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Most computers replaced after 4.5 years

Most computers replaced after 4.5 years

Even installing a couple of sticks of memory apparently makes many PC users break out in a cold sweat.

According to a recent survey, over half of PC users think their PC should last 'much longer' than three years, but on average people still replace their machines every 4.5 years.

The survey, carried out by Crucial, which polled more than 1,000 PC owners aged 16-70 in the US, France and the UK, also revealed some interesting reasons for people upgrading their PCs and, perhaps more importantly, why some buy a whole new system instead of upgrading.

According to the survey, the most popular reason people gave for reaching for their wallets was slow speed. Aside from gaming frame rates, slow speed can also be a result of full hard disks, installation of superfluous software packages, as well as viruses and other nasties. In fact, a slow computer can often be cured simply with a fresh installation of Windows, rather than new hardware.

The survey did hint at some knowledge of this, with users rebooting their PCs and running virus checks to try to speed up their machines. In addition, nearly half of those included in the survey simply disliked something about their PC.

As far as upgrades go, 49 per cent of those polled think memory upgrades would make a difference to their PC, but nearly as many didn't even know how much memory was already in their PC. A slightly odd but no-less important question was also posed - what did the users fear most, tinkering with the insides of their PC or dealing with your average house spider?

Clearly the survey managed to avoid the millions of arachnophobia sufferers out there, as 35 per cent of the respondents said the thought of performing upgrades themselves resulted in sweatier palms than dealing with your average household arachnid.

Does 4.5 years sound about right to you? Do you prefer replacing most of your PC every few years or performing smaller, regular upgrades? Let us know in the forums.

84 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Phalanx 12th May 2011, 10:09 Quote
Longest I've ever gone without touching ANYTHING in a PC I own is 9 years. The machine was still running everything I needed perfectly and all I was doing was dropping a fresh Windows install on it every 2-3 years.
ZeDestructor 12th May 2011, 10:12 Quote
I usually build/buy my systems for a lifetime of three years, after which it should still be able to function for at least another 1.5 years with other members of family etc, so 4.5 years lifetime is about right.

EDIT: Reply to Ph4lanx:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ph4lanx
Longest I've ever gone without touching ANYTHING in a PC I own is 9 years. The machine was still running everything I needed perfectly and all I was doing was dropping a fresh Windows install on it every 2-3 years.

Would it be fair to assume that that would be your NAS/router/firewall/server system?
SMIFFYDUDE 12th May 2011, 10:14 Quote
4.5 years sounds about right. My last PC was bought in 2006 and replaced with my current PC last year. The '06 PC did have GFX and RAM upgrades in its time though.
leveller 12th May 2011, 10:17 Quote
2-2.5 years for full upgrades.
SexyHyde 12th May 2011, 10:19 Quote
Upgrade cpu-mobo-ram every 2-3 years, graphics get upgraded every year or so with a good 2nd hand card. Most people I know will upgrade their laptops after 2-3 years with desktops lasting around 5 years.
SMIFFYDUDE 12th May 2011, 10:19 Quote
Oh i just remembered. My 2006 PC then went to replace the PII from 1998 that my dad used so that makes 12 years.
veato 12th May 2011, 10:20 Quote
I had my first PC (486 DX266) in 1994-ish and before the year was out I stuck in an extra 4MB RAM. From that point on I have been upgrading PCs ever since on a continual basis although major/full upgrades would be at least 2 years apart.

That's all changed now as I've just bought my first iMac but I would imagine that's still going to be upgraded on a 4 year cycle.

It's going to be sad waving goodbye to the Q6600 that served me so well over the last few years :(
Phalanx 12th May 2011, 10:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeDestructor
EDIT: Reply to Ph4lanx:

Would it be fair to assume that that would be your NAS/router/firewall/server system?

Nope, it was my gaming machine.
ZeDestructor 12th May 2011, 10:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ph4lanx
Nope, it was my gaming machine.

Bloody hell... Or did you upgrade a lot?
Kovoet 12th May 2011, 10:26 Quote
Max two years for me at the moment but six years back it was till the pc broke down

Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk
Ending Credits 12th May 2011, 10:30 Quote
I'm guilty of prematurely discarding old tech.

I consider anything over 2.5 years worthy of a replacement tbh.

That said I've had my current laptop for about 5-6 years.
Stotherd-001 12th May 2011, 10:33 Quote
I have a policy of upgrading each type of machine I own every 2 years, but the results here will be screwed cause of gamers. My third full build from nearly 5 years ago still works, and would be fine for the basics. My old laptop is almost as old and I still lend it out to people when fixing theirs.

Vista will also adjust metrics quite a bit due to it being sold on machines that can't cope with it.
Elton 12th May 2011, 10:33 Quote
I try to keep everything in use.

