Modern technology gives us many things.

7 Ways to Upgrade Your Gaming PC Other Than Buying a New Graphics Card


Graphics cards are one of the most popular upgrades nowadays. Those who want to improve their gaming capabilities generally look at GPUs as their first purchase.

However, graphics cards are insanely expensive as well. So, if you want to have a better gaming experience but can’t afford to shell out money for this hot commodity, consider upgrading these other components instead.

We’ll list down these upgrades from most affordable to the most expensive. So if you have some cash to spend but not enough for a GPU, be sure to read until the end!

1. Gaming Keyboards and Mice

a gaming keyboard and mouse from Redragon

One of the best ways to improve your gaming experience is to have a decent keyboard and mouse. If you don’t have a good pair yet, you should consider this upgrade. After all, you need these peripherals to use your computer.

You can get an excellent mechanical gaming keyboard for less than a hundred dollars and match it with a lightweight gaming mouse for less than half that. You can also get wired and wireless connectivity for both. Some keyboards and mice even offer customizable keys, allowing you to create shortcuts for your most-used commands.

Related: The Best Mechanical Keyboards for Typists and Gamers

This basic upgrade will markedly enhance your PC gaming experience. Its impact is so significant that you can find several social groups dedicated to mechanical keyboards, with some users owning at least three keyboards or more.


2. Gaming Headphones and Speakers

gaming headphones on a desk with keyboard

Most gamers focus on visual quality—4K monitors, insane refresh rates, and powerful graphics cards. However, they’re missing out on half of the experience if they don’t invest in audio. While you don’t need a sound card if you’re not streaming or recording, an excellent headphone or speaker system will noticeably improve your gaming experience.

This is especially true for tactical games, like first-person shooters, when hearing your opponents’ footsteps can allow you to set them up for an ambush. If you have a dedicated gaming space where you won’t disturb your neighbors or housemates when playing, consider getting a high-quality 5.1 surround sound audio system.

But if you have roommates or thin walls where loud sounds will affect others, you should go for a gaming headset. You can get a good pair for less than $30, but if you want to splurge on yourself, you can get a top-of-the-line model that goes for more than $200.

3. RAM

TridentZ RGB RAM sticks

If your computer is at least three to five years old, you should consider getting a RAM upgrade. If you’re into gaming, the bare minimum you should have on your system is 8 GB. The ideal current setup should have at least 16GB to run the latest games.

Those with more recent computers should also look at RAM speed. You have to look at your motherboard’s specifications for that, but you’d want to have RAM sticks that match its performance. The latest motherboard technology now supports up to 3600 MHz, so if you’re running a slower RAM stick, you should consider upgrading that.

You can also add additional RAM if your PC has available slots. It’s best to have an even number of RAM sticks installed, so you can take advantage of dual-channel mode. This ensures your system runs as efficiently as possible.

Related: Faster RAM vs. More RAM: Which Is More Important for Performance?

Two 8GB 3200 MHz RAM sticks from popular brands like Corsair and Hyper X have a retail price between $75 and $125. However, if you want larger and faster RAM, you might have to shell out a bit more.

4. SSDs

NVMe SSDs on a PCIe adapter

Old, high-end computers seem slow when compared to current systems. However, upgrading its hard drive to an SSD will give it a new lease on life. A solid-state drive can transform an old PC that takes five minutes to boot into something that feels like new, where its boot time falls to less than 30 seconds.

The SSD is a crucial upgrade for any computer that doesn’t have one. And if you already have a small SSD for your operating system, then maybe you should consider upgrading your data drive to an SSD, too. Alternatively, you can add an extra SSD if you have an available slot.

You will improve your computer’s loading speeds if you run your games off an SSD. That’s because it takes a lot less time to read and write data, allowing you to get off to the races in a lot less time.

1TB NVMe M.2 SSDs generally retail above $150, but if you have an older system that doesn’t have this port, you’ll have to settle for a SATA SSD. Although they’re slower than NVMe models, they’re also much more affordable, with 1TB models generally going for less than a hundred dollars.

5. Gaming Monitors

Best Triple Monitor Stands

If you’re saving up for a brand-new GPU, consider getting a better monitor that can take advantage of all that power. And since displays are generally cheaper than most graphics cards right now, you can buy it first while you’re saving up, waiting for the GPU’s retail price to fall, or both.

You should consider the capabilities of the GPU you’re targeting when picking a new screen. For example, if you’re getting an RTX 3090, then you’d want to have a 4K display capable of 144Hz refresh rates or more. Those going for a more reasonable RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3070 might have to settle for a 1440p, 144Hz gaming monitor.

But whether you’re buying the most powerful GPU or only aiming for entry-level options like the RTX 3050, you should at least get a Full HD 24-inch display. This is the sweet spot for most PC users and helps reduce and prevent eye strain, as most new monitors implement technology to reduce it.

Related: The Best 1440p Gaming Monitors for All Budgets

You can get off-brand displays starting at $150. But if you want to stick to popular brands, they usually start at $200. However, you have to shell out a bit more if you wish to have better features like faster refresh rates, DisplayPort compatibility, and built-in speakers.

6. CPUs With Integrated Graphics

AMD processor and Intel processor side by side

Processors that integrate a graphics processing unit are accelerated processing units or APUs. While most people related integrated graphics with lower performance, AMD overcame this with their Ryzen chips.

These APUs have AMD’s new RDNA architecture, allowing them to integrate high-performance chips into their CPUs. Even Intel is getting into the game, with Intel’s newer chips featuring UHD Graphics or Iris Xe Graphics.

While these integrated chips can’t run the latest games at the highest settings, you can still use them to run your titles at a lesser quality and lower but acceptable frame rates.

These chips start at $250 if you want to upgrade. However, you have to consider the socket of your motherboard. If it’s not compatible with the latest APUs available, you’ll have to upgrade that as well. This could snowball your cost.

7. Gaming Laptop

Acer Predator Helios 300 PH513-35-79C4 keyboard deck and RTX sticker

This is a controversial topic, especially for hardcore desktop gamers. Desktop computers indeed have the edge over laptops. That’s because desktops can draw more power and can cool more efficiently. Their cases typically have larger spaces for better airflow, and high-performance desktops can utilize liquid cooling.

However, the price of high-performance parts—specifically, the GPU—sometimes make it impractical to go for a desktop PC. For example, the RTX 3080 Ti has an MSRP of $1,199 but currently retails at over $2,000. These prices can land you a complete gaming laptop with a mobile RTX 3070, a Ryzen 9-5900HX chip, and all the bells and whistles.

Related: Why Laptop Gaming Is Taking Over From Desktop Gaming

Another advantage of getting a gaming laptop is that you can easily bring it anywhere. So if you frequently move between your parent’s home and your university dorm, it’s not a hassle to lug your computer with you.

A GPU Is Just a Part of the Whole

Graphics cards are great to have if you’re into gaming. An RTX 3080 Ti can let you enjoy the latest gaming titles at the best possible quality while keeping fast refresh rates. However, they’re not the be-all and end-all of PC gaming.

If you’re willing to compromise some of your visual quality, you’ll still be able to have hours and hours of enjoyment playing games with your friends. So, if you don’t have the budget to spare for a graphics card, consider some of the alternatives mentioned above instead.

Which Upgrades Will Improve Your PC Performance the Most?

Need a faster computer but aren’t sure what you should upgrade on your PC? Follow our PC upgrade checklist to find out.

Read Next

About The Author

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.