When you bought your last PC you may have thought it would last you forever. Perhaps it was the top of the line when you purchased it. Now you are starting to notice that it is running slower than when it was new, or it is taking longer to startup. The average desktop lifespan is between 2-5 years, depending on the type of system originally purchased. There are several different reasons that computers start to slow down. If you want to return your computer to its previous performance how do you know if it is better to simply upgrade some of the parts, or purchase a whole new system?
Before looking at replacements, the first thing you should try is cleaning up your computer software. This is free and typically takes less time than installing new parts. You can start by clearing up old software and files that are unused. If you are running Windows, the Disk Cleanup tool is pretty good for this process. There are also tons of great guides online to assist you. If you are signed up with iPoint’s networking services, we can handle all of these processes for you, so you don’t have to lift a finger. (Other than to contact us of course.)
If cleaning up your computer is not enough, the next step is to evaluate what the weak link in the system is and evaluate if an upgrade will help.
– Is the Hard drive full? Some common symptoms are: slow starting up, slow performing day-to-day tasks, and slow shutting down. This is an easy fix. Start by uninstalling unused programs and files. It’s best if you can have at least 33% hard drive free. If this is not an option, you can always replace or add a new hard drive. They are typically cheap and one of the easiest parts to install.
– Not enough memory. This is often the weak link in old computers. Symptoms: slow multitasking. The good thing is that memory is cheap ($50-70) and is definitely the easiest part to install.
– Outdated CPU. This one is a lot more difficult to install on your own. You typically want to only think about replacing your CPU if you have experience doing this before. It takes time to replace and at worst it is possible to completely ruin your computer. While a replacement CPU may be within your price range, other companies can easily charge you $200 – $500 for installation.
Is it worth upgrading?
A good rule of thumb is that if the overall cost of upgraded parts is more than 50% of the cost of a newer and better system, it is generally better to just purchase a new computer system instead of upgrading. Is one part enough to make your system run better again? Adding additional RAM will do little good if your processor is out of date and your Hard Drive is full.
Won’t something better come around in six months?
This is a question that is often asked when considering purchasing a new computer. I would advise that if you need a new computer, it is better to just go ahead and purchase one now. There will always be something new and faster six months from now. That shouldn’t affect your decision now.