The simple beauty of building a PC is having a constant gaming platform. While new generations of consoles appear every few years, resetting entire game libraries in the upgrade process, your PC will by-and-large continue to play every game you’ve ever bought. Consoles need an entire hardware overhaul every few years. As PC gamers, we have the luxury of making simpler, easier upgrades whenever we see fit.
But how do you know when it’s time to make those upgrades? And here's the trickier question: how do you know which parts of your rig need the most urgent attention?
Upgrading your PC can help turn a 12-frame-per-second chug-fest into a sublime 60 fps gaming masterpiece. But reaching that point isn't always as simple as plopping in a new graphics card, and it can be tough to identify what parts are due for an upgrade. We've broken down everything you need to know about upgrading your PC: when you need a new graphics card vs. a new CPU, when your old hard drive or RAM are holding you back, how proper cooling can affect your performance.
Each of the following pages addresses a part of your gaming PC that affects performance. First we'll tell you how to identify that a part needs an upgrade. Then we'll tell you how to pick a new part to get your PC back into fighting shape. And if you do an entire system upgrade, check out our guide on what to do with your old PC.