How to Upgrade a Gaming PC: Your Step-by-Step Guide

How to Upgrade a Gaming PC: Your Step-by-Step Guide

In essence, upgrading a PC is simply swapping parts from your gaming PC build and replacing them with newer parts that perform or look better. However, which parts you should upgrade depends on their compatibility with parts you don't plan on replacing and the benefit they provide for the price. In this article, we'll discuss how to decide exactly that.

10 Steps to Upgrade Your Gaming PC

To help make things easier to understand, we've broken down the process of upgrading a gaming computer into ten easily digestible steps. Depending on your requirements and the compatibility of your parts, either one, two, more, or even all of the following steps apply to you. Go through each to see which ones you should go for. 

  1. Add More RAM

The first and probably the easiest component you should consider upgrading is your RAM. If you didn't get the cheapest motherboard on the market, chances are that you have two RAM slots available, which means upgrading is as simple as adding two more RAM sticks. If you're currently using 16GB, we recommend bumping it up to 32, especially if you like having multiple browser tabs open while gaming.

  1. Add More Storage

Like RAM, adding more storage to your gaming PC won't require replacing anything. You can add on a separate storage drive, and you will be able to install more games. Depending on your motherboard, you might have room for up to three more NVMe drives.


Generally, SSDs are preferable for gaming because they drastically reduce load times. However, there are some benefits to having a hard drive. Check out our complete SSD vs HDD guide to pick the correct one based on your needs.

  1. Replace Your Graphics Card

For a radical improvement in your gaming experience, consider upgrading your GPU. While you will have to get rid of your older GPU, you won't face compatibility issues besides power when you add a newer, more powerful GPU. 

As for when to upgrade the GPU, low CPU usage of under 40% and consistent GPU usage above 97% are strong indicators. To find the right graphics card for your needs, consider several factors, like budget, power draw, and more.

  1. Upgrade Your CPU

The CPU has a massive impact on your gaming experience, and upgrading to a faster one will result in respectable performance gains. Possible upgrades without changing your motherboard include replacing your Intel i3 for an i5 or an i7 within the same generation or the next if your motherboard supports it. Similarly, you can upgrade to a Ryzen 5 or a Ryzen 7 from a Ryzen 3 processor. 

  1. Add More Power

As mentioned, the only compatibility issue you might face after adding a newer GPU is power. Faster GPUs require more wattage, which the graphics card uses to push out those extra frames. This means you may need to upgrade your PSU or power supply unit to keep up with your new PC hardware.

For example, the 4060ti uses around 160 watts at peak load. On the other hand, the 4090 has a maximum rated load of 450 watts. Another worthwhile PC upgrade is getting a new power supply rated for higher wattage. 

  1. Upgrade Your Motherboard

Swapping out your motherboard might not directly impact performance. Instead, it enables compatibility for newer and faster components like high-speed DDR5 RAMs and latest-generation CPUs, which is one of the main reasons people commonly upgrade their motherboards with CPUs and RAMs. 

Plus, you get other benefits like built-in wi-fi, higher overclocking support, improved reliability, more and faster USB ports, thunderbolt, built-in Bluetooth support, and future-proofing. Ensure you get the correct motherboard based on your CPU and RAM to avoid compatibility issues. 

  1. Improve the Cooling System

Improving your cooling system has two main benefits for raw framerate performance. Firstly, lower temperatures reduce the risk of thermal throttling and allow components to run more efficiently. That improves the one percent lows, which significantly enhances your gaming experience. 

Secondly, a better cooling system allows for a higher overclocking headroom, which means you can crank out more frames from the same components. Additionally, improved cooling allows your computer to run quieter, creating a more enjoyable gaming environment.

  1. Upgrade Your Peripherals

If you don't need to upgrade any component from within your PC because you are more than satisfied with its current performance, then you can look for upgrades outside the PC, like the peripherals.

We recommend upgrading to a monitor that has a higher resolution if you are more into casual gaming. Or you can get a monitor with a higher refresh rate if you are a competitive gamer. 

Upgrading other peripherals depends on how they are currently performing. If your headset doesn't provide good quality sound, your mouse is missing clicks, or your keyboard is in bad shape, you can consider getting new ones. 

  1. Get a New Case

Contrary to popular belief, upgrading a PC case is about more than looks. Some benefits of getting a better PC case include better airflow, optimized cable management options, and improved clearances for components like a taller CPU cooler, larger AIO, or longer GPU. 

  1. Optimize Your PC’s Setting

Optimizing your PC's settings is your best bet if you don't want any physical upgrades and want to improve your gaming experience for free. Some easy ways to optimize your PC's settings include updating all drivers, closing unnecessary programs while gaming, and using high-performance profiles for components like GPU and RAM.

When to Upgrade Your Gaming PC

You may wonder, “How often should you upgrade your gaming PC?” There isn't a set timeframe after which an upgrade becomes necessary. Instead, it depends on whether you are running into specific issues.

Some key signs that should suggest upgrading your PC include irreparable damage, frame rate drops below 60 FPS, low storage space, an imbalance between percentage usage of CPU and GPU, higher temperatures, and stuttery gameplay. 

Summary of How to Upgrade Your Gaming PC

In summary, upgrading a gaming PC is something that every gamer must do in their lives, especially if they run into issues like low framerate, storage constraints, or high temperatures. By carefully selecting components based on compatibility and desired outcomes, you can eliminate those issues and drastically improve your gaming experience. 

Start with simple PC upgrades like adding more RAM or storage. Consider replacing your graphics card or CPU for significant system performance boosts or if either is bottlenecking the other. Get a higher wattage power supply based on newer power requirements. Additionally, consider motherboard upgrades for future compatibility, enhance cooling for better efficiency and overclocking potential, and look at peripheral upgrades based on your requirements.

Written By Dani K

Edited By Will Wilson

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