As amazing and powerful as modern technology can be, it’s always possible to get a bit more from your consumer electronics. A typical desktop or laptop PC is highly extensible and upgradeable if you know what you’re doing. Enhancing the computing experience is pretty easy with the right hardware. A few choice upgrades can make you more productive than ever without breaking the bank. The following devices are some of the best values to be found in the PC market.
Upgrade Your Disks
One of the most obvious upgrades that anyone with a PC should consider is a solid-state drive. Today’s SSDs are incredibly fast and quite reliable thanks to recent advances in manufacturing technology. Better yet, SSDs only take a few minutes to install in a desktop PC or laptop. While there are plenty of excellent SSDs and SSD manufacturers out there, the Samsung 840 Pro Series is arguably the most popular product line on the market.
Add a Video Card
While CPUs tend to maintain a decent level of performance for longer than you may think, video cards become obsolete within a relatively short time frame. If you have a PC with on-board video, obsolescence sets in even more quickly. One can easily remedy the situation with an add-on PCI video card. You can get a surprisingly powerful card for less than $100. Just make sure that your current PSU can provide enough juice.
Nowadays, more and more consumers are using their computers in places where ruggedness is a top priority. As such, there’s a growing interest in hardware that provides a superior level of protection. Even desktop computers can benefit from beefed-up components. While you can’t do a lot to harden an existing machine, you can make your next purchase far more resistant to trauma by choosing a PC manufacturer that specializes in industrial computers and LCDs.
Pump Up the Volume
Even if you’re not an audiophile, you’ll notice the difference between on-board sound cards and high-quality aftermarket units immediately. The easiest way to improve the sound coming out of your headphones is with a USB DAC/Amplifier. The FiiO E10 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier allows you to instantly improve the volume and sound quality of any media. Alternatively, the ASUS Xonar DX PCI sound card will deliver equally impressive results with more output options.
Treat Your Fingers
If you spend a lot of time in front of your PC, you owe it to yourself to get a high-quality keyboard. For one thing, specialty keyboards can improve ergonomics and curtail problems like carpal tunnel syndrome. They’ll also last a lot longer than cheap models. A mechanical keyboard is the way to go if you want to improve your typing experience. While Rosewill makes some decent models, Das Keyboard is the gold standard of mechanical keyboards.
The Sky is the Limit
Obviously, there’s a lot more out there in terms of computer enhancements than the handful of gadgets listed here. Regardless, most if not all of the aforementioned hardware should appeal to the majority of consumers. We’ll no doubt see far more exotic and exciting PC add-ons go mainstream in the near future as motion-sensing devices and Augmented Reality gain traction. For the time being, the tried-and-true upgrades mentioned above should tide you over.