“Upgrades” is such a nice word, isn’t it? It has such a nice ring to it, just like other words like “renovation”, “improvement”, “DYI” and “upsize”. At times we do not consider it as sinful to buy the next best tech gadget on the market. Besides, we are not paying much, right?

On the other hand, we sometimes need to ask ourselves some pretty hard questions, such as, do we really need the extra one tetra-byte (that’s super big for any tech dummy like me out there) mobile hard drive when your itsy bitsy 8-gig USB is enough to get by? Or do you really need to dish out some extra dollars on a really fast Wi-Fi connection when you could get it free from a friend?

Do these questions raise some red flags? I am equally guilty of the same tendencies, so I decided to research some of the seeming technology “needs” and came up with this really good list. The best part is that some of these tips have options that are totally free.

How Much Storage Do I Really Need?

Computer HDD

I remember the first time my aunt bought a phone and I was scrambling to buy a better micro SD card for her so she could enjoy downloading games and take lots of pictures. Later on we found out that most of the games installed went to the already present RAM, so all the extra money we splashed out was mostly useless. I guess most people have a tendency to buy more than they need when it comes to increasing their storage capacity, whether on a phone or tablet. We want a contingency plan so we can take pictures and store up a lot of mp3 songs but most of the time the pictures are just less-than-desirable repeats of selfies and we do not even listen to the songs.

Well, there’s some pretty good news for us.

Some of the files that are not being used often are cut-and-pasted on other devices, especially on your laptop or personal computer. If you want to get something better, there are services online that may help you hoard or keep your other things. These include cloud storage, such as Google Drive. If you have the updated Office 365, you are also given at least one terabyte of data on OneDrive, which is another online storage service.

If you are currently using a lot of devices for work, you can ask a friendly tech person to set you up a RAID 0 configuration. This will sync all your data into one place where it will be easy to retrieve later. At the same, the said system will make your tech work faster and better in terms of performance.

How Fast and How Nice the Performance Do I Need?

CPU

Some more techie terms I will be introducing here are what we call the processor or more commonly tagged as the CPU and the graphics card or GPU. Basically, having a better CPU and GPU will make your whole tech experience faster and better. The analogy can be better understood this way: how fast the pictures you have in Facebook can be viewed in larger resolution, and how good those pictures will look like after they have been uploaded online.

All things considered these are lovely concepts, but unless your work involves a lot of graphics and some intense video editing, you do not really need this sort of upgrade. As long as you only need to check your Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites and your device has no lag, trust me, you do not need to buy a new phone with a better processor to do the same thing. That includes laptops, tablets and personal computers. However, if you are one avid gamer or a heavily techie user, this is may be more of a gray area. Opting to upgrade is a new norm for most, but you can actually reduce the need for this by changing your games’ settings so your device will not lag too much. That could mean turning your sound off, setting the resolution low, or even going offline. This will unburden your processor so you can have longer game time and fewer lags.

If all things fail (provided you have done what I suggested), the problem may not be the CPU itself but the game (or any other app, in any case). This means that the latter is just too much and your CPU is not able to cope up with it. Here is the turning point. You will now have to decide whether it’s worth it to buy a new processor (in case of personal computers) or an entirely new device; or to ditch the app altogether.

How Fast Wi-Fi Connection Do I Need?

Wifi Signal

The general idea is if you can do whatever you like online and if the connection does not take you forever, you do not need to upgrade to the fastest mbps (megabytes per second) plan. There is a simple explanation for this, too. If you are planning to get a fast connection, always take into consideration the devices and their processors and if they can support this type of connection. Chances are, if your devices cannot keep up, you will have to buy new ones, just to support your new Wi-Fi. Sounds great? Yeah, I don’t think so, too.

For the benefit of the doubt, try to have a trial run with a friend who has the Wi-Fi connection you like. Get your phone and try to see if everything goes well.

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