Digital Crave

Best upgrades and add-ons for your computer

Digital Crave

View gallery

.

Is your computer getting on in years? You're not alone.

And so you've got one of two choices: if cash is tight, you'll need to stick it out for a while longer and deal with what you have, but those with the budget might consider buying a new PC or Mac, typically ranging in price from $600 to $1200.

There's a third option, however: You can still breathe new life into your aging computer by picking up the right add-ons and accessories.

Some are designed to boost performance — such as more system memory (RAM), a better graphics card for desktops or new battery for laptops — while others can spice up your time spent with your PC or Mac, such as a bigger monitor, new mouse or keyboard, external hard drive, speakers, HD webcams, gaming controllers, USB hubs or decorative skins.

And hey, if you need a little extra incentive to treat yourself to a new peripheral, remember they can often be used with a new computer when you're ready to take the plunge.

The following is a look at a few recommended hardware accessories to add to the functionality and longevity of your computer.

System memory, hard drives and video cards

While they might not be as sexy as a sleek new monitor or designer laptop skins, adding more memory — be it RAM or hard drive space — can really help boost performance of an older computer. And you don't need a degree in computer engineering to add both kinds of memory to a laptop or desktop.

The former helps speed up tasks -- resulting in less latency when launching and running programs -- plus it helps with multitasking, too. But you'll need to know what kind of system memory your machine takes (probably DDR3) and whether you're buying for a laptop or desktop (laptop RAM is smaller). RAM can often be snapped into its slot on the motherboard without requiring any tools; if you don't want to do it yourself, take it to your local electronics retailer and have them do it for you. 8 gigabytes (GB) of RAM typically costs $40 to $50.

View gallery

.

Buying a new hard drive is ideal if you're running out of storage or want to back-up files for safe keeping. An external drive usually plugs into an available USB port on the laptop or desktop, but some desktop PC owners might add an internal hard drive. External drives are more popular as you don't need to open the computer and you can use it on multiple computers.

Yahoo! Shopping recently looked at six recommended hard drives (with a twist), but another good consideration is WD's My Passport Edge portable hard drive (from $99.99 for 500GB) that delivers fast USB 3.0 speeds, an auto backup feature, password protection and hardware encryption. Available for PC or Mac, My Passport Edge is small, thin and rugged, and doesn't require AC power — whatever the computer provides through the USB connection is sufficient enough.

Similarly, the Seagate Slim Portable Drive ($99.99 for 500GB; for PC or Mac) is dubbed the world's slimmest portable external hard drive. As thin as a pencil, this drive can back-up important information with one click on the Seagate Dashboard software, or be used to schedule automated backups at a particular time (such as 3am every other day). Users can also download photo albums and videos from social networks, such as Facebook and Flickr, to store offline.

View gallery

.

As far as graphics performance goes, desktop PC owners who love computer games often upgrade their video card to something with more umph. One of the more popular solutions today — among those who can afford it and know how to swap out video cards — are PCI Express graphics cards based on Nvidia's GeForce GTX 680 technology, with prices hovering around $500 or so.

For two to three times to cost, there's also AMD's FireGL V7350, V8650 and V8750 graphic cards — but don't try to install one of these beasts on an out-of-date computer.

View gallery

.

Mice, keyboards and webcams

If your mouse is still tethered to your computer, it's time to cut the cord with a wireless mouse — which you can pick up for as low as $5 these days (yes, for real). But because they're battery powered, consider picking up rechargeable batteries as it'll be easier on your wallet (over time) and the environment, too.

Wireless mice usually require a small transceiver to be plugged into the laptop or desktop, however, and as such uses up one of the valuable USB ports on your PC or Mac. Instead, a Bluetooth mouse is more ideal as it could pair with a Bluetooth-enabled laptop or tablet, and thus does not require a transceiver whatsoever.

Microsoft's new Wedge Touch Mouse ($69.95), for example, is a compact, wireless and unique-looking Bluetooth mouse that offers fluid, four-way touch scrolling in every direction — making it ideal for navigating through Windows 8's new home screen and its live tiles. BlueTrack technology means the mouse tracks on virtually any surface.

