Nothing lasts forever, and your computer is no exception. Even with the best maintenance, hardware wears out and new software comes along to make what you have obsolete.
So how do you tell when it’s time to buy a new computer?
A slow running computer can be a sign of aging hardware. It’s true that issues other than age can cause your computer to slow down. So try addressing potential software issues first. Check for viruses, remove unnecessary programs, and minimize start-up programs.
If your computer still runs slower than cold molasses, it may be time for a new one.
It Can’t Communicate
Technology changes quickly. If you can’t buy new software because the minimum compatibility requirements are beyond what your computer can handle, it may be time for a new one.
Similarly, if you can’t sync your phone, tablet, or iPod because they don’t recognize your system, you may need to upgrade.
Ideally, you want a certain amount of working space on your hard drive. If you’ve taken up 80% of your hard drive with programs and photos, your computer may slow down.
It’s like what happens to your desk when you let paperwork and folders pile up, eventually you hit a point where you can’t get anything done because there’s no space left to work.
Not having enough RAM can also slow down your computer. RAM or random access memory is the working memory of your computer. If your software is demanding more RAM than your computer has, it may be time for a new one.
Your computer makes noise. It should be a low background noise, like the hum of your refrigerator that you only notice when the power goes out and it isn’t there.
If your computer is making loud whirring or clicking sounds, or if the sound of your computer has changed over time, it may be time for an upgrade.
It’s Too Expensive
Many of these problems can be solved, at least temporarily, by buying new hardware or streamlining your software. If your hard drive is full you can invest in external storage. If you’re running out of RAM you may be able to add more, assuming your computer can take more. If a hard drive or fan is making noise, you can replace those parts.
However, you may eventually reach a point where the cost of upgrading is higher than the cost of buying a new system. That’s your final sign that it’s time to buy something new.
Pro Tip: Consider a Rebuilt Computer
If you want to upgrade, but you don’t have the money for a brand new system, consider a rebuilt. Buying a rebuilt computer is like buying a used car that has been thoroughly inspected by a skilled mechanic. Any part that might cause issues has been replaced.