When is a Computer Outdated? A Guide on Upgrading vs Replacement

Computer Outdated

In 2019, the world produced 53.6 million tons of electronic waste. Of that, 13.1 million tons were from the Americas alone.

As you can imagine, discarded computers make up a big portion of all that e-waste.

With that said, it’s always a good idea to think twice before you buy a new computer. You might not even need a new one if it’s not outdated.

So when is a computer outdated then? How can you even tell if your current device is too old?

We’ll serve you the answers in this guide, so be sure to read on!

When Is a Computer Outdated?

Outdated computers are usually those considered by their manufacturers as obsolete. For instance, Apple no longer provides parts for products discontinued seven years ago. Apple refers to them as “obsolete” or “vintage.”

Other computer makers follow similar practices, which they usually call end-of-service (EOS). Just like Apple, these companies stop making repair parts for EOS products.

What Are the Signs of an Outdated Computer?

Most computer manufacturers, like Apple, notify their customers about EOS products and dates. You should be able to find this information on their official websites.

If your device isn’t part of a computer maker’s EOS list, here are some of the signs you should be on the lookout for.

Old Age

Your computer’s age is one of the primary indicators that it’s too old. Most experts say that computers last for about three to five years. If yours has been in service for longer than this, take that as a sign you need to upgrade or get a new device.

Inability to Update the OS

Your computer is no doubt outdated if you can no longer update its operating system. Sometimes, you’ll get an error message, but in many others, your computer will simply freeze.

Do note that Windows releases critical or feature updates twice a year. However, it also launches OS patches every month, usually during Patch Tuesday.

Apple’s macOS also have monthly security updates. In some cases, the company rolls out multiple ones in a single month.

High CPU Usage In an Otherwise “Healthy” Computer

By “healthy,” we mean a computer that’s free of malware. Malicious programs are CPU-hoggers, so they use up a lot of resources in computers.

If your CPU is malware-free, but it always shows a high usage rate, it’s your actual usage that likely changed. For example, you now run many programs at the same time, as opposed to just running a browser when you first got your PC. In this case, your computer can no longer accommodate your increased computing demands.

Upgrading vs. Replacing

Most laptops come with soldered components, making it difficult to upgrade them. If you own one of the few that are upgradable, consider upgrading your RAM or hard drive before you replace it. However, this may only be a practical strategy if your laptop is only one or two years old.

Desktop computers are easy to upgrade, so you can simply stick a new RAM or hard drive in. You can also upgrade the graphics or video card or even the entire motherboard. Just make sure the components you’ll purchase are compatible with your PC.

If your computer completely broke down, though, a replacement might be a better choice. If you have data in your old device you need to retrieve; you can do so with the help of asset recovery services. Once recovered and stored in another media, you can then transfer all that data into your new device.

Upgrade or Replace Your Computer When You Need To

There you have it, the essential guide that answers the question, “When is a computer outdated?” Now, you know that it’s usually once its manufacturer considers it obsolete. Old age or inability to upgrade the OS are also signs you have an outdated device.

If your computer meets any of those criteria, then it’s time for an upgrade or a replacement.

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