To preserve battery, the Wedge Touch Mouse automatically shuts down when your computer or tablet is turned off.

View gallery

.

But be aware this mouse is really tiny — measuring just 2.39 x 2.11 inches — so be sure to try it out at retail just in case it's not for you.

Alternatively, gamers might opt for Razer Imperator ($79.99), a high-precision wired mouse that can track 6,400 dots per inch with its dual sensor system (laser and optical) — perfect for online shooters. A rubberized, contoured thumb grip provides added control. Keep in mind, however, this mouse is for right-handed users only.

Speaking of gamers, one of Logitech's best-selling gaming keyboards is the G19 ($199.99), which houses a built-in, color and adjustable GamePanel LCD (320x240 pixels) that can display in-game information to dozens of games (yes, including World of Warcraft). It can also show computer details, photos or videos, if desired.

The ergonomic keyboard also includes 12 programmable keys, macro options (to map multiple commands to one button press) and two USB 2.0 ports.

View gallery

.

Love to Skype with friends, family or coworkers? Y! Shopping recently looked at three different HD webcams to bump up the video and audio quality, from companies like Microsoft, Logitech and Creative.

Speakers, monitors and USB hubs

Whether you're into music, video games or movies, treat yourself — more specifically, your ears — to a great-sounding computer speaker set-up.

Add some boom to your room with the Logitech Z523 ($99.99), a 2.1-channel speaker system (including a 6.5-inch subwoofer) that delivers 40 watts of total power. While you can use your computer to adjust volume, convenient on-speaker controls include power, volume and amount of bass, plus there's extra jacks for a portable devices and headphones.

If you've got a bigger budget, the Bose Companion 5 Series speakers ($399.99) is a higher-end 2.1 solution (including loud subwoofer) that sounds like a 5.1 system thanks to the hideaway Acoustimass module to deliver a surround sound experience.

Included with these clear-sounding and well-balanced computer speakers are desktop stands, cables and a wired control pod that puts volume and mute functionality at an arm's reach (and includes a port to easily connect a smartphone or iPod).

View gallery

.

Bigger is better when it comes to computer monitors, and the good news is prices are dropping fast. For example, you can now pick up a 27-inch widescreen LED monitor from LG for $249.99 (model # E2742V). This flat-panel model features 1080p HD quality (1,920 x 1,080 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio) a 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio (resulting in exceptionally deep blacks and rich colors), up to 250 cd/m² brightness, fast 5 millisecond response times and a 170-degree viewing angle. This Energy Star-certified PC monitor includes both a digital and analog connection (HDMI, DVI and VGA).

Mac owners with deep pockets, on the other hand, can pick up the 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display for $999. Steep price aside, this screen is absolutely beautiful its 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, LED backlighting and glossy finish that makes, photos, videos and games pop. Other features include a FaceTime HD camera, stereo speakers with high-quality audio, three USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire 800 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a Thunderbolt port to attach other Thunderbolt devices, such as an external hard drive.

View gallery

.

Most laptops only offer two USB ports but you can easily get four more with an inexpensive USB hub. There are hundreds of models available, -- most between $10 and $30 — including the Belkin 4-port USB Travel Hub ($29.99), a portable solution capable of USB 2.0 speeds (480 megabits per second). No external power is needed: simply plug the male USB connector into the side or back of the laptop (PC or Mac) and then connect up to four devices in the available female ports.

If you need more ports and faster speeds, the Targus 7-port Combo USB Hub ($69.89) lets you transfer files up to 5 gigabits per second via one of its three USB 3.0 — ideal for large HD video files — and also includes four USB 2.0 ports for other devices. Compatible with PCs and Macs, laptops and desktops, this powered hub also includes an AC plug and 5-foot cable to connect to the computer's USB port. Despite its versatility, this Targus hub measures just 4.25 x 3.0 x 0.9 inches.

View gallery

.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • North Korea's Kim Jong Un Is So Fat He Might Have Hurt His Ankle Again

      Kim's leg injuries have been linked to obesity in the past and recent pictures show the Korean leader appears to have put on extra weight. 

