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Update vs Upgrade: Replacing PC Parts or Buying New
September 28, 2022
Reading time: 8 minutes
We rely on our computers for so much these days, from work and eSports competitions to staying connected with family and friends. This makes it all the more frustrating when your computer suddenly stops working and you’re faced with the following question: should I upgrade my PC or buy a new one?
Here is what you need to know about upgrading a PC vs replacing it with a new model.
Benefits of upgrading PC parts
There are several advantages to ordering replacement parts for your PC.
When you replace an old or broken part, you can buy the exact technology you really want, whether it’s a fan with RGB lighting or a motherboard with more RAM slots. Your factory-built computer can take on a new life as the perfect machine for you and your personal needs with just a few replacement parts.
Some parts are very cheap to replace, and even when they’re not, it may still be more cost effective compared to buying a new PC. Unless you’re buying a lot of new parts at once, you can even purchase a new graphics card or process for much less than a brand-new build.
We all have certain things we love about our computer, from the feel of the laptop keyboard to carefully organized files and programs. When you swap out a part, you can keep using the device you already know. You won't have to transfer any files (unless you’re replacing a hard-drive) or familiarize yourself with a new device.
Cons of upgrading PC parts
Not everyone is up for the challenge of repairs. Here’s why you may want to avoid it.
1. Can be tricky
Unless you know what you are doing, you may struggle to replace some components. CPUs require a steady hand and making sure you line up those pins just right, while a motherboard requires you to know about compatibility. Plus, you may not even know exactly what’s wrong with your computer, which could lead you to playing a guessing game and replacing the wrong parts.
You will also need a few basic tools to access your PC, as well as knowledge on how to avoid transferring static from your body to the PC. Failure to do so could fry your components and make things worse.
2. May not be upgradeable
While you can swap the parts in most PCs, you may not be able to with some older machines and those from select brands that have compatibility issues. For example, you may run into an obsolete chipboard on a low-end PC. Also, older All-in-One PCs (AiOs) can be tricky to open up and access the parts inside. And then there are laptops, some of which simply aren't designed for consumer repairs, even if you manage to open it.
3. May face supply shortages
You may have heard about the global chip shortage and its impact on our ability to obtain certain tech, including PC components. While this issue is resolving, you may still have trouble finding a few parts. This also leads to a bigger reseller market, where you may end up paying a lot more for a part than it is actually worth.
4. May cost more
Depending on what went wrong with your PC, it may be more affordable to just buy new. If you add up the cost of a processor and graphic card, plus supplies and tools to make the repair, you’re looking at a majority of the cost of a new laptop or PC. This varies by part, of course, but be prepared to spend more for a major PC overhaul.
Benefits of buying new
There are perks to replacing your old PC with a new one, and they include the following.
1. A new device
There’s no denying that new things are exciting and offer much less hassle compared to older technology. When you replace your computer, you get all the benefits of a new PC, including loads of storage space, faster boot times, and a completely clean device.
2. New coverage plan
With a new product, you get a new manufacturer's warranty. When you shop with HP, you can also add on an HP Care Pack to protect against accidents and spills. For those who worry about how they'll afford future repairs, this is an excellent reason to buy new.
3. Updated technology
New products come with the latest generation of processors, updated operating systems, and the most recent version of platform tools and hardware. If you’re already considering updating two or more parts, you can save time and hassle when you buy new.
Cons of buying new
There are some downsides to consider when buying a new PC.
1. Can be more expensive
Buying an entirely new PC can be costly, especially when compared to replacing a small part like a fan or power supply. If you don't have hundreds of dollars to throw at a problem, you may want to reconsider.
2. Requires a period of adjustment
If you were really cozy with your original PC, you may not want to deal with familiarizing yourself with a new product. From the keyboard keys placement to relocating all your files, it's rare that you can just jump into using a new PC without a period of breaking it in.
How to upgrade PC parts
If you decide to give parts replacement a try, you’ll find it simple to locate and order the PC replacement parts for your specific HP computer in the HP Parts Store. You can simply enter your PC model and serial number to see the parts that fit. Plus, you can browse by category for the most common components.
At a glance, you’ll see a list of in-stock replacement computer parts, as well as those that will be available soon. Here are some items you can order from the HP Parts Store:
Power Supply Unit
Touchscreen display panel
After you place your order, you’ll receive updated communications on when it will ship and arrive, giving you a chance to plan ahead for when you can update your PC. The HP Parts Store is one of the most useful self-service resources available for HP computer owners, and it’s an affordable way to replace parts on your own terms.
Even if you're not convinced it's cheaper to replace your own parts, checking the Parts Store can show you what you may have to spend to repair your PC, so you can make an informed choice. Also, if you plan to work with an IT pro to repair your PC, this site will give you an idea of what they could – and should – charge.
How to buy a new PC
If you decide that replacing your computer is the best option, you have plenty of high-performing desktops and laptops to choose from. Here are some best-selling HP computers to consider.
1. HP All-in-One 27-inch
With no separate PC tower to connect, the HP All-in-One 27-cb1085st delivers performance and convenience in a stylish, minimalist design. It includes the 12th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor with Iris® Xᵉ Graphics, 8GB of RAM, and more than 1TB of zippy solid-state drive (SSD) storage.
2. HP Victus 15L gaming PC
Whether you’re a pro gamer or a casual hobbyist, you should know that the Victus name stands for power and value. This PC tower is loaded with PC gaming essentials, including a robust 12th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3060 graphics. Add on 16GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD (plus 512GB SSD), and you’ll leave your competition in the dust.
3. HP ENVY laptop 17
HP ENVY has a reputation for doing everything better, and the 17-inch HP ENVY laptop does not disappoint. With a beautiful design and thoughtful extras, such as the Corning® Gorilla® Glass NBT™ coating on the large, flicker-free screen, you’ll understand why this family of computers is known as “ENVY.” It boasts a 12th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Xᵉ Graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a touch screen.
4. HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptop
If you have never used a 2-in-1 laptop before, you could be missing out. With durable hinges that let you fold it over into a tablet, the HP Spectre x360 lets you enjoy more viewing angles than ever. It also has a touch screen, so you can get more hands-on with your programs. It comes with the 12th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and Iris Xᵉ Graphics, plus 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD.
Upgrading a PC vs buying new? It’s up to you
While it’s ultimately your choice on whether you buy a new computer or not, the concept of upgrading a PC has become more commonplace over the years. That’s particularly true if you shop with HP. With so many parts available for order and an easy selection process, buying from the HP Parts Store is a stress-free way to shop. It's also a simplified approach for DIYers who want to swap out parts and get back to work.
If you’re set on a computer upgrade, we totally get that, too. With so many great sales and offers available, it’s possible to buy new for the cost of replacing a few of the more expensive components in your existing PC.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author and public speaker. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.
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