I have a confession to make. Every time I open up my computer, even to do something simple like install a modem, I break into a sweat. The insides of the darn thing scare me. I attribute my computer hardware phobia to a summer evening in 1991 when a luckless telephone service representative tried to walk me through upgrading the memory on my Packard Bell 386 computer. In those days tiny jumpers had to be re-set in patterns unintelligible to man, woman and computer geek. It eventually took an experienced PC service rep several hours to figure it out.
So my computer is now two years old and I've never cracked the case. It may be time for me to screw up my courage, bite the bullet, and just do it. Why here, why now?
Even though the prices on new computers have plummeted, my two year Pentium 4 1.8 Ghz Dell computer seems quite capable of continuing on for a few more years. So I was particularly happy to see PC Magazine's article, Supercharge Your PC.
The article goes into detail on which upgrades make the most sense, and concludes in its sidebar "Should You Purchase a New PC": "It all comes down to what's important to you and how much you want to spend. If your limit is $500, don't bother with a new PC; you're better off beefing up your system (if it's less than three years old). But if you're willing to throw in at least another $250, buy yourself a new PC. For the extra expense, a new system will far outclass an upgrade in both performance and features."
My needs are modest. I don't use my computer for gaming or video-editing, at least not yet. So my plan is to upgrade the memory to 512MB, add a USB 2.0 card. Then should I need additional hard drive space, I can buy an external one.
I'm thankful that newer computers do not have little teeny jumpers to set when upgrading memory. Let's hope they haven't come up with something new and exciting to muddle and confuse me. Just in case, is there a support group out there for hardware phobics?