Yup, it’s true.
The facts behind this are based on over 30 years of experience installing and repairing computers. If we look at typical usage, by the typical person in a typical environment; a computer costs about $200 a year. Your results may vary based on workload, but generally this rule applies to almost everyone.
If you purchased a computer for $1000, expect it to last about 5 years. Many people who put down $1500 or more on a Mac or high-end PC will have a good experience for 7-8 years. It’s the same on the low-end. You will be frustrated and will end up ditching that $400 laptop you bought at the big box store after just 2 years because it will become so slow as to be unusable. Your smartphone is faster, so why not use that instead!
This continues after the life-cycle of the computer is reached and you are faced with an upgrade or repair situation. If after 5 years, your $1000 computer is limping along then upgrade it instead of buying a new one. Keep those computers out of the landfill please! An upgrade can preserve the environment…and your well-being. Sort of.
All of our computers have a unique “personality” that’s all our own. We like the way the screen is laid out and where the icons are. The programs all work the way we like (or tolerate) and all the accounts are properly logged into for email and websites. We know where everything is, and it works the way we expect. My mom used to say, “the devil you know is the devil you can deal with”. The same thing applies here. While the computer may not be perfect, we know exactly what to do to make it work and get what we need.
To recreate that personality on a new computer can be tough. There are programs that exist to move programs and data from old computers to new ones, but sometimes any sluggishness or bad behavior can move over at the same time. And why would we want to slow down our new computer? The reason we bought it was because the old one was slow! So, if you’re over 40 and not a proponent of change, upgrade that computer instead and use the same $200/year rule.
Upgrades to the operating system can often improve performance, but not typically. If your computer was frozen in time and you didn’t need that new gadget or software feature and never upgraded anything, your computer would run well. It may not have all the security benefits of the new software, but it will run well. As soon as we start upgrading the operating system to accommodate new software or new gadgets, we will likely need to upgrade the computer to keep running well. Keep the $200 rule in mind when upgrading. If you spend $300 for an upgrade, that PC better run for another year and a half or it was not worth it.
One revolutionary upgrade that is being performing daily is swapping out the old, slow hard drive in your computer for a new Solid-State Drive (SSD). There are no moving parts in SSD drives and they generally increase performance by a factor of 7. That’s right…your computer will run 7 times faster! Everything from the old hard drive can move to an SSD. The process is called cloning and it’s just like it sounds. We can move every little nuance of your computers’ personality to the faster hard drive.
We continue to be stunned at how well these upgrades work. We can easily take any computer; laptop, desktop, PC or Mac and make it run better than it ever did if it has one of the old hard drives. Computers that are 8 or 9 years old get upgraded and run as fast as one you can buy today…sometimes faster! Even here the $200/year rule applies. While these upgrades can cost between $300-$600, users are getting another 2-3 years out of there aging, but devilishly comfortable, computer. After all, if you’re over 40 you don’t like change…unless it’s a change in speed!