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The Benefit of Upgrading Computer Components Instead of Fully Discarding

written by: Matthew Becker•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/5/2010

As technology develops, much more is being demanded of your computer. The easy route is just to replace the machine you currently use. However, you can make a much better impact reducing landfill waste by just upgrading components that you need.

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    Computers Don't Last Forever

    We can never delay the inevitable. Eventually the computer that we use for day-to-day purposes grow slowly and painfully obsolete over time. It takes too long to start up, programs take a long time to load, and there are frequent cases of slowdown. The usual response is to start shopping for a new computer. And why wouldn’t you? Computers that are on sale are often far cheaper and not to mention a whole lot better. In this series, we’ll look into the benefits of upgrading computer components instead of simply discarding the computer as a whole. On top of that, we’ll also look into the types of chemicals that certain computers produce, as well as how you can recycle certain parts or all of a computer when the time finally comes to put through replacements.

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    Upgrading Components

    As I’ve mentioned in some of my articles, upgrading computer components by replacing obsolete ones is very doable, and in the short term can save you some of your hard-earned cash. Of course, depending on the age of your computer also depends on the types of products that need replacing (RAM and Hard Drives being the most common). You don’t need to necessarily replace each part on your own; most computer stores that perform maintenance on computers would be more than happy to make any changes for you. It’s perfect if you’re like me: afraid of ruining some key part of the computer. So, get somebody else who knows better to do it.

    Taking my laptop for example, I’m not going to lie: this thing is a tank, and is it ever getting on in years. It is a Toshiba Satellite from 2003. I picked it up as a discontinued model the following year, and even then it was growing to be obsolete. It came equipped with a 2.5GHz Celeron processor, 256MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive. It’s not bad for what I wanted to use it for, which was for school. I began going through what I had listed above: Windows took up to 10 minutes to load, and certain programs were really tough on resources. Having iTunes, web browsers, MSN and antivirus software running in the background was starting to be difficult. I wanted to get a new computer so badly in my final year of study; I was actually comparing prices of different makes and models.

    It wasn’t until my friend mentioned to me that I can actually upgrade certain components, such as RAM and a hard drive that was slowly dying. I upgraded the memory to 2GB and even replaced a dying hard drive by upgrading to an 80GB drive. Not bad. For one, it saved me a bundle of money. On top of that, it saved the hassle of trying to find out what to do with the computer. Nobody would have wanted it: it was slow and dying. I probably would have had to just toss it with the rest of my trash.

    This isn't just to toot my own horn. Far from it, actually. I was completely ignorant of the fact that I could just make some upgrades to my computer. The thought of having this old laptop sitting on top of a pile of other e-waste is not particularly pretty. But not all is lost. Eventually this laptop will be utterly useless and it will have to be discarded. However, there are far better means of getting rid of an old computer instead of tossing it into the scrap heap.

    The next portion of this series will discuss what you can do to recycle current components you’re considering replacing, or even your entire computer as a whole.

Reduce e-Waste by Upgrading or Recycling

This series discusses how upgrading certain components of your computer will help prevent their unnecessary disposals. Benefits of upgrading will not only be easier on your wallet, but on the environment as well. Finally, the concept of recycling unwanted computers will also be discussed.
  1. The Benefit of Upgrading Computer Components Instead of Fully Discarding
  2. Discarding Your Old Computer or Electronic Equipment
  3. Upgrading Old Computers in Your Office or Workplace