Oldest computer I have is about 8 years old, running an old Celeron doing Paradox 7 work. Yes Paradox 7..
Skill3d 12th May 2011, 10:35 Quote
I'm still running my 7,5 years old pc and it still outperforms a lot of computers
Phalanx 12th May 2011, 10:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeDestructor
Bloody hell... Or did you upgrade a lot?

Nope. As I mentioned in my first post, I didn't touch the machine hardware-wise for 9 years.
bsp 12th May 2011, 10:48 Quote
My first PC lasted about 6 years,

the second about 5 years,

the third lasted about 4 years (sub-standard parts causing early failure so ended up costing more than it should)

the fourth has lasted me 5 years with a HDD and a graphics upgrade. It is, however, stuck on AGP and a single core cpu.

it just isn't much use any more for games.

Expecting to get a new one soon and shouldn't need to upgrade for some time (I hope!)
Xir 12th May 2011, 11:08 Quote
Mine last longer than that, I strive to update every 3-4 years, but realisticly, they last longer.
If you buy a near-top-end gaming machine, it's going to last a while.
I Upgrade about a year after noticing I cannot run current games in decent settings anymore.

(and yes, looking at my sig, I'm overdue) :D

I also understand people buying a new machine instead of doing a fresh windows install.
Most ready-bought computers come without an install disk.
And saving all your data and setting and getting it to run again is a hell of a task if your not in practise :|
Lance 12th May 2011, 11:39 Quote
I regularly put new RAM into a pc to give it a bit of extra juice, but that is about it.

My current computer was sort of upgraded - sort of replaced using stuff I salvaged from my old pc, like the case, and graphics untill I can aford a new one.

The parts that were taken from that were then turned into a HTPC for my parents front room TV.

I think learning to upgrade your PC is a really useful and important skill, and better yet when to upgrade aswell.
l3v1ck 12th May 2011, 11:41 Quote
My PC will be celebrating it's sixth birthday in a few months. It still works, though is quite slugish. I put that down to the old HHD's.

http://valid.x86-secret.com/cache/banner/111373.png
perplekks45 12th May 2011, 11:44 Quote
1st PC: 1994 (486 DX2 66MHz)
2nd PC: 1999 (AMD K6-2 266MHz)
3rd PC: 2003 (AMD Athlon XP 2600+)
4th PC: 2007 (Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2400MHz)

This year it'll very likely be a shiny MacBook Air 13". Don't do much gaming on PC anymore so I don't really need a new desktop PC.
3lusive 12th May 2011, 11:49 Quote
Did 4 long years on an AMD 2Ghz Sempron and was extremely glad to see the back of it when I upgraded
kaiser 12th May 2011, 12:01 Quote
I think the key is building around a quality motherboard and striking lucky on a socket with longevity.. I'm still running the same Asus Crosshair (gen1) as I was 5 years ago and its never skipped a beat.

Also, if your liquid cooling often upgrading one part is enough hassle to encourage replacing everything while your at it!
theevilelephant 12th May 2011, 12:02 Quote
My PC has lasted ~4.5 - 5 years so far and as a student I really couldn't afford to upgrade during that time. However it still runs every game I throw at it on medium and is still fairly responsive. When I upgrade this will be turned into a media pc or server of some sort, giving it another 4-5 years of life.
Kamikaze-X 12th May 2011, 12:03 Quote
I'm still running my 5 year old Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.6Ghz, and with the addition of more ram and upgrading the graphics as well as adding an SSD, i really can't see the need for an updgrade of the core components, not like when i had a pentium D805.

i still havent run into a game it cant play adequately.
Kiytan 12th May 2011, 12:08 Quote
Sounds about right. I normally do some minor upgrading, maybe add some ram or replace a GFX card, but in general I just replace the whole thing.
Madness_3d 12th May 2011, 12:23 Quote
I'm the kind of person who's constantly upgrading in small chunks rather than building a new machine all the time. I first built this PC 7 years ago but theres not a single part (not even the case) that's the same as back then.
BentAnat 12th May 2011, 12:43 Quote
Well, I normally wait until it can't play games anymore and then upgrade. However, since I hardly ever play games anymore (maybe 2-3 hours a week, split between X360 and PC - mosntly 360), I ahve not felt the urge to upgrade in a long time.
Early last year my PSU went and took the aging 7900GT with it. So I replaced them (GTS 250 or something I am running now). Other than that I replaced a blown Motherboard, some Harddrives and gave it a RAM injection early in it's life... this whole rig was bought in late 2005... 6 years almost with minimal intervention.

