LeoXiao wrote:The computer is still okay (I'm mainly worried about the keyboard getting worse) and works well enough. But it's those small things that make me regret a) not buying a new machine or b) not spending some effort to fix my otherwise sturdy my old laptop by installing an SSD or new graphics card. Building desktop computers is difficult enough, I'm not sure I want to deal with finding the exact right parts to fix a mobile device.
Personally, I avoid refurbished hardware like the plague. It was sent back to the manufacturer for a reason, and (unfortunately) often it is just quality tested again and sent out again, which may miss the kind of intermitent problems that likely were the reason it was returned in the first place.
As for upgrading your old laptop, the graphics card can't be upgraded on laptops because the chips for the graphics are attached to the same board as the rest of the chipset - unless you're talking some very old machines (25+ years ago) with a separate board for the graphics...but that wouldn't run Windows 7 .
You could have tried adding more memory (although some laptops have the RAM soldered straight on the motherboard), though. Or just zeroing the harddisk and reinstalling everything - Windows has this tendency to get all gummed up and slow after years of use*. It's fairly unlikely the harddisk got physically slower, unless it was actually failing.
* Although IMHO it's more the process of un- and reinstalling (often crappy) software repeatedly that is to blame, as my two Windows machines are still very quick and stable after years of use.