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Replace or Upgrade?

If you have been using a computer for over three years, you must have been faced with the dilemma of either replacing or upgrading your workstation at one point or another. Unfortunately, computers like most good things do not last forever otherwise manufacturers’ such as IBM and Dell would give buyers’ unlimited warranty. So what should you do when your computer begins to show signs of ‘old age’? Are you better off replacing or upgrading the device?

Unlike desktop computers, laptops are not usually easy to upgrade hence the focus of this article would be on the desktop PC. When a computer gadget requires attention, oftentimes we discover it is a fault with one of the following;

Hard disc: this is the storage device where all your documents and system files are kept. Many computers today come with over 80GB hard disc space and depending on your storage needs this would usually be sufficient. However, you could quickly run out of space due to increase in the volume of files such as music and video saved on your computer. When this happens I would recommend an upgrade simply because these days internal hard disc drives are quite affordable and alternatively external drives are widely available.

Computer Memory

The computer memory allows it to process information and the amount of information it is able to process per second depends on the size of the memory. When memory requirement changes for example, due to increase in workload, certain program installation or change in operating system, I would recommend upgrading to boost the performance of your PC.


This is the central circuit board of your computer. It may malfunction due to heating or electrical faults. When this happens I usually propose replacing the computer as this would save time and usually money with the added bonus of getting an up-to-date PC.

Computer Processor

This is the computers central execution unit. Considering the amount of complex and elaborate work involved in the process of upgrading, your best bet would be to replace the system.

Computer Graphics card

The graphics card helps create video output on your computer. I would advocate an upgrade in this case as because it could easily be done using one of the expansion slots on the motherboard and install the device driver. This is of particular importance to graphic designers’ and video game lovers’ who want to play latest animated 3D video games on their computer.

Finally, there are three major issues that should be considered before making up your mind viz; cost, training and waste management. Although most computer parts are relatively cheap and affordable, it is still very important to make a comparative estimate of how much time and money it would take to upgrade a device in contrast to the cost of buying a new one. You will be surprised it may actually cost less to buy a replacement. Furthermore, it is essential that you have sound knowledge of repairing a computer before venturing to open its casing otherwise you do so at your own risk. I would recommend using a Do-It-Yourself computer repairs manual for further assistance.

Managing Electronic Waste

Overall, choosing to replace your computer comes with an additional challenge called “e-waste management”. Your old computer is now an electronic waste that needs to be disposed of in accordance with government rules. You could also donate to a charity organization, trade it in a local “buy and sell” store or contact the manufacturer if it offers a recycling program. The choice is yours!

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  1. Leanne

    April 6, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Given that now computers are very cheap. You should replace once it hit 3 years. Just remember to backup your information in your computer!

    webmaster, Luminess Air Makeup

    • Jenyy

      April 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Replace! Technology is so cheap nowadays that it’s not worth the hassle. And I say that as a person with a lot of IT experience. There are more interesting things in life than getting your computer to work again because you upgraded the graphic card or changed the motherboard!

  2. Lisa

    April 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I would suggest that you should always try to upgrade instead of changing it when it doesnt actully need to be changed, and at the same time your saving the enviroment by not disposing of as much technological junk.

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