I've spent 13K (i.e. the price of a decent upgrade) on my MBP for the freelance work early last year, as that was simply more important (and has made back most of that by now...)
Cadair 12th May 2011, 12:44 Quote
Something about a broom with 7 new handles and 8 new heads?
javaman 12th May 2011, 13:07 Quote
Most of my PC's die before 3 years forcing me to "upgrade". In the Dell the motherboard memory controller died, £200 for a new PC for office work beat sending it to dell for repairs. Least a newer mobo gave me an "upgrade" option. That PC was for office work but sort of got moved to media center/light gaming so It needed an upgraded with a dual core and HD4650. My main PC the PSU died after 1.5years so it was upgraded and folding moved me from the HD4870 => GTX260. Ill put an AMD Hex core when bulldozer drops and before they become too rare to get at a reasonable price. I tend to upgrade earlier than I need, ie. PC can still handle everything, because something new has released and what I'm upgrading to has been reduced to clear. After that it'll become too rare to get hold of.
sandys 12th May 2011, 13:11 Quote
I used to upgrade a lot because of gaming but that has slowed now as I mainly play on console but if you juts use web, email and office docs there is not a lot of reason to upgrade.

built the missus a machine over 10 years ago out of an Asus Terminator DDR barebones box using a Duron 1.4Ghz and 128Mb of Ram, I won't say it hasn't been upgraded as I popped my old Athlon 1800XP in and an old 256Mb stick I had left from an upgrade, plus its now on Xp rather than 98 but its still running and has been running pretty much daily since.

It does everything her family needs from a machine, its not even that slow.

ASUS build quality for you, superb! If it does get replaced no upgrade would be cost effective, it would need complete replacement really, but hey if anyone wants to send me a stick of 256/512Mb DDR I could extend its life further. :D
billysielu 12th May 2011, 13:44 Quote
I replaced my last PC after 4 years, but I was annoyed with it after 3.
greypilgers 12th May 2011, 14:03 Quote
I have NEVER renewed my PC. I'm still using the same one that I bought back in 1985.
Of course a couple of bits have been changed over the years - the hard drives, dvd drive, motherboard a few times, couple of different processors, graphics cards, fans, memory, and a couple of case changes, but I've never renewed the PC...

;)
Combatus 12th May 2011, 14:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by greypilgers
I have NEVER renewed my PC. I'm still using the same one that I bought back in 1985.
Of course a couple of bits have been changed over the years - the hard drives, dvd drive, motherboard a few times, couple of different processors, graphics cards, fans, memory, and a couple of case changes, but I've never renewed the PC...

;)

Same here with my axe. I've replaced the blade 4 times, and the handle a few times, but it's still the same axe :D
GiantKiwi 12th May 2011, 14:31 Quote
Most of my computers I will try and make them last as long as possible by upgrading key components every few months, but the average lifespan is 4 years or so. I've still got a laptop I use regularly which i bought in november 2002 which is a dell latitude C640. It can still compete with some laptops of the last generation.
Phil Rhodes 12th May 2011, 14:41 Quote
Two to two-and-a-half, probably. I work on my machine, so upgrades are basically provoked by ever-increasing client demands and my interest in being able to render huge particle systems and still have a social life.

P
Bauul 12th May 2011, 14:51 Quote
I think my floppy disk drive has journeyed across every one of my PCs since about 1999.

Does that mean I've had four different PCs in 12 years, or one PC where everything changed but the floppy drive?
TheLostSwede 12th May 2011, 14:52 Quote
Wow... don't think I've ever had a system for over two years, but then again, when you upgrade them bit by bit, it's hard to tell how long a system lasts as you end up with things that are 4-5 years old (hard drives, cases and PSUs for example), but RAM doesn't tend to last that long, neither motherboards and CPUs...
V3ctor 12th May 2011, 14:57 Quote
Pentium 3 500Mhz
Athlon 933Mhz
Athlon 2000+
P4 2.4
P4 2.6ghz
Sempron 2800+
Sempron 3200+
P4 3.0
P4 3.2
Athlon 64 3,4Ghz (sck 754)
Athlon 64 3200+ (sck 939)
Opteron 170 (sck 939)
Q6600
Athlon X2 2350BE
Athlon II X4 600e
i5 2500K


All of this, more or less in chronological order since 1999. Loads of them were small updates in cpu,

The "loved ones" were the P4 2.4ghz, Opteron 170, Q6600 and of course the i5 2500K

The worse ones were the AMD XP 2000+, P4 3.2ghz (it turned off while I was playing, too much heat), and of course the Semprons line.

The one that lasted longer was the Q6600 (3 years and something)
nbaprophet 12th May 2011, 15:10 Quote
Great to be here: first post

Hmm, interesting... 4.5 years seems like a lot of time. I upgrade fully every two years even though I'm always waiting for an excuse to upgrade something, i.e. right now I'm debating if I should buy another 5870 for a quad crossfire, but my habit is in no way a reflection of what regular people do.
Nicho133 12th May 2011, 15:42 Quote
The first Computer we got in 1996 was a Compaq 75mhz Pentium, 8MB RAM, 1GB HD, Win95. This one got a 24MB RAM upgrade and various HDDs died.

in 2000 we got a 733mhz PIII, 128MB RAM, 20GB HDD, Nvidia TNT2, Win98, Crappy PSUs that would blow up about once a year. Throughout the years this got upgraded to 512MB RAM and got a video card upgrade, and also got a 40GB secondary HDD (It was a Seagate and only lasted for less then a year or so) It also got a DVD-ROM upgrade.

