There are some great accessories
and upgrades available to take the PC you love and give it a
really good makeover. You can end up with something
that you like better than the new PCs in the stores.
often can make a really big difference. But not everyone knows
there model number to find out what extra memory is available. Crucial.com takes
the hassle out of this. They have an online scanner that can
quickly identify your make and model, and tell you how much
memory is already installed. If it says your maxed out
on RAM, then your done. But if your PC can hold more memory, it
shows you what your options are.
Upgrading the hard drive
to a bigger one is something a lot of people would like to do,
but find the job too daunting. Apricorn.com takes a lot of the
hassle out of that job. Their EZ Upgrade Universal Hard Drive
Upgrade Kit is designed for laptops. It lets you plug your
new, larger drive into an external sleeve attached to a USB
port. Then the provided software can make an exact copy of
your hard drive onto the newer drive. When the new drive is
installed onto your laptop, your computer should operate just
as it used to, with all your files and programs in place. You
just have a bigger hard drive. Your old drive could serve as
an emergency backup if you ever got a virus that made your
laptop not function.
Now, solid state drives
offer a tempting option. There are expensive, but offer
several features. They are silent, since there's no moving
parts inside. Also, if you drop your laptop, the drive
shouldn't be damaged. If the computer itself is too badly
damages, your hard drive could be taken out and put in another
laptop, so you retain your data and programs.
"Toaster" hard drives
(they look sort of like a toaster with a piece of bread
sticking out) offer a convenient way to back up data. They are
a cradle that you can plug a standard internal hard drive
into; this connects to your computer via a USB cable. You can
then make extra copies of important data, or back up the
entire computer. Then you can physically disconnect the hard
drive, and even lock it up somewhere safe. Then if your PC is
lost of stolen, or it's hard drive fails, or you get a virus,
well, you have a complete back up drive to use.
You should even be able to back up more than one computer with
some brands of toaster drive. Or, you can just leave it
connected, and have an additional, extra large capacity drive
to store stuff on.
How about adding TV to your PC?
You can buy TV tuner cards and USB tuners. The latter
will even work with a laptop. You just plug in your cable
wire, the software scans for available channels, and it works
a lot like a TV. You can even record programs. Some models let
you plug in a video camera feed, which can let you set up a
security camera or a baby room monitor camera.
A clip on web cam can add
a lot of value to a laptop that doesn't have a web cam. You
can video chat with your friends across the country or across
the world free of charge. Good video chat software is
available free from providers like Yahoo and MSN.
A higher capacity battery
can give you significantly longer running time on a laptop.
Many laptops come with four or six cell batteries. By
upgrading from a four cell to a six cell, or from a six cell
to a nine cell battery, if it's available, you may change a
laptop that's frustrating to use to one that's fn to use.
Batteries slowly deteriorate over time, so what may have
originally been a 2 and a half hour charge may now be a one
and a half over time. Getting a larger capacity battery might
give you as much as four hours of use. Of course, batteries
with more cells are heavier and sometimes stick out from the
laptop in weird ways
(particularly some of the 9 cell
batteries), so it pay to
do a little research.
A way to charge your laptop in
your car can be handy. One cost effective way is to buy a
small inverter. This provides a 120 volt outlet. You don't
need a big inverter to provide power to charge a laptop; a 150
watt model should do fine
If your computer can't burn CDs
or DVDs, it's easy to add an external drive that can.
These have the advantage that they can be used on more than
one computer, such as a home computer and a laptop. They just
plug into a USB port. You can get one that can make DVDs for
as little as about $60.
New products are coming out all
the time, so you may be surprised at how much you can
transform your older PC into something really enjoyable to