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While you might know a few people who brag about how long they use their computers, not everyone has the same experience. When your PC starts running so slowly that you can barely use it and doesn’t have enough room for all of your files, it’s time for an upgrade. Find out when to upgrade your PC and what options are the best.
What are Some Signs I Need to Upgrade My PC? (11 Indicators)
You don’t need an IT degree to find out it’s time to retire your computer. Before you start worrying about the cost of upgrading your PC or buying a new one, look at some signs indicating you need to make a change.
1. No More Multitasking
Do you tend to do a few things simultaneously on your PC? For example, you have a document editing tool open, send emails, and play music in the background.
Even playing a game, you’ll likely have background apps running simultaneously. A big sign you need to upgrade your PC is when multitasking becomes difficult or even impossible.
If you keep opening your Task Manager to close apps because they slow down your computer, it’s a sign that you need to make some changes. You may even have problems opening several tabs or windows, too.
2. Slow Running
When you compare a new PC to your old one, you’ll notice how fast the new one runs. Old computers use outdated technology that cannot keep up with modern demands. Even if your PC is only a few years old, it probably doesn’t run as fast as it should.
Not only can it run slowly when you try to surf the web or download a file, but it can also take longer to load when you turn it on and play games. If you attempt to play a newer game on an old PC, you may find that your computer cannot even run it.
3. Game Issues
Playing some of the newest games on an old PC is almost impossible. When you want to play with online friends, it has difficulty loading. And when it does, you find that your computer can’t run it.
This often happens because you have an old graphics card that can’t keep up with the game. Or your processor isn’t fast enough to play it. Even if you can play the game, you’ll likely find that it loads slowly and often lags, losing your progress. Upgrading your PC can help.
4. Broken Parts
Many people tend to DIY and fix their computers instead of hiring a technician. They’ll ‘band-aid’ the broken part, like using tape to secure a broken hinge.
Some people even use computers with broken or missing keys because they think it will take too much time or money to replace them.
When your battery stops charging, you might plug it in all the time instead of buying a new battery. Stop dealing with a slow PC, go ahead and upgrade it instead.
5. Limited Storage Space
Your PC has a finite amount of storage space. When you view your Local Disk, you’ll see how much space you used and how much is still available.
Having a lot of bigger files on your computer will slow it down. Those files include games and videos as well as programs and apps. You can free up some space by deleting files and emptying your recycling bin.
If you have a serious lack of space, consider using an external hard drive to hold some files. Adding more memory to your PC is another option.
6. Old Ports
Whether you use a laptop or a desktop, you need the built-in ports on the PC. These ports help you use accessories, like a keyboard or mouse. They also let you charge devices.
Depending on the age of your PC, you may have old ports that you don’t need or use. VGA ports were common for many years but aren’t used much today.
You should also upgrade your PC if it still has USB 2.0 ports. Most computers today come with either USB 3.0 ports or others that work with Thunderbolt and HDMI cables.
7. Editing Problems
Many apps allow you to edit documents, photos, and other files. A good sign you need a PC upgrade is when your old computer has problems using those apps. Most apps require a lot of hard drive space.
If you don’t have enough space or a limited amount, the app will run so slowly that it can take longer to save your work. Some of the newer editing apps do not even work on older computers because they are only compatible with certain operating systems.
8. Outdated OS
One of the most important parts of your PC is its operating system. It is a good time to upgrade it when it still uses an old OS, and you can update the system.
Microsoft released Windows 10 and allowed users to upgrade to it from previous versions for free. The company stopped the free upgrade in the past, meaning you now need to pay for a better OS.
Some Apple computers also use older operating systems that can slow down your work and make it harder for you to do basic things. Upgrading your PC is necessary if you want to use a newer OS.
9. You Can’t Stream
Netflix and other top streaming apps offer 4K options for users. With 4K streaming, you can feel like you’re in a theater because you get the same picture quality.
The biggest problem with an old PC is that it won’t let you stream in 4K because it doesn’t support this option. It also means you need a better graphics card.
You’ll also want to see if you can use streaming apps. Depending on the age of your PC, it may not have enough room or fast enough processing to let you stream anything. Even if you load a video, it may only play for a few minutes before it buffers.
10. Loud Noises
You expect your PC to make some noise when you use it. The noises can range from a faint hum when the fan runs to a whirling sound when you play a game.
If you keep hearing loud noises and the sounds grow louder, it may be a sign that the hard drive is about to retire. Loud noises can also go along with other issues that cost a lot to fix. Compare upgrading your PC to how much a new one would cost to ensure you choose the right option.
11. Frequent Errors
Using a PC that crashes often can be frustrating. Imagine your PC freezing and crashing when you’re in the middle of a project or when you finally passed a difficult level in your favorite game.
When you restart the computer, you’ll find that you have lost almost everything from your last saved point. It is not just crashes that tell you the PC needs an upgrade either. You might get constant error messages or boot the PC and see a blue screen waiting for you.
