Computers get faster every couple of months as new parts come out. The average consumer however will not upgrade their computer, cell phone, mp3 player, or other tech that often. Good computers can be expensive, so most people don’t upgrade often. But when should you upgrade?
What do you use your PC for?
Many people use their computers for checking email, browsing the web, watching videos, and sharing photos. The truth is these people don’t need to upgrade for a few years. The average computer user doesn’t do any power tasks, so there is no reason to upgrade. If you fall into this category, you should upgrade once every 3-4 years. However you should also take care of your operating system. Ongoing simple maintenance of Windows or a reformat and reinstall every year should keep your computer quick and snappy throughout the years.
Do you need the latest software?
Do you use programs such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, Vegas, or 3ds Max? These programs need a lot of power. If your PC is newer than the version of the program you’re using, it will most likely run the program well. But new versions come out every year or two, and these upgraded versions of power programs won’t run so well on your aging computer. If you need the latest versions of your favorite power-user software, you will need to upgrade your computer about every 2 years.
Are you a PC gamer?
PC gaming will require the latest hardware with each new game release. If you want to play the newest games at the highest settings, you will need new hardware monthly. A lot of people are fine with playing at medium settings, so for them I recommend upgrading their graphics card every year. If you only want high settings in games, you should upgrade at least every 6 months.
Gaming is a bit different from using your computer for other tasks. Most of the time, the only thing you will need to upgrade is the graphics card. If you have a dual core or quad core processor and 2GB of RAM, you will just need to upgrade the video card. Right now, I recommend 4GB of RAM for games. You might say it’s overkill, but it’s not. It was overkill last year, but this year games will have minimum requirements of 2 and 3 GB of memory.
Custom built computers
If you have a custom built PC, you probably won’t even need to read this article. Building your own computer will let you upgrade any specific part to suit your needs. I wrote this “guide” for people with prebuilt PC’s.
How often do you upgrade? Comment below.