Many times I am faced with having to tell someone that their old computer needs to be replaced, and often it is hard to get some people to let go. But let’s look at things from a logical perspective. If you have a 4 or 5 year old computer (or even older in some cases), you have to think back in time to when you first got the computer, and look at how it was used (and what it was designed for). Going back to 2005 and a lot of people were still making the move to high speed internet, and even those with broadband were probably getting speeds of 1-3 Mbps download. Fast forward to 2010 and highspeed internet can easily reach between 10-30 Mbps. This means that when visiting some websites, your computer is getting 10 times+ the amount of information being fed to it every second during page downloads. Add to that the fact that 5 years ago, most websites were text based, whereas today we are bombarded with video, sound, animations etc, and you can see that computers of 5 years ago, even ones that were top of the line, really were not designed to handle what is here in 2010.
So the hard question sometimes is it worth it to upgrade, or is it better to just get a new computer. Generally if your computer is a couple of years old, adding some memory, or upgrading graphics (for desktops) may be a worthwhile option. For memory, 2-4 GB is about the norm today with higher end systems having 8GB or more. Increasing your memory can really help if you multi-task and/or do much with multi-media. Upgrading your graphics card in a desktop can also be a worthwhile option, especially if your computer is currently using onboard graphics. Many websites and programs today are very graphic intensive, and having a good graphics card can really enhance your computer experience – it can also help by taking some of the burden off of the processor. When upgrading graphics though, you have to make sure that your PSU (power supply unit) has enough juice to handle the upgrade.
For older computers, adding memory or upgrading the graphics, while sure to add a boost to the system, is not always a worthwhile investment. Most computers today run multi-core processors, and more and more programs are written to take advantage of this. If your computer has an older processor (CPU), even with more graphics and memory, the CPU may become the bottleneck. The other thing to consider with an older computer is that your Hard Drive will fail eventually, and it would be a real drag to spend a bunch of money on upgrades only to have your hard drive fail a short time later (or PSU fail, or CPU, or anything else in your system). The other thing about older systems, is that if during their lifetime they have been overheated (especially laptops), or subjected to power surges (common here in Pensacola), their parts have been stressed, and sometimes when you add fresh parts or increase the demands, the stressed parts can easily fail (sometimes taking the new parts with them).
Of course there are some things you can do to prolong the life of your computer (or at least its usable life). First, ensure that you keep it clean – get some computer/electronics approved compressed air (never EVER use an air compressor!) and carefully blow out the dust, dog hair, dirt etc from inside the case, paying special attention to the cooling assembly of the CPU and the fan assembly’s on the case and power supply (be careful not to tilt the compressed air cans when using!). Secondly, get rid of unneeded programs and startup entries, or if your computer is a number of years old, and full of unwanted programs, re-install Windows (make sure to back up important files first!).
With the great deals on computers these days, it is often better to go with a replacement, than try to prolong an aging system. While computers today don’t seem to last as long as old computers, due to their lower cost, their cost per year has remained about the same. For example, if you paid $1000 for a computer 4 years ago that is ready to be replaced, you spent $250. A $1000 computer 4 years ago was in the low-mid range of computers. Today you can get a low-midrange computer easily in the $500 range. If the new $500 computer only lasts 2 years, your price per year remains the same. Computers today are cheaper for two main reasons – one is that they are massed produced (mostly overseas), and the production costs are much lower, the second reason is that they are not made to last as long (because of cheaper construction as well as the fact that technology is changing so fast).
The best scenario is to know that you want to get a new computer, and shop around waiting for an excellent deal – this always beats waiting until a computer dies, then having to shell out money on whatever is available at the time. For information on upgrading your computer, or a helpful guide to buying a new computer, visit Pensacola Computers. Offering Computer Service, Computer Repair, Networking, Computer Classes, and general help on any computer related topic for Small business and home users, Pensacola Computers serves Pensacola Florida community