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When Is It Time To Buy A New Computer?

The question of when to buy a new computer is more about the speed of technological advances, surprisingly, than about our throw-away society. On average a new computer innovation is introduced every 6 to 8 months. So, in a one-year period your computer can be behind by two generations. Does that mean you need to junk your computer every 12 months? Certainly not. I like to let the newest innovations take the test of time before I buy into them. Let someone else find the bugs, then after the manufacturers make improvements, we can reap the benefits.

Here is how to decide whether or not you need a new computer:

  • If your computer is over five years old, call the Smithsonian! All kidding aside, five years is about the limit before you do yourself a disservice by staying with a really outdated machine. You may not think you need a new computer, but when you get your hands on one you’ll be astounded by the improvements.
  • You can choose to upgrade your system instead of buying a new machine. This involves a computer technician replacing the older, slower parts (the RAM for instance) of your computer with newer, faster or higher capacity parts. There is a limit to how far you can upgrade a computer – it varies with each machine, but you may be able to hold out for an additional year or two with an upgrade.
  • You don’t need to replace your computer just because it is too slow for your kids and grandkids. If your kids are driven crazy by how long it takes to open a web site on your computer, but you have no problem with it, stick with what you’ve got. At some point, when you’re visiting their house, have them show you how much faster their computer is. If you see a difference and you want the faster machine, then make your purchase.

I replace my computer almost every 18 months. You can probably go for three to five years before you’ll want to consider a new computer purchase. Please don’t throw out the old computer! Someone can definitely make use of your old machine, even if it is only for parts. Contact your local school or visit