Graphics cards are one of the most popular upgrades nowadays. Those who want to improve their gaming capabilities generally see GPUs as their first purchase.
However, graphics cards are also extremely expensive. So if you want to have a better gaming experience, but you can not afford to spend money on this hot product, consider upgrading these other components.
We will list these upgrades from the most affordable to the most expensive. So if you have some cash to spend but not enough for a GPU, be sure to read to the end!
1. Game keyboards and mice
One of the best ways to enhance your gaming experience is to have a decent keyboard and mouse. If you do not yet have a good pair, you should consider this upgrade. After all, you need these peripherals to use your computer.
You can get a great mechanical gaming keyboard for less than a hundred dollars and match it with a lightweight gaming mouse for less than half. You can also get wired and wireless connectivity for both. Some keyboards and mice even offer customizable keys, allowing you to create shortcuts to the commands you use most often.
This basic upgrade will greatly enhance your gaming experience. Its impact is so significant that you can find many social groups dedicated to mechanical keyboards, with some users having at least three or more keyboards.
2. Headphones and gaming speakers
Most gamers focus on visual quality — 4K screens, crazy refresh rates, and powerful graphics cards. However, they lose half the experience if they do not invest in sound. Although you do not need a sound card if you do not stream or record, a great headset or speaker system will greatly enhance your gaming experience.
This is especially true for tactical games, such as first-person shooters, when listening to your opponents’ footsteps can set them up for an ambush. If you have a dedicated gaming area where you will not disturb your neighbors or roommates when you play, consider getting a high quality 5.1 surround sound system.
But if you have roommates or thin walls where loud noises 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 relax, you can get a top model that costs more than $ 200.
If your computer is at least three to five years old, you should consider upgrading your RAM. If you play games, the minimum you need on your system is 8 GB. The ideal current setting should be at least 16 GB to run the latest games.
Those with newer computers should also consider RAM speed. You need to look at your motherboard specifications for this, but you would like to have RAM sticks that match its performance. The latest motherboard technology now supports up to 3600 MHz, so if you are using slower RAM, you may want to consider upgrading it.
You can also add extra RAM if your computer has slots available. It is best to have an even number of RAM sticks installed so that you can take advantage of the two channel operation. This ensures that your system works as efficiently as possible.
Two 8 GB 3200 MHz RAM sticks from popular brands such as Corsair and Hyper X have a retail price of between $ 75 and $ 125. However, if you want bigger and faster RAM, you may have to pay a little more.
Older, more advanced computers look slower than current systems. However, upgrading the hard drive to SSD will give it a new lease of life. A solid state drive can turn an old computer that takes five minutes to boot into something that looks like new, where the boot time drops to less than 30 seconds.
SSD is a critical upgrade for any computer that does not have it. And if you already have a small SSD for your operating system, then you might want to consider upgrading your data drive to an SSD. Alternatively, you can add an extra SSD if you have a slot available.
You will improve the loading speed of your computer if you run your games from SSD. This is because it takes much less time to read and write data, allowing you to get off the races in much less time.
1 TB NVMe M.2 SSDs usually sell for over $ 150, but if you have an older system that does not have this port, you will have to compromise with a SATA SSD. Although they are slower than NVMe models, they are also much more affordable, with 1 TB models generally costing less than a hundred dollars.
5. Game screens
If you are saving money for a brand new GPU, consider buying a better monitor that can take advantage of all this power. And since monitors are generally cheaper than most graphics cards right now, you can buy them first while saving money, waiting for the GPU retail price to drop, or both.
You need to consider the capabilities of the GPU you are targeting when selecting a new monitor. For example, if you are getting an RTX 3090, then you would like to have a 4K display capable of refresh rates of 144 Hz or higher. Those who want a more reasonable RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3070 may need to settle for a 1440p, 144 Hz gaming screen.
But whether you are buying the most powerful GPU or targeting only basic options like the RTX 3050, you should at least get a 24-inch Full HD screen. This is the sweet spot for most PC users and helps reduce and prevent eye strain as most new monitors use technology to reduce it.
You can get off-brand screens starting at $ 150. But if you want to stay in popular brands, they usually start at $ 200. However, you need to spend a little more if you want better features like faster refresh rates, DisplayPort compatibility and built-in speakers.
6. CPU with integrated graphics
Processors that incorporate a graphics processing unit are fast processing units or APUs. While most associated with embedded graphics with lower performance, AMD surpassed this with Ryzen chips.
These APUs have AMD’s new RDNA architecture, which allows them to integrate high-performance chips into their CPUs. Even Intel comes into play, with the latest Intel chips featuring UHD or Iris Xe Graphics.
While these built-in chips may not play the latest games at higher settings, you can use them to view your titles in lower quality and lower but acceptable frame rates.
These brands start at $ 250 if you want to upgrade. However, you must consider the slot on your motherboard. If it is not compatible with the latest APUs available, you will need to upgrade as well. This can cost you money.
7. Laptop Gaming
This is a controversial issue, especially for desktop gamers. Desktops actually have the edge over laptops. This is because desktops can draw more power and can cool more efficiently. Their cases usually have more space for better airflow, and high-performance desktops can use liquid cooling.
However, the price of high-performance GPU spare parts sometimes makes it impossible to choose a desktop computer. For example, the RTX 3080 Ti has an MSRP of $ 1,199, but is currently selling for over $ 2,000. These prices can offer you a complete gaming laptop with RTX 3070 laptop, Ryzen 9-5900HX chip and all the bells and whistles.
Another advantage of getting a gaming laptop is that you can easily carry it anywhere. So if you frequently move between your parents’s home and your university dorm, it is not a hassle to have your computer with you.
A GPU is just a part of the whole
Graphics cards are ideal to have if you are into gaming. An RTX 3080 Ti can allow you to enjoy the latest gaming titles in the best possible quality while maintaining fast refresh rates. However, it is not the best and the end of all computer games.
If you are willing to compromise some of your visual quality, you will still have hours and hours of enjoyment playing games with your friends. Therefore, if you do not have the budget to spend on a graphics card, consider some of the alternatives listed above.
Which upgrades will further improve your computer performance?
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