      International Business Times
    • ‘Ice cream killer’ is so dangerous, she’s headed to a men’s prison

      A Spanish murderer dubbed the “ice cream killer” is so dangerous, she’s being moved to an all-male prison to serve out her life sentence, according to a new report. Estibaliz Carranza, 38, earned the chilling nickname after she shot her boyfriend and ex-husband to death in 2008, cut up their bodies with a chainsaw and hid them in the freezers of her ice cream store in Vienna, Austria. The Mexican-born Spanish national stored the body parts in ice cream tubs filled with concrete and disguised the smell with air fresheners. Now, she’ll spend the rest of her life in an all-male prison in Asten, Austria, because she shows an “advanced reduction of the relevant dangerousness,” according to the Mirror.

      New York Post q
    • Donald Trump Mistakenly Tweets to the Wrong Ivanka — and Receives a Stinging Response

      The president-elect, whose inauguration is Friday, tweeted Monday night that CNN was doing a “special report on my daughter, Ivanka. In his original tweet, @drgoodspine said “@Ivanka Trump is Great a woman with real character and class.” Although Trump changed the “G” in “great” lowercase, he kept @Ivanka as is — and got a response from the unsuspecting woman with that account name. Ivanka Majic responded to the mistaken tag, “And you’re a man with great responsibilities.

      People
    • Woman Abducted as a Newborn Defends Her Alleged Kidnapper: 'She Will Always Be Mom'

      Eighteen years ago, Alexis Manigo was snatched from a Florida hospital as a newborn and spent her entire life being raised by a woman, Gloria Williams, who wasn't her mom.Recently, after DNA testing, Manigo, who was given the name Kamiyah Mobley at birth, discovered her true identity.Dad's Heartbreak: Girl He Raised as His Own Was Really Kidnapped as a NewbornWoman Abducted 18 Years Ago as a Newborn Found Living in Another StateBut instead of harboring ill will towards the suspect, Manigo, who is still reeling from the discovery, called her "a great mother. ...

      Good Morning America 2 min ago
    • Deadly waves sweep father, son out to ocean, show dangers

      SALEM, Ore. (AP) — One moment, Jayson Thomas was on the Oregon beach with his 3-year-old son. The next, they were gone, swept away by a "sneaker wave" as his wife looked on.

      Associated Press
    • Dear Abby: When my kids get loud, I lose it

      DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old woman, and I know I should have a lot more patience than I do right now. I’m happily married with two beautiful children. After work when I return home, I’m fine for the first hour or so. But if my children start to get loud or keep asking me to do something, I get extremely aggravated. My children are young and I love them, but I should be in more control of my temper toward them. I feel so bad when I lose it and shout at them. What can I do to improve this? — SHORT FUSE IN GEORGIA DEAR SHORT FUSE: I’m glad you asked, because it is important that you learn to relieve your frustration without taking it out on your children. There are healthy ways of managing frustration

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • 'Hope you die slowly': Tennis stars trolled

      One Twitter user, hiding behind the since suspended account of @T33MU92, wrote: "You are so f***ing bad. I hope you die slowly, but f***ing painfully." @T33MU92, whose profile showed a picture of an unrecognizable male figure dressed in a black T-shirt emblazoned with a white upside-down cross photographed against the sun, went on to say: "You have deserved it! WHORE" Death threats A number of surveys including a 2014 Pew Research Center study have suggested that young women have a higher chance than men to be the victims of severe forms of online abuse, including sexually threatening comments and sustained harassment, and there is a sense this is no different in professional tennis. In the past

      CNN q
    • Amazon wins patent for Treasure Truck as it makes plans to expand beyond Seattle

      If you’re thinking about building a knockoff of Amazon’s Treasure Truck, the funky delivery vehicle for flash deals ranging from cameras to candy, consider yourself warned: The design is now patented. The patent was issued today, covering the ornamental design for the heavily modified Isuzu cab-over truck. The truck is typically stocked several times a month with one or two types of discounted goodies and makes deliveries to a few locations in the Seattle area. The Treasure Truck been compared to an ice cream truck for grownups: Amazon app users can get alerts about the deals on their smartphones, but once all… Read More

      GeekWire
    • This extremely tiny apartment is going viral because it’s so well-styled, and we’re obsessed with it

      If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that size doesn’t matter — at least, not when it comes to homes. Giant…

      Hello Giggles
    • Rare photos of Betty White you've likely never seen (25 photos)

      Happy birthday, Betty White! Our favourite Golden Girl turns 95 on Jan. 17 — and she’s certainly come a long way. White officially holds the record for the longest TV career for any female entertainer. In honour of her birthday, click through the gallery to see some rare, vintage photos captured earlier in her career. Let us know what you think by tweeting @ YahooStyleCA!

