Unfortunately, buying a computer is more like buying a car. Like a car a computer depreciates as soon as you buy it. The life span of a computer is usually about 3yrs. But like a car it can last much longer. So when is it time to upgrade and when is it time to buy a new one?
You need to ask yourself "what do I want to do on my computer?" If you answer is I want to check Email and type letters and you are able to do that on the system you have then I would suggest a regular six month check-up and cleaning.
If you answer is "there is a particular program I want to use but it needs more memory or my hard drive is almost full etc." Then bring it in to someone you trust and see what the cost would be to upgrade your hard drive or memory. The problem is that sometimes things snowball. You decide you want more memory but then realize that you also want a bigger hard drive and then you want to upgrade your video card. Soon you are spending almost as much as a new system costs. You have to consider a few things. Usually older memory costs two to thee times more than the current product. Some upgrades may make your computer faster but may still be technology that is one to two years old and still may not be fast enough. Finally when you upgrade you are paying more for labour. There is a small labour charge built into every new Computer. The charge is small because all the parts are new and 90% of the time all the parts work together. It is also simple to put together a new system. When you upgrade the labour charge is more. This is the case because not everything is compatible. Sometimes the system needs to be cleaned before it is upgrades. Sometimes while upgrading some parts stop working. For example if you upgrade memory you may find that the new memory does not work with the old memory.
If your computer is slow and outdated decide what is important in your new computer and what software do you want to run on your new computer. Once you get a quote on a new system ask about upgrades or downgrades. Sometimes it is only a few dollars more to get a newer generation CPU or in a lot of cases you can get over 100mb of hard drive space for about twenty dollars more.
Like buying a car extra features can add up. But unlike a car a lot of new computers come with lots of features that only add a few dollars to the total cost of the system.
About the Author
Evan Freedman is an author for The Computer Geek Custom Web Page Design and for CSSZafco.com, distributor of computers and accessories. Evan has been diagnosing and fixing computer for over 25 years. Please visit the site to view a huge assortment of Computer Technology.