Even with the best maintenance routine and regular cleaning, laptops don’t usually age well. After a couple of years, they tend to feel more sluggish and slow at times. You can reinstall Windows, make sure you have the latest drivers, and even do a deeper cleaning of the fans and the internals to bring back some performance, but ultimately you need some upgrades to gain a substantial boost.
Not all upgrades are created equal. Some are worth investing in if you want nothing but the best performance out of your older laptop. With careful planning and a couple of investments, you can add valuable upgrades to your laptop today.
Investing in SSDs is always a good thing. They’re getting more affordable and you now have more options in terms of performance and price. You can also get an SSD with up to 2TB of capacity, so storage space isn’t an issue like it used to be.
Newer SSDs offer faster read and write speeds through the use of NVMe slots and your laptop’s PCIe 4x lane. Check the specification – and whether the NVMe port can be used for an extra drive – before investing in an SSD. This way, you don’t end up paying for speeds you can’t really enjoy.
As for the right SSD for your laptop, reviews are your best friends. Sites like HDDMag.com offer access to a wealth of information on the latest SSDs and drives. There are also detailed tutorials on whether you should go with SATA or NVMe SSDs, how to check the kind of SSD your laptop can handle, and many more.
RAM is another great upgrade option to consider. Your board and the processor attached to it may support faster RAM sticks thanks to BIOS and driver updates. If that’s the case, upgrading the RAM sticks you use is a great way to enjoy a nice boost in performance, especially when it comes to multitasking and running heavy apps.
Similar to SSDs, you shouldn’t just pick a set of RAM sticks and hope for the best. Understand the kind of RAM your laptop supports (i.e. DDR3, DDR4) and the maximum speed it can handle. Don’t forget to check the maximum supported RAM capacity and make your investment decision based on these details.
New Thermal Paste
We’re entering a more advanced upgrade with this next one, but it is an upgrade worth considering if you want to muster more performance out of the CPU of your laptop. Opening the laptop up, cleaning the heatsinks, and reapplying a high-quality thermal paste for better heat distribution can really take the performance of your laptop to the next level.
Repasting isn’t just good for the health of your CPU. Most of the time, your laptop needs to throttle down due to excessive heat. If you remove that heat more efficiently, you end up with a CPU capable of running faster for longer. Remember that this is a big challenge, so only use highly recommended thermal paste and only move forward if you know exactly what you are doing.