Almost all prebuilt desktop computers allow for component upgrades, while doing so isn’t always affordable and can occasionally be difficult due to proprietary connectors. Prebuilt computers can be a good deal, especially when components are hard to come by. But are they upgradable like a custom-built computer would be?
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Can You Upgrade Prebuilt PC?
Let’s get things out of the way right now before we get into the details. If you have the money to spend, you can improve any prebuilt desktop PC.
The case can be changed, new fans purchased, a different hard drive installed, the power supply replaced, extra RAM purchased, the CPU replaced, or even the entire motherboard. There is really no limit to what you can replace or upgrade if you have the money. You can nearly always get around a machine’s proprietary connectors or parts by switching out individual parts, purchasing adapters, etc.
However, in reality, you usually won’t go to that much trouble with a prebuilt PC because, once you start changing out important components, the added cost negates the primary advantage prebuilt PCs have to offer: cost savings. Here is a description of what you can upgrade and some things to be aware of while planning your upgrade path, regardless of whether you have a prebuilt PC that you’d like to update or you’re thinking about improving the one you already have.
How to upgrade a Prebuilt PC?
The value of a given upgrade will mostly rely on your budget, how much you want the upgrade’s features, and how much trouble you are ready to put yourself through to rebuild your system. Since every system is unique, we can’t give you specific recommendations, but we can describe how simple or challenging a given update is and if it’s typically worthwhile or not.
Of all computer upgrades, adding extra RAM to a prebuilt PC is the easiest and most plug-and-play of them all. The most important thing to keep in mind with a RAM upgrade is that you’re only able to use RAM that your prebuilt PC’s motherboard allows in terms of generation and kind. For instance, DDR5 RAM sticks cannot be installed on a motherboard that only supports DDR4. If the RAM in your prebuilt PC has to be upgraded, it’s usually a pretty easy and affordable process.
There are no prebuilt PCs with unusual drive connectors because hard drive connections are standard. We usually suggest upgrading from mechanical HDDs to SSDs because it’s a great improvement.
The absence of more modern hard drive connectors, like an M.2 slot, will likely be the only problem you encounter while upgrading your hard drive. That will prevent you from using the more sophisticated NVME drives and force you to use conventional SSD disks.
Overall, upgrading the hard drive is an easy process, but if you want to convert everything from the old version to the new build, including the OEM-licensed copy of Windows, you’ll need to clone the disk.
The GPU interface on motherboards is standardized. Any card from today or even older cards can be inserted without any problems into the PCIe x16 slot. The chassis, the PSU, or a combination of the three will most likely be the problem if you have trouble upgrading the GPU in your prebuilt computer rather than the PCIe x16 slot.
It’s likely that the case of your prebuilt PC isn’t large enough to accommodate the size of bulky current cards if it uses the processor’s integrated graphics unit (iGPU) or a smaller video card. Some cards available nowadays are so lengthy that you need to look for cases with suitable depth to fit them. Furthermore, the PSU that came with your prebuilt computer may not be able to support a GPU upgrade due to the increasing power requirements of GPUs. In extreme cases, the PSU may not even have the correct power connectors needed for the stronger GPU.
If you improve your prebuilt computer and discover that the PSU that came with it is subpar or you’re just not happy with its quality, you can replace it. The PSU serves as the building block of the system, therefore getting a decent one is always a good idea.
If the motherboard has common power connectors, changing one PSU for another is simple. It’s a little more difficult if you have a prebuilt computer from a firm that uses exclusive connectors, like many of Dell’s and HP’s machines do. If the connections are proprietary, you’ll either be forced to use a special PSU or you’ll need to look for adapters for that particular line of prebuilt PCs in order to utilize a regular off-the-shelf PSU with that motherboard.