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Upgrade or replace your old desktop pc

Updated on January 11, 2016
Old Desktop Pc
Old Desktop Pc

Knowing when to start over

Computers have become an integral and mobile part of everyone's life the biggest complaint most us have is how slow our PC has become over time, the big question is should you upgrade or replace your PC?

This decision can be a confusing and even frustrating process for some people, not everyone wants to reload all their programs,favorites and files on a new PC and or worse start over.

I would start researching online before heading out to your local store,sales people tend to try to take control by using big words or terminology that confuses the average shopper.

You should really look at what included in the price before making any final decisions, some times its better to spend a little more for the unit if it comes with a lot more memory,bigger hard drive ECT.

When you do head out to make your purchase the sales person at the big box store is going to recommend buying a new unit and all the extras they think you will need with it but is this really the right choice? lets dig in a little deeper and find out which choice makes sense for you. You to be aware a lot of companies still commissions for selling service plans,cables,ink ect.

slow pc
slow pc

Speed is the issue

The most important question you should consider is simply ,does your pc still perform well enough for what you use it for? if your answer is a strong no then a new unit is probably the best choice for you.

when considering if a pc is still useful ask yourself does it:

  • Run's fine without crashes
  • run all the programs I need
  • supports the connectivity I need usb 3,fire wire ect
  • Operating is still supported by Microsot Windows XP support is over.
  • The last bullet is very important, Windows Xp is one of my favorite operating systems but at this point support is pretty much over for it, most computers that came preloaded with Xp I would consider in need of replacement .

I would also recommend trying some house cleaning when was the last time you did some basic system maintenance? simple things like running a disk defrag,disk clean up or registry cleaning can speed up a computer if its been a.... oh you do not remember the last time you did any of these opps!

I highly recommend backing up all you information and reinstalling windows some times this will bring your PC back to life, over time windows has a habit of keeping too much clutter and can become broken and slow.

I mentioned this before any money comes into play because most can be done for FREE! no matter what you do I strongly recommend backing up all your documents,pictures,music and anything you hold dear before attempting anything, this way if anything goes wrong what you care about is still safe. You can burn a Cd/Dvd/Blueray,use a cloud service or back up to an external hard drive what ever option works for you.

I recommend caution when investing money in upgrading a machine over five years old,depending how much it has been used it could be about to die. PC's made from 2012 and on have strong potential for upgrades for several reasons

  • They support newer/faster ram
  • More upgrade options,Sata, Pcie and newer Quad or six core Processors
  • Upgrading to newer operating systems is usually easier

Internal Hard drive
Internal Hard drive

A look inside a desktop pc

Hardware decoded

Well its time to go shopping and it seems the sales people are talking a different language what is a Giga hertz? or 4 Gigs of ram? relax I have over a decade in retail PC sales and I can break this down to easy to understand terms.

The most important thing to remember is its your money on the line ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with your purchase, these days retail stores are hurting to make sales so they want to get as much money out of each customer as they can so be aware you are swimming with hungry sharks.

Let me give you a break down of the three most important hardware items you will see on every sale tag:

  • Cpu (computers engine) dual,quad or eight core IE. 2,4 or 8 Cpu's on one die the more the better.
  • Ram (runs programs and background items) measured in Gigabytes 4 is the minimum I would try to go with 6 or 8 Gigs the more you have the less your PC has to struggle with multitasking.
  • Hard Drive (storage for programs and data) standard now if 750 Giga bytes or larger you want to have a larger drive so your computer doesn't slow down.

You now have a basic idea of what these items are additionally you will see Video card specs ,DVD or Blue ray drive and operating system version all these are important however without strong base hardware they are secondary.

The three items I have outlined are a strong base for a solid and quick computer, the latest generation of photo,video editing and games can be very heavy in your systems resources and this is why I recommend purchasing a computer with the following minimum hardware.

CPU: Intel Core I 5 Core I 7 if money allows or

AMD A-series these add the benefit of a on chip Radeon video card (saves you money)

Ram : 8 Gigs of DDR3 Ram , 16 gigs or higher is desirable if you game,

Photo Shop or video editing software.

Hard Drive: 1 Terabyte or more,this allows you space to grow over time,

The newest addition to this technology is solid state drives,they have no moving parts and can make any system much quicker.

Operating System: Windows 10 comes pre-loaded on most retail PC's, I have had a great experience with Windows 10 and recommend it over Windows 8.

New PC shopping
New PC shopping

The extras to consider

When you choose to go new PC you need to understand you will more than likely have to buy new software and some cases hardware because Windows 8 or Windows 10 will not support them.

The best way to help prepare yourself is to go to Microsoft's web site and download their upgrade Adviser , it scans your PC and lets you know what will and won't work on the new operating system.

The most common issues are printers,photo software and office software, this is tough to predict because everyone's computer is different so it's a roll of the dice.When you do buy a new PC and need a new version of Office its usually cheaper to buy it with the computer so I would budget that in.

In the end the decision to upgrade or replace is yours I just caution having worked in the retail PC repair business you need to use you head when considering upgrades and repairs sometimes it just not worth the money.

I have seen people charge $40 or more to replace a stick of ram I can do in minutes,or charge $99 to back up data when you can buy a external drive and do it your self for about the same money. Please do not get me wrong there are people that should not attempt PC repair themselves they also happen to be the ones who should not repair their cars or do anything with a hammer around the house, so its not a one size fits all.

Windows 10 is what I use myself it is really a great operating system that's l user friendly. If you need to replace or even upgrade a newer computer you may get a whole new Experience .

Video Library

I have included some helpful videos to aid with your decision process, No matter if you choose to upgrade or go the new PC route I hope this hub helps you make the right decision. You could be spending foolish money if you do not research your options.

The most common cost effective upgrade with an older computer is upgrading the Ram depending on how much the machine came with this really can speed up a slow computer. Five years ago 2 Gigs of ram was considered good now 4 gigs is the minimum with 8 gigs being the most desirable amount to have.

Replacing ram in a desktop PC

Pc upgrades

Windows 10 Overview

Solid state hard drive test

Time to weigh in

Which operating system is better?

See results


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