Should You Develop A Replacement Schedule For Slow Computers?
Paul Watson, PC Technician Friday, August 13th 2010
Replacement Schedules Are Unique
A replacement schedule shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule, unless you’ve got a real reason to stick to one. It used to be that a good rule of thumb was about five years. If your computer was still in service five years after you first deployed it, then it was probably time to replace. Today, computers seem to age a little better, but in some cases, five years is far too long to hang onto an old piece of equipment.
One of the chief complaints about old computers is their performance speed. Slow seems to be the watchword of the day. “Slow” can be caused by a lot of things. As such, there are some approaches you can take to prolong your computer’s lifespan.
Laptops age much less gracefully than desktop computers do. The first question to ask yourself is whether you’re dealing with a laptop. If so, a five-year replacement cycle is likely to be too long. Laptops typically use older processors, slower internal communications speeds, smaller complements of memory and smaller hard drives. They also go through batteries at the rate of about one per year. Under these circumstances, a five-year-old laptop becomes a distant cousin to a medieval torture device.
If you are working with a desktop computer and your tasks are limited largely to Web browsing and basic word processing, you can go much longer without having to replace the computer. You might consider upgrades like more memory, a faster processor, a larger hard drive or even a better network card. Routine maintenance like disk defragmenting and registry cleaning can also improve the performance of an older computer.
If you’re doing very graphics-oriented work – graphic design, photo editing, engineering or gaming – then you’ll want to put your computer on an accelerated replacement cycle. If you load new software frequently, check the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully to make sure your system complies with the hardware requirements. When you start seeing software on the shelf that demands more than your computer can provide, that’s the time to decide whether to upgrade or replace!
Photo Credit: Ellie, via Flickr