cards that are more than a decade old won’t be able to do it either. It just simply wasn’t a feature that the hardware was designed to handle.

Fortunately, you don’t need much to watch 4K content on your favourite streaming services. The downside is that a CPU upgrade that will be compatible with your motherboard and allow 4K streaming is very unlikely, meaning you’ll need a new CPU, motherboard, and RAM at the very least, and possibly a newly compatible power supply and cooler too.

You could potentially upgrade your graphics card to something that’s a couple of years newer than what you’ve got, but you’ll want to double-check the compatibility with your existing motherboard first.

If all you want to do on your 4K screen is stream, then a small streaming service stick like the Roku Streaming 4K or Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K might be your best bet. Otherwise, consider one of these low-cost, 4K streaming-ready PCs from Chillblast.

8. Slow Boot/Game Load Times

The main culprit for any system that is taking a long time to load games or boot to Windows is slow storage. Either your SSD is getting very old and worn out, or you’re relying on antiquated hard drive technology and missing out on not only faster load times, but a much snappier system overall.

It’s definitely time to upgrade. Nothing in the last 20 years has improved the PC usage experience more than SSD technology. It’s a whole different world.

If you’re happy enough reinstalling your operating system and games yourself, then it’s simple enough to buy an SSD and set it up from scratch. In 2021, SSDs are cheaper than ever and you can get a huge one that is blazingly fast for comparably little.

If that all sounds a bit daunting, you might want to consider a Chillblast PC instead. Every PC we build is based on SSD technology, making them super  fast to start-up, whether you’re building a high-powered gaming machine, or a system for working and browsing the web.

9. Crashes, Blue Screen Errors, Freezes

There are all sorts of reasons you can run into a crash, a blue screen, or a random freeze during gameplay or while sitting at the desktop. It could be outdated drivers, nasty malware, or just plain bad luck. If it keeps happening though, and you’ve exhausted the expertise of your friends and family in fixing it, it might be worth considering whether a PC upgrade is better than spending another few days or even weeks trying to fix the problem.

There’s nothing more valuable than your time, after all.

Individual hardware failures can often be the cause of major errors. A dying hard drive might cause your system to lock up before it starts to damage your data, or a memory stick that’s past its best may cause random blue screen errors. You’ll need to diagnose the problem before you can fix it with an individual component replacement.

If you’ve reached the point where you just want your PC to work again and don’t mind paying for the problem to go away, reach out to Chillblast. We’ll put together a new PC which will help you forget the problems with your existing PC, and improve your whole PC usage experience in ways you might not expect.

10. You Can’t Install The Latest Operating System

Screenshot of an error window highlighting that the system is unable to run Windows 10
Image credit: osde8info/Flickr

When components reach a certain age, they can also fall victim to being left out of the minimum requirements needed to upgrade to the latest version of the OS you use.

Not only does this impact the opportunity for bug fixes and results in missing out on new features that add more layers of functionality and accessibility, but it can also have a large impact on the overall security of your system.

This means that your precious files, documents and private information could be vulnerable to a malicious attack through spyware or malware, which ultimately could have been avoided if the system was running the latest version of its operating system.

If your PC has been left to fend for itself after not meeting the requirements for a new update, it may be time to reach out to us for an upgrade. All of our PCs are thoroughly tested and updated to the latest version of the current Windows OS before being sent out for delivery, so you can feel secure in knowing that your system is fully protected straight out of the box.


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