The next we got around 2006/2007 is a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo, 1GB Ram, Nvidia 7300GT, 250GB HDD. The PSU died on this about 6 months ago so I replaced that with another one that died again a month after, so I got that one replaced so it's running fine now.

In 2008 my brother gave me an old 2.6Ghz Celeron to play around with so I could learn how to build computers myself, I took the whole thing apart and put it back together :D If it wasn't for him giving me this I probably would never have tried building my own.

I built my own Rig in 2009, specs were 2.8Ghz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Ati 4650, OCZ 600Watt PSU. I just upgrade when I feel I need to. So now it has 6GB RAM, Ati 5770, 150GB Raptor, OCZ 700 Watt PSU (The original one Died about 8 months ago) My original RAM also died about a year later as well. I don't plan to buy a new rig anytime soon, this one is perfect for what I do. :D
The_Beast 12th May 2011, 16:09 Quote
That sounds about right for a family computer. As for my gaming computer I upgrade when there is a new game that I REALLY want to play and it needs moar powa
BioSniper 12th May 2011, 16:29 Quote
I work on a 3-4 year cycle to replace major components (mobo, cpu) but other stuff like HDD's, GPU's and Ram get upgraded when I feel like it or I cant run a game at the detail level I like.
As The_Beast says though, if something needs it and I really want it, I'll upgrade :)
Showerhead 12th May 2011, 16:39 Quote
I wonder how many of your users would even know how to upgrade a pc. While my mobo was being rma'd recently i shoved an old machine together with spare parts i have and didn't bother with a case. When my flatmate came through she seemed to believe that all the internals for the pc were in the monitor and didn't have a clue what was on my desk.

3 years is also about the average lifespan for the cheap laptops my family buys before they die.
thehippoz 12th May 2011, 17:22 Quote
around every 2 years.. I really like the asus eee netbook for a laptop- it does what it needs to do and lasts forever on a charge.. no need to replace that with a ipad

the video cards seem bound to go before anything else.. pretty impressed with the rig have now.. 460- is just no hassle at 850 stable with just a few mods (re-did tim and ducting to cooler)

the g6850 still running at 4.2ghz.. hope parts stay this good

also still running a e6600 at 3.3 for 3 years now
Aegisuk 12th May 2011, 17:40 Quote
I make regular, smaller upgrades to my computer. Had it for about 2 years and I've upgraded the GPU, motherboard, hard disk and ram all at separate times. PC's are my hobby though, so I upgrade not through need, but because something cool comes out and I want to buy it :)
tad2008 12th May 2011, 17:40 Quote
My current PC is around the 4.5 year mark and has only had a memory and graphics card upgrade during that time. Upgrades are now limited due to the ageing form factor which isn't helped by Intel and AMD changing their sockets as often as they have during this time.

Since I have a 3Ghx dual core amd chip in there I can happily get away with simply upgrading my graphics card to keep things ticking over for a bit longer yet.

That said,when the time comes and since I am happy with my Antec fusion case it will simply be an upgrade of the motherboard, cpu and ram for me.
knuck 12th May 2011, 17:51 Quote
I upgrade parts every few months. I honestly don't think I ever went 6 months without something new in my PC, even when I was broke as hell.

The only things I keep forever are hard drives and my DVD burner. I have always had several HDDs in my PC (up to 6 at a time at some point) because I don't take them out until they become useless (say a 80GB surrounded by 500GB HDDs). As for my DVD Burner, up to a month ago, it had been in my PC for 7 years. It's still working beautifully and is the most silent DVD burner I have ever seen (heard?) but it's IDE and is useless with my Sabertooth X58. Sad



I think I will keep my current rig intact for quite a while, though. I will definitely add more HDDs in the near future however because 4.5TB is getting a little tight. The rest should be enough for a long time, especially if games keep being held back by consoles
stotea 12th May 2011, 18:20 Quote
Yeah I'm pretty sure I've gone a year without upgrading at least something. I'm surprised by the results of the survey, though.
OCJunkie 12th May 2011, 19:05 Quote
I personally upgrade minor things like RAM & video frequently (around 6mths-1yr) so complete rebuilds are spaced a few years apart, after which machines get passed down to family members who get another year or two out of it so 4.5 years does sound about right on average.
John_T 12th May 2011, 19:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadair
Something about a broom with 7 new handles and 8 new heads?

