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Computers are made up of a series of integrated parts and components, most of which are not very familiar to the average user. Inside these machines, which are quickly becoming indispensable, are motherboards, PCI slots, drive bays, microprocessors, chips, wires, and tons of other parts. While most people would rather replace a car part than a computer part, it is just as possible to replace parts of a computer.

Whether out of desire or necessity, replacing computer parts is a daunting task. However, most parts are simple to obtain and in some cases can save quite a bit of money. Of course, it only makes sense to replace parts in a computer when the machine still holds quite a bit of value. Computer parts are typically purchased for one of two reasons: repair or upgrade.

Upgrades are the most common reason the average owner would tear into their computer. Common upgrades include CD-ROM drives and RAM. Examples of these upgrades are installing a CD-RW drive where none existed or replacing a memory module to gain more RAM. More difficult, but possibly as frequent, is replacement of the motherboard or hard drive.

Different from upgrading out of desire is replacing a part due to failure. Before replacing a failing part, it must be determined which part has failed. Diagnostic flow charts are available either in PC repair books or online. The next step is to determine whether replacement of the part is both economical and sensible. It wouldn’t make sense to replace a part costing over $100 in a ten year old computer. However, if you find yourself in need of replacing a failed part in a brand new computer, check your machine’s warranty before proceeding on your own. Most computers carry a 1-year part warranty.

Computer parts can be obtained online and at retailers who deal in computers or computer repair. Without some inclination of mechanics and how they work it is not wise to open up your computer and start unscrewing parts. However, for those with mechanical ability, some computer parts are not too difficult to replace. If in doubt, contact a professional.

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