Should I fix or replace my computer?

Everyone has seen the display model computers at the big box retail stores, promising next generation features for a price that won't break the bank.  But is it worth it to shell out the money to buy a new computer when the computer you had when you graduated college would work just fine if you fixed it up a bit?  Sometimes we must let our beloved electronics retire instead of forcing them to keep holding on for just one more year!  Today we'll explore a few questions we should ask ourselves when it comes time to upgrade or replace our computers.

1.  How old is the computer?

    Even though your computer might be "running just fine" for now, computers have a "best used by" date.  Typically, you can expect computers you buy from the local department store to last around two years, while computers that are more business class have between a three and five-year lifespan.  This doesn't mean that they will for sure break on these schedules, but at the rapid place technology moves you will need to consider replacing things at these times to make sure you're getting the most for your investment!

2.  What kind of problems are you having with your current computer?

    "I have a routine!  I hit the power button on my computer, then go out and get a cup of coffee, take a shower, and work on my theory for cold fusion.  By the time that's done, my computer should more or less be up."  Have you noticed your computer taking more and more time to get to a usable state?  Often just having an experienced eye look at your system can help get it running much better!  If not, cheap upgrades like extra memory or a solid-state disk can make a huge difference on a system that isn't extremely old.  For less than the investment of a brand-new computer, your 3-year-old desktop might be able to outperform one of those sleek new models you see on the showroom!

3.  What do you use your computer for?

    Those $150 laptops you see advertised all over the place can look enticing, but are they worth buying?  In some cases, yes!  However, if you are wanting to be able to do more than just basic web browsing and document editing, these machines can lure you into a trap of frustration.  For instance, if you want to be able to stream HD video to your TV or play games, these low powered devices will only give you a headache.  In these circumstances, bigger can be better!  While it might not be as small and shiny as the new display laptop, the trusty 15-inch behemoth you keep on your desk might just need to have an electronic spa weekend to get refreshed and ready for the new season!

At the end of the day, there are several variables that will let you know if you should upgrade your computer or let it take a well-deserved rest.  If you have questions about what you should do, please contact one of your friendly neighborhood iTologists, and we will work with you to come up with the best way to use your money in our ever-changing technology landscape!


Cory Carson