Haha, that was what my brother said to me a few weeks ago when I started explaining to him my current 'nine year old' PC!

It started out as my personal PC, then switched to becoming my work PC:

4 PSU's.
3 GPU's.
1 Extra stick of RAM.
4/5 Boot HDD's.
3 HSF's.
2 DVD drives.
3/4 new sets of case fans.

The only original bits left are the case (Lian-Li), motherboard (Asus), CPU (AMD Athlon XP 2800+) & the floppy drive! Although if anything else goes wrong I think it's getting beyond the point of being cost effective to replace individual components, it'll be time for a wholly new system, (probably a nettop of some description - I wish there was a barebones Shuttle version with AMD's Zacate/Fusion instead of just the Atom, I'd buy that tomorrow).
John_T 12th May 2011, 20:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys
ASUS build quality for you, superb!

I have to agree. As mentioned above, damn near every day for the best part of nine years - you can't really grumble at that!
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandys
...but hey if anyone wants to send me a stick of 256/512Mb DDR I could extend its life further. :D

I have a cheap generic brand (Hynix) stick of 256MB DDR 400MHz CL3 you're very welcome to - unless someone can trump me by offering a 512MB stick. :)

It's been sitting in my drawer for a good few years now, but I can't see any reason as to why it wouldn't still work. I'd rather it went to a good home than continued to sit in my drawer feeling lonely...

I don't know how to send personal messages in here, but if you can get me your address somehow I'd be quite happy to wrap it in cardboard, pop it in an envelope & send it out to you.
Sloth 12th May 2011, 20:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by knuck
I upgrade parts every few months. I honestly don't think I ever went 6 months without something new in my PC, even when I was broke as hell.
Same, though each individual component usually lasts two years. I love buying upgrades. Some more RAM here, a new video card there, maybe another hard drive for good measure...
John_T 12th May 2011, 20:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tad2008
My current PC is around the 4.5 year mark and has only had a memory and graphics card upgrade during that time.

If you're still using that 4.5 year old HDD, then I think that could be well worth a replacement. The step-up I noticed from my old Samsung Spinpoint to my new Samsung F3 was immense - it practically felt like a new PC.

A 500GB Samsung F3 can be had for about £30 now:

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/500gb-samsung-spinpoint-f3-hd502hj-sata-3gb-s-7200rpm-16mb-cache-8ms-oem

Combine it with a free disk cloning utility like the nice and easy one I use:

http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-backup-software.htm

And you really can't go wrong... :)
javaman 12th May 2011, 21:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by John_T
Haha, that was what my brother said to me a few weeks ago when I started explaining to him my current 'nine year old' PC!

It started out as my personal PC, then switched to becoming my work PC:

4 PSU's.
3 GPU's.
1 Extra stick of RAM.
4/5 Boot HDD's.
3 HSF's.
2 DVD drives.
3/4 new sets of case fans.

The only original bits left are the case (Lian-Li), motherboard (Asus), CPU (AMD Athlon XP 2800+) & the floppy drive! Although if anything else goes wrong I think it's getting beyond the point of being cost effective to replace individual components, it'll be time for a wholly new system, (probably a nettop of some description - I wish there was a barebones Shuttle version with AMD's Zacate/Fusion instead of just the Atom, I'd buy that tomorrow).

Just build your own. Overclockers had "Hudson M1" Motherboards and you can pick up some itx cases that can take a full sized PSU. Mind you since LGA1155 dropped I've always fancied making an itx gaming rig. i5 speed in such a tiny space........I really need a higher paying job =(
Ficky Pucker 12th May 2011, 21:35 Quote
my last pc was about 3 years old (amd 4400+, asus a8ne, evga 8800 gts) i've had a chipset fan die, dead soundcard and a dead gpu, bit unlucky there.

i'll probably upgrade after bulldozer's release, so by then the pc i have would be 2 years old.
FelixTech 12th May 2011, 23:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theevilelephant
My PC has lasted ~4.5 - 5 years so far and as a student I really couldn't afford to upgrade during that time.
That's a long course you on! :P

I would say about 4 years is probably right for what I'd expect MY pc to stay with me for, then at least another 4 years with the family. Until every member of the household has their own PC, there is no chance of one being thrown away. We still have a 10+ year old PC being used for flash games and web browsing.
NethLyn 12th May 2011, 23:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ending Credits
I'm guilty of prematurely discarding old tech.

I consider anything over 2.5 years worthy of a replacement tbh.

That said I've had my current laptop for about 5-6 years.

