This is a question I get all too frequently, “can’t you just make my computer last a little longer?” or some version of that.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hate to break the news to you, technology changes! Yes, I know that is a startling statement, however it is true. Moore’s Law states, correctly, that circuitry and thus technology’s abilities double every two years.
The vast majority of you buy a new phone every 2 to 3 years because “it can do more”, well so can your computers.
Intel, Microsoft, Seagate and all hardware manufacturers constantly market to IT companies that our customers should replace their computers, servers, switches, routers, printers every three years. Yup, they want you to buy all new technology every three years. I personally believe that part of that is the low profit margins on hardware. If you would buy every three years they would make more money. If a basic computer still cost $1,000 maybe they would say every 5 or 6 years.
With that said, I do believe that technology can “age out”. Some of the factors are unsupported operating systems like Windows XP or Apple OS 7. Software becomes incompatible or glitch with new versions. Using Microsoft Office 2003 at home and sending the document to yourself at the office using 2013, you will find “issues”.
Another part is the “speed” of the hardware. Updates, new programs, faster internet, advanced security software all adds overhead to your hard drive, RAM and processor. All parts of hardware architecture change. That 2014 “good” gaming video card won’t even support today’s online “good” games. The amount of RAM / memory that supported Adobe Photoshop in 2010 won’t allow Adobe Photoshop CC to even run today.
Over the last couple of years there has been a great breakthrough in personal computing, the SSD hard drive. For the last 20 plus years, the slowest device in your computer has been the mechanical hard drive. Now that has gone through a major paradigm shift. To learn a little more about this check out my article on building a PC earlier this year.
With the new hardware has come better power efficiency. Less power is needed to run faster and more powerful processors, memory and hard drives. Better build in graphics has replaced add on video cards, all to mean less power is needed to run your computer, tablet or other device.
So what are my recommendations? Never keep a PC more than 7 years. I would prefer it if you replaced it after 5. As for laptops, all-in-one and tablet computers, five years is end of life. Batteries and storage are just unable to keep up after that. If you could replace them at year four, I would.
If you “don’t have the money” or “cannot afford a new one”, please visit Dave Ramsey’s web site, sign up for Financial Peace University and quit complaining. You have the money, it is about priorities.
Until we meet again. Have a virus free week.