Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 168 / SEPTEMBER 1994 / PAGE 49

Why upgrade Your PC? (personal computer) (Compute's Getting Started With: Upgrading Your PC)
by Richard Mann

Maybe you've had this experience: You bring home your new hot software purchase, sit down to the computer, load the program, and finally type in the command to run it. Nothing happens. Or you get an error message stating that there's not enough memory to run it. Or the computer ties itself into knots curable only by rebooting.

Other times, you don't even get that far. Perhaps the installation routine looks at the available space on your hard drive and snootily informs you that you don't have enough space. Or it snarls itself up trying to find and test your sound card. Or it could be any of a hundred other nasty ways that modern software has t frustrate your efforts to run it on anything less than absolutely modern, state-of-the-art hardware.

Even if you're lucky and it runs, you're not out of the woods. You may find the voices and sound effects lagging well behind the screen action, or the video may come in sporadic jerks, or the program may run so slooooowly that it's just not usable.

These things happen all the time. Software developers seem to aim at the leading edge of the hardware wave and assume that you have the latest in a highpowered computer. So to run today's hot software, you're faced with a choice: Buy a new computer or upgrade your existing machine.

Upgrading can make sense - unless you're replacing everything inside the case. If you're still running a 386 of any variety, you're probably hitting limitations regularly. Depending on the software you want to run, upgrading a few components can give you a capable new machine. If you have an old 286, upgrading the motherboard and chip (and probably the hard drive) can do the job for you, although you should carefully evaluate the comparative costs o buying an entirely new machine. Remember that the old parts you don't upgrade may not be long for this world.

Keep in mind throughout this series of articles on upgrading that all but the most lavish 486 screamers are really quite reasonably priced. Further, if you buy a new computer, you'll still have the old one around for limited duty. As the sixties became the era of the twocar family, the nineties are becoming the era of the two-computer family.