Hardly any guilt involved if you flog a piece of kit that you bought new and more than one person gets good use out of it. Once you find a good backbone of Mobo/CPU and you're not playing games with a PC, who knows how long it'll last. The Socket A and Barton 2800+ CPU that my Mum uses, it's rolling into its eighth year in total when looking at the oldest parts inside plus the seven year old Jeantech Phong case, but I'd bought and sold two more of the same combo before the socket was axed. If it didn't use too much power then it would roll on forever, but she'll move on to her laptop eventually.

Current magic backbone is the MSI K9A2 either CF or Platinum, and the AMD 4400+, long in the tooth for big performance standards but trucking along nicely for anything else, sailed past its third birthday and easily another 18 months in it for gaming unless I bought a BF game. Not going quad until I see the current gen offerings, or whatever follows that vs Ivy Bridge in Jan.

Didn't even remember the decent PSU, once you've done the shelling out for one of those, it's years before you have to bother again.
NethLyn 12th May 2011, 23:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
I'll put an AMD Hex core when bulldozer drops and before they become too rare to get at a reasonable price. I tend to upgrade earlier than I need, ie. PC can still handle everything, because something new has released and what I'm upgrading to has been reduced to clear. After that it'll become too rare to get hold of.

I had that curiosity about the 3200+ Barton for years until the mag finally tested it and showed I was right to stick with the 2800+, 2GHz at that level, only cache was there to make it any quicker and it would have been even more heat and even more juice.

That's how I felt about the Phenom II X6s, probably great at the time, but will probably be bettered in the newer socket so no hurry to upgrade - not even now the 1055T/1075T are £130/£140 on the street.
SMIFFYDUDE 12th May 2011, 23:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madness_3d
I'm the kind of person who's constantly upgrading in small chunks rather than building a new machine all the time. I first built this PC 7 years ago but theres not a single part (not even the case) that's the same as back then.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbha4XclSMU
Fizzban 12th May 2011, 23:49 Quote
I usually upgrade bits here and there, so the original build doesn't stay that way for more than a year or 2. But I do tend to be behind the current gen by a ways as I can't afford to keep up. And secondly you can't really make use of most of the new found power when it comes out. You have to wait a bit for it to actually be worth the coin.
GravitySmacked 13th May 2011, 00:02 Quote
Mine is a moving feast but I can confirm not many parts last that long.

My daughters box, which I built and modded for her, is still going strong at over 6 years old.

I guess it's all down to how you use it and how well you look after it.
IvanIvanovich 13th May 2011, 01:27 Quote
overall lifespan is 6+ years. 3 for me, 3+ for my parents. though it looks like its going to be longer this time. core i5 750 is still plenty for me and looks like it might be fine for at least another 2 or so years. just updated to a gtx560ti and hope that has enough to last through that time frame.
javaman 13th May 2011, 02:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NethLyn
I had that curiosity about the 3200+ Barton for years until the mag finally tested it and showed I was right to stick with the 2800+, 2GHz at that level, only cache was there to make it any quicker and it would have been even more heat and even more juice.

That's how I felt about the Phenom II X6s, probably great at the time, but will probably be bettered in the newer socket so no hurry to upgrade - not even now the 1055T/1075T are £130/£140 on the street.

Thats true tho I don't really need cutting edge atm since I mainly game, fold and occasionally edit photos or compress blu rays for a mobile device etc. I'm still on a 6000 x2 AM2+ so it would require a full mobo, cpu ram upgrade for anything where as the hex is enough of an upgrade to breath another year or so life into the machine for taking my next move. With an luck when I need to do a full rebuild I will have the cash or jump to AM3+ and slowly upgrade that way. It also annoys me that I would be throwing away 8gb of DDR2 for 4gb DDR3 just to keep costs down. Its only recently 4gb sticks have appeared at a decent price. If im to truly upgrade I always said I would get at least 8gb with 2 sticks.
Elton 13th May 2011, 02:25 Quote
I hate having the upgrade bug, but thankfully, my own fiancial situation really helps me suppress those "urges".

My computer thus far is about 2 years old outside of the GPU. There really isn't anything more I can upgrade now that I think of it, perhaps a better 20" monitor, but that's it.
Doctor Hades 13th May 2011, 10:46 Quote
I replace my PC with a brand new one every three years as a rule but do upgrade the graphics card in each one at least twice during that period as well as add extra hard drives. I don't tend to upgrade the processor. I plan on buying my next PC later on this year/early next as my current machine will be three years old by then (I bought it from CyberPower in December 2008).

That said, my current machine is a 6 GB, Core i7-920 running at 3.2 GHz with an SSD boot drive, 2 TBs of hard drives, a BD/DVD Rewriter and GTX 580 graphics/X-Fi XtremeGamer sound and it still runs every game I throw at it with aplomb. It does help that most PC games are multiformat though as that certainly reduces the need to upgrade regularly.
NethLyn 13th May 2011, 12:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by javaman
It also annoys me that I would be throwing away 8gb of DDR2 for 4gb DDR3 just to keep costs down. Its only recently 4gb sticks have appeared at a decent price. If im to truly upgrade I always said I would get at least 8gb with 2 sticks.

