by William Claney, Tech writer, Computer USA

The question on many computer users’ minds these days is whether they should upgrade their existing computer or buy a new one. Let’s see if I can provide some insight on this matter.
If Santa didn’t bring you a new computer for the Holidays and you are thinking you should get one, first consider the age of your existing computer. According to the pundits on the Internet, the consensus among them is a laptop is designed for a life of four (4) to five (5) years, and desktops are designed to last three (3) to eight (8) years. It depends on the model.
Ok then….by now we all know the Internet is always correct and accurate Therefore, with tongue firmly in my cheek, one should not question such an authority.
Our 26 year of experience teaches us nearly all computers are at, or near the end of life by age three (3), usually because of their hard drives. The age of your computer matters and factors like the brand (of the hard drive) matter as well. Some manufacturers are better than others. Perhaps, the Internet is a tad optimistic.
Certainly, the age of a computer matters but what matters most is your assessment of your computer’s performance. Is it fast or is it slow? That is a personal judgement. Fast vs. slow is in mind of the user. However, upgrading your computer because it is slow (to you) means spending about $350.00 for a good upgrade job. Band-Aid repairs are much less expensive but do not provide the performance boost you may be seeking.
I believe your first upgrade should be moving from a hard disk drive (HDD) to a solid stat drive (SSD) as this is likely the greatest performance boost for your money and renews your life cycle. You are trading up from a mechanical device moving at approximately 214 mph to an all-electronic device moving at the speed of light. Think of it as upgrading from an icebox (wooden cabinet using a block of melting ice as a coolant – for you younger folks) to a refrigerator. Old tech to new tech.
Next important item, how is the video output? All the latest streaming, gaming, video and photo editing are dependent on the video card (chip on motherboard). Laptops have no upgrade for this. Desktops with a qualifying motherboard (that thing that holds the CPU in place with all the wires coming out of it) may have a usable slot to plug in a more modern video card (adaptor). Some of the low priced desktops are not able to make this upgrade. Get a free estimate and consult your local computer expert for the answer.
In conclusion, if you want to go faster, upgrade your drives. If you want your four-year-old computer to act like a new computer, then get a new computer that is fully upgradable. Until next time, stay healthy and keep demanding more performance – we like that.