How Often Should a PC be Upgraded?
As people bought new computers and upgraded their old ones, finding new PCs and certain parts was very hard. You might remember how much some people spent on new graphics cards just to play some of the hottest online games. Before you spend too much on new parts and upgrades, think about how often you should upgrade your PC.
Most computers last for around three to five years before slowing down. PC manufacturers claim that their computer parts last for up to five years before they break down.
You might get as much as six years of use from your PC. Once you reach this mark, consider upgrading the graphics card and adding more RAM or storage. If you’re a gamer or have a gaming PC, you usually need to upgrade it every three years.
When Should You Upgrade Your PC?
Remember that you need to upgrade your PC when it can no longer meet your needs. This may mean that you need to replace a few parts faster than people with the same model.
Many people buy laptops to check Facebook, send emails, or edit documents. Once they gain more internet experience, they need a PC that can do more. If you buy a computer for school and start working, the chances are that the old one won’t do as well when it comes to working tasks.
Another reason you should upgrade your PC is when you plan to spend more time gaming. Let’s face it, there’s a big reason why professionals spend a lot of money on gaming computers.
An old PC will not have enough power to run some popular games. There’s also a good chance it doesn’t have enough space to store your games and the progress you make in them. Upgrading your old PC can help you play more games.
What PC Upgrades Have the Biggest Impact on Performance?
Looking at all the ways you can upgrade your PC might encourage you to spend more on parts you don’t need or won’t use. Consider the upgrades that have the biggest impact on your PC performance and are worth your money and time.
1. Add More RAM
Adding more RAM is one of the best PC upgrades and the cheapest. Once you open your PC case, you can easily add more RAM. Even YouTube videos walk you through how to do the job.
Make sure you buy from a reputable source, as you’ll come across scam sites. These sites sell smaller RAM sticks and claim they have more storage.
You may not even realize how little help you get until you install them. Adding more RAM can increase your computer’s speed and let you play games.
2. Upgrade Your OS
Regardless of your PC type, upgrading your OS can help you a lot. If you have a MAC, head to the Apple website and check all available upgrades.
Though Microsoft doesn’t offer as many free OS upgrades, it may still let you update your OS without spending a cent. Now is also a good time to consider Linux.
Many coders and editors use Linux. You’ll also find tools that let you add Linux to your PC and switch between it and another OS. A new OS may improve your speed and make your PC compatible with more apps, games, and websites.
Why spend a lot of your precious time and money on a new PC when you can add an SSD and make it run like a new one? An SSD with 500GB of storage goes for $100 or less and is easy to use.
You should make sure you buy from a reputable brand to avoid some of the scams and issues you might encounter. Consider external storage if you don’t feel confident opening your computer to install the drive. You can get 2 to 8TB of storage in an external hard drive with a solid and dependable case.
4. Replace Your Processor
A big reason you have problems with your PC is because of your processor. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a new computer though because you can swap out the processor. It requires a new processor and the right tools, which most people do not have at home.
You also need to make sure to buy one that is compatible with your PC. Many brands sell new processors that you can buy to ensure they are compatible.
You can also take a processing test online to see if your PC needs one. It also gives you an idea of how much faster it will run with a new one.
5. Change Your Graphics Card
Get a new graphics card if you love gaming or streaming on your PC. The right card will improve your graphics and let you stream 4K videos.
Some online games require a modern graphics card and may limit what you can do when you play with an old one. While swapping out your graphics card takes some skills, finding a computer shop in your area that can do it for you is easy.
What Do I Need to Do Before Upgrading My PC?
While there are a few things you need to do before upgrading your PC, backing up your data is the most important thing. You don’t want to lose tons of valuable information.
When you boot up your computer, you could lose dozens of files or delete everything from your hard drive. With an external hard drive, you can easily make a backup of your hard drive that you keep separate from your PC.
If you think you backed up all of your files, go over the PC and the hard drive to ensure they are still there.
1. Make a List
Before you perform any upgrades, list all the steps you need to follow. If you found a helpful video online, save it to your phone. Now is also a good time to ensure you have all the necessary tools.
2. Keep Track of What You Do
List down each piece you remove from your computer. You can also take photos or videos that show all the steps you took.
While you might think you can easily remember those actions later, it’s often easy to forget where a small part goes or find that you lost a screw. When you take anything out of your PC, place it on a piece of paper with a note, explaining what it is and where it goes.
3. Get Some Light
While this might sound simple, far too many people forget to have enough natural light around when they work on their computers.
You need a good lamp that gives you an overview of your PC and its parts. It’s also helpful to have a flashlight that lets you zoom in on areas of your PC that are hard to reach.
Knowing when to upgrade your PC helps you avoid the cost of buying a new one and lets you find ways to get the most out of your old computer. Some signs you need an upgrade include broken parts on your PC and not having access to updates. You can make your PC run like a dream with the right upgrades.