Should I upgrade my PC?

This is a question I am often asked. Much like cars, different people have different needs and attitudes to PCs. Some like a new one every 3 years, while some prefer to stick with an older one that they understand. A large part of the decision on whether to upgrade or not comes down to personal choice. However much like a car can fail an MOT, certain factors mean that your current PC is no longer safe to use and an upgraded or replacement should be considered.

MOT Failures for PC include:

  • Older operating systems such as Windows 7 or 8 that are no longer safe on the internet.
  • A mother board or other major component has failed and cannot be economically replaced.
  • The processor (engine) in the PC is an older Pentium or Celeron model and is no longer “fit for the road”
  • The amount of memory in the PC is less than 4 GB which is a minimum for a modern operation system such as Windows 10.
  • The hard drive has or is about to fail leading to loss of data.

A rule of thumb I use when considering if it is time to upgrade or replace a PC is to look at the colour of the USB slots in the PC. If they are black this means they are the older USB 1 or 2 style. If at least some of them have a blue insert they are the newer USB3 version. In my view any PC with only black USB slots is ready for replacement rather than an upgrade.

Other factors to check and consider in deciding if upgrade or replace is the most economic route:

  • Only certain components in laptops can be upgraded.
  • Windows 7 and 8 can be updated to10 only if the PC passes a hardware compatibility test.
  • Windows 10 will be supported until 2025.
  • Windows 11 can only be installed on newer PC due to tighter hardware requirements.
  • Is installed software, including certain antivirus packages adding bloat to your PC by offering addons or because you have more than one installed.
  • Do you have a particular piece of software or hardware (printer, scanner) which will not run on an up-to-date operating system?

Tests can show what is the real reason for your PC slowing down?

  • Lack of processor power
  • Lack of memory
  • Poor hard drive condition.
  • Bloated windows installation
  • Low space free space on hard drive.
  • Spy ware or bloatware installed on PC.
  • Type of hard drive installed.

Once factors above have been considered the economics is the final hurdle. Replacing individual components and operating system can be time consuming and cost around £150 to £200. A replacement desktop may be around £250 to £300 while a new desktop may be around £500 -£600 depending on specification.

Finally, when looking at replacement PC online make sure that you understand the specs and only buy a new PC which is suitable for you needs. Check processor, memory, and hard drive size carefully.