Another good post reminding me why it's laptop year for me, I didn't want yet another generation of jewellery hardware gone to waste so flogged whatever hadn't lost its value and gave away the rest. As you say, two sticks of a larger amount of memory are usually a struggle to fit into a budget build, that's something else to wait for as everything else would have come down and stayed cheaper without the same fluctations as RAM.

It seems like external peripherals are the longest lived bits and pieces in my house, I only spent the £40 per case but for people buying Silverstones and Lian Li models costing £70-150, you don't just ditch those overnight on a whim. Since there's been a drop in sales of 26in flat TVs, if this has translated into less monitors at that size then the 22 I bought last Autumn looks like it'll get a decent decade of use depending on whenever the pixels start to die.
Xir 13th May 2011, 13:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Hades
a 6 GB, Core i7-920 running at 3.2 GHz with an SSD boot drive, 2 TBs of hard drives, a BD/DVD Rewriter and GTX 580 graphics/X-Fi XtremeGamer sound and it still runs every game I throw at it with aplomb. It does help that most PC games are multiformat though as that certainly reduces the need to upgrade regularly.
No it helps that your graphics are still top-of-the-line and the rest is more-than-enough-fast :D
SMIFFYDUDE 13th May 2011, 16:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Hades
I replace my PC with a brand new one every three years as a rule but do upgrade the graphics card in each one at least twice during that period as well as add extra hard drives. I don't tend to upgrade the processor. I plan on buying my next PC later on this year/early next as my current machine will be three years old by then (I bought it from CyberPower in December 2008).

That said, my current machine is a 6 GB, Core i7-920 running at 3.2 GHz with an SSD boot drive, 2 TBs of hard drives, a BD/DVD Rewriter and GTX 580 graphics/X-Fi XtremeGamer sound and it still runs every game I throw at it with aplomb. It does help that most PC games are multiformat though as that certainly reduces the need to upgrade regularly.

you could get another 2 years out of that i reckon
timevans999 13th May 2011, 18:37 Quote
Its all about bang for buck at the time of purchase, if you are lucky enough to coinside your upgrade with the release date of a couple of (bang for buck products) then the useful life of your computer (in your own mind) will be longer.
dave99 13th May 2011, 23:34 Quote
SPIDERS. Eeeeek!
dave99 13th May 2011, 23:39 Quote
The last PC I built was built in order to play Battlefield2. I have just purchased all the components for a new PC in order to play Battlefield3. I hope they are good enough to play it when it comes out.
dave99 13th May 2011, 23:39 Quote
But SPIDERS. Eeeeek!
mclean007 14th May 2011, 14:06 Quote
Given the number of people who refer to a desktop PC itself, that is the case and its innards, as the "hard drive" or the "CPU", I'd bet at least 90% of the population wouldn't have a clue how to install a RAM upgrade, let alone replace a graphics card, motherboard or HDD. The idea of installing drivers or reinstalling Windows brings most non-techies out in a cold sweat (even though with Win7 it's almost laughably straightforward and holds your hand all the way), so it's no surprise they tend to replace the whole system (and even then may pay a ludicrous fee to the friendly goons at PC World or the Apple "Genius Bar" to migrate their data across) and then junk the old one or hand it down to another family member, rather than perform even basic upgrades.

I consider myself fairly techie, but rarely upgrade. Since I got my first PC in 2000, I've replaced the whole thing once (2009) and before then had gone through maybe 2 motherboard upgrades (one because it got fritzed by a dying el cheapo PSU), one new PSU (as the old one was killing motherboards...), one CPU upgrade, a couple of RAM upgrades and a couple of HDD upgrades, the HDD upgrades largely because I think £50 for a new mid size drive, larger and faster than I had before, is a small price to pay for a fresh install every 3 years, avoiding the need to move everything to an external drive, wipe the internal HDD, install Windows again and pray the data got copied off the old drive properly. I just bang in a new drive, unplug the old, install Windows, then do a direct copy of any data I need, keeping the old drive as an internal backup drive in case the new one breaks.
misterd77 14th May 2011, 21:05 Quote
I build budget machines, my local dump is a great source, picked up all manner of goodies from noobs chucking out 2/3 yr old machines, 1tb drives, 1 gig graphics, etc, I buy a shiny new case, and add the junk i find or buy second hand, my current machine build costs were less than £70, windows index is 6.8, not bad, but it will be upgraded again shortly, its been built to play the many free mmo's out there, world of tanks and AVA, my goal is to achieve "free gaming", without resorting to piracy, and so far its worked, check gumtree and freegle often, as its a good source for unwanted tech and you might get lucky, like me, second hand computer parts are so cheap if you know where to look, and its this second hand market that offers most value, enough for a pc gamer to be working with 2/3 machines as i do, my current gaming machine is hitting 120 fps on ava and over 40 fps on world of tanks on max, and it cost £70 including the 19" widescreen tft !, so many chuck out kit thats still powerfull, take cpu's for instance a quad core q6000 is still a beast, and will happily run the latest games no problem, yet iv seen quad core chips for less than £20, crazy, your gpu is the king of the hill, you dont need a £300 quid cpu to run crysis, save money and the planet and recycle someones unwanted kit.
misterd77 14th May 2011, 21:22 Quote
any true enthusiast will be tinkering away with a machine or two all the time, or fixing someone else's machine, upgrading presents a major headache for most people though, I constantly tell peeps "its like lego, and youtube will teach ya", but even then its hard for them to get around the terminology, most pc users will run thier machines down to the wire over a few yrs, wait till it slows down, never reinstall windows, and after a few months of crap pc use, will throw in the towel and buy a new machine, its this ignorance that can benefit you !, who would say no to a 3 yr old pc with a screen for less than £100, throw in a nice gpu and ur sorted, on release my current kit would have cost £800 or so just for the mobo/cpu and gpu, yet i picked them up for less than £70 !, for 2yr old kit, it makes sense to recycle, cause noobs just dont know the value of the kit.