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Videos of starving sun bears in a zoo begging for food spark outrage

      Warning: This post contains graphic and upsetting videos. Gaunt sun bears in an Indonesia zoo, so hungry they've taken to begging visitors for food and eating their own faeces, have been captured on video by animal rights activists. Footage shot by the Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group showed several emaciated bears at a zoo in the Indonesian city of Bandung. SEE ALSO: Circus ties endangered tiger down on a table so people can get selfies While bears in enclosures very rarely beg for food, you can see the bears rushing for pieces of fruit thrown in, and begging visitors for more. Another video also showed a bear eating its own faeces. "The bears are kept in a concrete cage and no grass.

      Mashable q
    • A Very Pregnant Ciara Steps Out in Beverly Hills with Hubby Russell Wilson

      It may be the end of football season for Russell Wilson, but it’s almost the start of parenthood for him and wife Ciara. The couple, who are expecting their first child in March, were spotted together in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, following his Seattle Seahawks’ 36-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional round on Saturday. The game took on a little extra significance when Ciara’s ex-fiancé, rapper Future, showed up on the sidelines to cheer on his hometown Falcons.

      People
    • In an epic final speech, Joe Biden warns the progressive democratic world order is at risk of collapse

      Joe Biden warns at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the world that democracy is under attack.

      CNBC.com q
    • Soulja Boy Dumps Floyd Mayweather As He Announces He's Fighting Chris Brown In March

      Soulja Boy is either really hurting for cash or he really hates Chris Brown with a burning passion. Big Draco just announced that his boxing match is no longer being promoted by Floyd Mayweather because they’re not moving quick enough to get the fight going. Soulja Boy took to Twitter and voiced his displeasure working with Money May while also revealing the big Soulja Boy vs. Chris Brown bout is going down this March.

      UPROXX
    • Kaliyah Mobley, Kidnapped at Birth, Discovered Her True Identity Two Years Ago, Friend Reveals

      Kamiyah Mobley, the 18-year-old abducted as a newborn from a Florida hospital and raised by her alleged kidnapper in a South Carolina home, found out she was abducted about two years ago when she went to apply for a job, according to a friend. “She was upset about it,” Arika Williams, who long believed she was Mobley’s half-sister, tells PEOPLE. Mobley was only hours old on July 10, 1998, when authorities allege Gloria Williams posed as a health care worker and took her from a Jacksonville, Florida, hospital maternity ward.

      People
    • Baby Dies After Being Found With Homeless Mother at Oregon Bus Stop

      The newborn child of a homeless woman in Oregon died last week after the two were found at a bus stop amid freezing temperatures.

      Tribune
    • Chrissy Teigen Basically Goes Pantless

      Upon first look, it seems that Chrissy Teigen lived out everyone’s recurring worst nightmare on Monday: leaving home without any pants on. Phew, don’t scare us like that, Chrissy!

      Yahoo Style
    • Largest Land Animal Ever: Massive Alligator In Florida Video Is Dinosaur Cousin

      A massive alligator walking through a nature reserve in central Florida has become a viral sensation after a video of the monster-like creature was uploaded to Facebook Sunday, according to local media reports. Florida resident Kim Joiner posted the video after she saw the animal at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County.  “I love Circle B. Nature at its best,” Joiner wrote in the Facebook the post. It has since been shared more than 18,000 times. Joiner described the animal in an interview with a local news station. "It looks like a dinosaur," News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth said. "Is that real?" News 6 anchor Kirstin O'Connor asked after watching the video. "Yes, it's real," Joiner said. She

      International Business Times q