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System Optimization and Enhancement Guide

Frequently, visitors to a site such as The PC Guide are looking for ways to improve the performance of their PC. Sometimes, they have an older PC that is getting a bit slow for that new piece of software they just got--especially that new 3D action game--and they are looking for ideas for how they can upgrade their hardware so that it runs faster.

However, there are ways to improve performance that do not necessitate a hardware upgrade. In many cases your existing PC and peripherals are not being exploited to their fullest potential, and you can perform one or more optimizations that will improve your PC's performance in different ways. You may be able to make your PC run faster, cooler, more reliably, more efficiently, more comfortably and more enjoyably, all without spending a cent. This is what this Guide is all about: getting the most out of the hardware you already have.

Why is optimization necessary? To be blunt, it's because most of the companies that make PCs don't pay enough attention to ensuring that they are set up in the most efficient way. It's easier to stamp out a zillion PCs cookie-cutter fashion than to tweak them so that they are ideal. Many vendors don't even understand the basics of performance enhancement or system optimization: I run into these all the time. So you must take the initiative yourself, if you want your machine to "be all that it can be".

There is a fine line in some cases between what is an optimization, and what is an upgrade, since they both improve performance. In fact, it really doesn't matter too much what we call what, but I had to make a distinction in order to decide how to categorize the different actions and procedures on this site. In a nutshell, I consider an optimization to be anything you do to your PC to improve it that doesn't involve a significant purchase, or a change of one of the main components of the machine. Anything that requires new parts to be purchased is an upgrade. So if you are trying to get the most space and speed from your hard disk, this is the place you want to be. If you want to get a new one that is faster, that will certainly improve performance, but it is an upgrade.

This Guide contains many ideas for improving your PC, all at no or only nominal cost (generally under $10). These are ideas to not just improve how fast your system is, but how enjoyable it is to use. In addition, I also provide my own personal view on overclocking, which refers to pushing your hardware beyond its rated speed to get more performance from it. If you've visited other Internet hardware sites and read their thoughts on overclocking, you might want to read mine as well, as my position is much less common--or popular.

Next: System Optimizations and Enhancements

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