When is the Right Time to Upgrade Your PC?

Do you upgrade your computer yearly? How about monthly? Do you upgrade only when your current system breaks down or stops running the newest applications? There is a big debate among computer users as to when the best, and most cost-effective time is to upgrade. In a recent discussion, Brandon and Jake were asked the question, “When is it time to upgrade your PC?”

Brandon believes in upgrading your system components, rather than buying a new computer every time new technology becomes available. By keeping track of when Intel and/or AMD come out with a new socket, he is able to determine whether or not a new motherboard needs to be purchased when buying a new processor.

Jake, on the other hand, buys an entirely new system yearly. By doing this, he enjoys an entire set of updated features including bigger hard drives, newer optical drive technology, and faster processing without the hassle of having to buy new individual pieces.

For most users, a simple upgrade here and there to a desktop PC on a regular basis can be enough to for them to get by for years. Costs are relatively low in comparison, and you have more ability to get exactly what you need, rather than what the OEM is willing to include.

A gamer might find a yearly total upgrade more cost-effective given the somewhat low prices for bundled hardware available today. Video cards, RAM, CPU, Motherboards, and sound cards all fall under a serious gamer’s radar in terms of desired performance increase.

While there are certain advantages to each camp in this seemingly eternal debate between geeks, one thing mostly everyone can agree on is that maintaining a basic knowledge of current technologies can come in handy when it does come time to pick up new hardware. Knowing the advantages to SSD over a traditional drive can help determine whether or not the investment is ultimately worthwhile.

If you decide to upgrade components rather than an entire system, keep in mind that everything needs to be compatible. Buying a SATA drive for a motherboard that only supports older connections can cause a real headache as users discover the incompatibility. More modern PC memory may not be recognized or run properly in an older motherboard. An out-of-date BIOS can fail to recognize newer components entirely, which may result in the appearance of broken hardware when a simple update can resolve the problem entirely.

What do you think? When is it time to upgrade your PC? Please leave a comment below with your opinion on the topic.

7 thoughts on “When is the Right Time to Upgrade Your PC?”

  1. I think a whole new PC a year is serious overkill for even a geek, people only do that because either a) they do DB/gaming/video editing or b) they are rich as hell. People also think its because their hardware is old that they need to upgrade it when in fact if they just looked at the software they used, they could still use that hardware for another 2-3 years.

    I personally have only ever owned 3 computers in my entire 16 years of computing, a P3 until 2002, a P4 until only a few months ago when i bought myself a shiny new quad core. How did i survive? i simply picked the software more carefully and ran a fairly minimalist setup. I still do, even on my quad core, run a very minimal setup. The only thing i really cant live without is a good modern web browser. Granted, i am a Linux user and have been for a bunch of years now, but even windows and mac users can be more minimalist and save their hardware and hard earned cash.

    I also dont buy prebuilt machines, i only buy parts because a) i can build computers easily myself and b) buying parts is far cheaper.

  2. I,ve been using computers since the early eighties. It used to be I would by a new one when I could afford it every few years. But i have had a core 2 1.8 Mhz on my desk for the last four years. Upgraded the memory, OS, Graphics card, installed a 26″ screen and added backup drives and a wireless mouse and keyboard, and its working fine. I can definitely afford a new one but I cant justify it financially. I still have to admit, with everybody else in the house having more powerful hardware, it is difficult to resist the itch.
    Furthermore, it takes me up to a month of continuous work to set up my computer to my specs. Although its great fun, it is still time consuming and I wouldn’t want to do it on a yearly basis.

  3. It is time for me to upgrade my PC since I am still based on a crusty Dual Core Athlon X2 with a an Nvidia 7600 video card.  I am starting to have issues with graphic intense websites, latest games and all that.  Do you recommend a good company to buy a PC from, I don’t feel like building my own and I am considering CyberPower but they have some bad reviews.  Have you personally bought PC’s from any company and recommend them Chris?

  4. I have a 5 yr old machine which runs fine, most of my upgrades over the years have been memory, and external devices (wireless mouse & keyboard, speakers with subwoofer, flat screen monitor, external backup HD) that can be used with any machine.  Just recently I upgraded to a bigger internal HD and ditched the IDE 80GB (quit laughing) in favor of a SATA 500GB.  When this machine dies I’ll be switching most of the upgrades over to a new PC.  Building it myself of course!

  5. Hello, I just jump in here from Kira’s Blog. Good Tips from you. I basically decide to upgraded my pc due to gaming and programming system requirement.Upgrading especially in hardware incurs cost and proper plan…:)

  6. Hello, I just jump in here from Kira’s Blog. Good Tips from you. I basically decide to upgraded my pc due to gaming and programming system requirement.Upgrading especially in hardware incurs cost and proper plan…:)

  7.  Its a nice post.Its great that if our default settings are giving us messy or stringy builds, this dialog can probably help.Thanks for the informatio

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