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Misconception: All computers can be upgraded.

by Terry E. Mercer 1997-1999


What Many Salespeople Tell their Customers:

Yes, this computer can be upgraded to whatever is the "new" toy on the block in a year or two.


FALSE! - More often than not.

FACT: Just because a larger hard disk can be put in, a CD-ROM drive or sound card added, or more RAM memory added DOES NOT make a system upgradeable!

Look to see where the video plugs in at on the back of the case.
For the novices... the Keyboard plugs into a round hole at the back of the case normally. Follow the key board cable back to where it plugs in at the back of the computer. If the connector is over 1/2" across, it is standard... if it just barely over 1/4" then it is a PS/2 connector (aka: mini-din, or bus port).
If the key board adapter is a PS/2 style, the board is probably integrated (built-in to the motherboard).
If the video plug in, on the back of the computer, is on the same level as the key board socket (hole) then the video is integrated into the motherboard.
By and large, integrated systems have either very limited upgradability, or require proprietary parts only available from a limited number of sources or the actual manufacturer. These are classed as "throw away" systems. They are usually not worth upgrading. Some of these systems have even (in the past, less in the present) had proprietary RAM, floppy drives, hard drives, and "special" cards required in order to function and allow any type of important "upgrades".
Be very careful here and try to steer clear of these type of systems, unless you can afford to basically "throw-it-away" or donate it to your children or a friend! A lot of the new "modeled" cases, such as some of those space age colored ones you see in retail stores, use proprietary floppy and CD-ROM drives. God help you if they break after the warranty is up, because currently only authorized dealers and repair centers can even get those parts... and they are three to five times the cost of the more "generic" standardized versions out in the marketplace that any technician can get their hands on.


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This page was last updated 02 April 2000
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