You need to replace your A/C filters every couple months and your pillows every couple years; you need a new mattress every decade, and it is probably a good idea to upgrade your kitchen appliances at least once every 15 years or so. But, what about your computer?
When you should replace your PC depends on a number of factors, like how much you use it and what you use it for. Here are a few tips for determining whether it is time to upgrade your PC, or whether you can squeeze a year or more out of your home computer.
Signs You Need to Replace Your PC
Usually, as a PC ages, small things start to go wrong here or there, but over time, these small things can cause major problems with how the PC operates. Such major problems will likely interfere with your ability to use your PC effectively, and they could cause irreparable damage to your data if you don’t intervene in time.
If you notice any of the following phenomena in your device, you should run to get a new computer:
Overheating. You might notice overheating as an increase in duration and intensity of the fans within your PC, or you might feel the heat radiating through the walls of the device. As electricity passes through the circuits of your PC, it meets resistance and creates heat. As a computer gets older, resistance increases — and heat increases, too, threatening to melt or even ignite certain components of your machine. Because overheating can cause catastrophic damage to your PC, you should replace your PC soon to preserve your data.
Poor performance. If you find yourself waiting minutes on end for your PC to turn on, open windows or perform other tasks — if you can’t multitask or run the programs you need for work or pleasure — you could be experiencing the imminent failure of your central processing unit (CPU). If you recognize poor performance early enough, you might be able to intervene and save your CPU using a free PC cleaner to remove apps and software that could be unknowingly hogging processing power. However, if this solution doesn’t improve performance, you probably burned out your CPU and need to buy another machine.
Freezing. When your PC starts to freeze in the middle of some activity, like booting up or opening a program, your computer is showing signs that either the load on the CPU is too great or that the random access memory (RAM) is insufficient to manage the tasks you are asking of your PC. You can try cleaning the CPU, as mentioned above, and you can upgrade your RAM to see if the freezing issue resolves. If it doesn’t, and if it worsens into the Blue Screen of Death, you will need to invest in a new computer.
Why You Might Want to Replace Your PC Sooner
Of course, you don’t have to wait for your PC to completely and utterly crash before you bother replacing it. If any level of poor performance could warrant a PC upgrade, especially if:
You rely on it for work. You shouldn’t let your work productivity dip because you have to wait for your PC to load every few minutes. You should be able to receive compensation for a new PC from your employer, or if you are self-employed, you can deduct all or some of the cost of your PC on your taxes.
This is your only computer. Even if you have a mobile device you rely on for most of your online connectivity, you need a computer that functions to your expectations. If your only PC is getting on in years and isn’t terribly reliable, you should consider upgrading it.
You need cutting-edge features. If you use your PC to play video games, manipulate visual media, mine cryptocurrency or do other tasks that require the very latest in graphics cards, processing power and other PC components, you likely want to buy a new machine as soon as your old one no longer suits your purpose.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the question “When should you replace your PC?” Everyone wears down their computers at different rates, and everyone needs a new computer for different reasons. The best answer is this: If you are thinking that it is time to buy a new computer, the time is probably right.