Should I Replace or Repair my Broken Computer?

This is a common question and there are reason for both arguments.

As a general guide though,  the answer stems from another question.  What did you originally buy and when did you buy it?  If I bought the cheapest computer, I would plan to get 5 years out of it.  If I bought midrange, I would expect 10 years.  The exception being when the computer is used for high-end applications, such as video editing or gaming, and then I would expect half the time, but only because the newer software or games will have higher system requirements than typical business software.   Whichever computer I had purchased, I would expect, in those 5-10 years, to do a minor upgrade or a repair every 2 years and plan for that to cost 25% of the replacement value.  I can already hear the pundits, but I’ll explain the progress of technology and how that relates to my upgrade and repair plan.


Every 2 years RAM capacity doubles and the price, at any price point, halves, so you can get twice what you did before for half of what it would have cost back then.  Take any slow computer, that hasn’t had a RAM upgrade for a few years, add more RAM and you will generally see a substantial performance improvement.

Power supplies

Arguably the most consumable component inside your computer.  Power supplies need to be replaced every 2-3 years because as they get used their maximum output declines by about 15% each year.  If you bought a computer with a good power supply, it would have had 50% more than you needed to run everything, but by around the 3 year mark the power supply is giving everything it has.  A little more decline and then it stops working.  If you are using a laptop you should also replace the battery at the same time that you replace the power supply as the charge time declines in a similar fashion.


Upgrading windows could be another whole debate on its own, but the one simple reason why you should upgrade to the new version each time, is that it gets easier to integrate and connect all the other devices and peripherals that you expect to connect to your computer.  If you buy a new computer you are buying the newest windows, but given that you need to backup your old data and move it to the new computer, it isn’t any harder to backup the data and install a new version of windows.