oh and eat haggis, its good fo ya
ev1lm1nd666 15th May 2011, 00:09 Quote
I think if you're not crazy about gaming then 4.5 + years is perfectly reasonable, my main pc was my gaming rig when i built it for the princely sum of £300 in 2007. It's had two new graphics cards, added 2 gig ram, three new hdd's (samsung spinpoint F3's) htpc case and a new HSF. It sits under me tv filled to the brim with hd movies, my favourite tv shows and acts as my home server. Can see it lasting another few years yet without any issues.

I agree with John_T, next to upgrading ramand graphics card, changing from an 80gb IDE HDD to my 500GB Sata Hdd saw a big leap forward in loading times and system speed
leslie 15th May 2011, 23:33 Quote
Quote:
In fact, a slow computer can often be cured simply with a fresh installation of Windows, rather than new hardware.
Is the author serious? Or just joking.
Windows Xp has tripled in size and Vista 32 bit will almost never run right.


As for 7 years, expecting 7 years out of a computer (without significant upgrades) is just not going to happen unless you like torture.

More importantly, consider the costs.
If you can do it yourself, yes, it's not bad, but pay someone to install the upgrades and clean out the computer and you are easily halfway to another cheap store bought computer. "Why pay $200 to fix a 4 year old computer when I can buy a brand new laptop or $300."

You and I know that $300 laptop is junk, but all many people see is a computer.
Xir 16th May 2011, 13:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by leslie
Is the author serious? Or just joking.
Windows Xp has tripled in size and Vista 32 bit will almost never run right.


As for 7 years, expecting 7 years out of a computer (without significant upgrades) is just not going to happen unless you like torture.

Ah...no, a computer with a fresh instoll of the OS-of-it's-time will run much better than before.
Also nice: family computers where the kids installed "theme-packs" and every other kind of crapware they were thrown at.

Of course a five year old WinXP box isn't going to run Crysis for you with just a fresh install.
But for an Office/Internet/Mediaplayer it'll easily suffice.
leslie 16th May 2011, 22:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Ah...no, a computer with a fresh instoll of the OS-of-it's-time will run much better than before.
Also nice: family computers where the kids installed "theme-packs" and every other kind of crapware they were thrown at.

Of course a five year old WinXP box isn't going to run Crysis for you with just a fresh install.
But for an Office/Internet/Mediaplayer it'll easily suffice.
Faster, yes. Decent, not really.

I replace a lot of 5 year old office computers because.... They're too slow.
b3z 19th May 2011, 19:29 Quote
Sounds about right to me, just replacing mine after about 4 years now :)
bnicholls195 22nd May 2011, 19:56 Quote
I work in the computer retail industry and most on my customers say their computer they are replacing is about 5 yeras old.
Junky228 18th January 2012, 05:38 Quote
I still use my IBM PC Convertible, model 5140. 1986 I believe.
yodasarmpit 18th January 2012, 11:04 Quote
My home laptop will be approaching 6 years old, still works fine - although doesn't get as much use these days, and my PC must be around 4 years old now.

My computing needs have changed somewhat over the past few years, to the point that the vast majority of my time in front of a computer is surfing the web and the iPad/iPhone/Blackberry takes care of most of those needs.

I will tend to use the laptop for the odd download, but gaming and photography have taken a backseat for some time.
Maybe time for a PC upgrade, get some gaming and photography time in again.
Chris516 1st November 2012, 23:26 Quote
I have four computers.

2-Tower
1-Laptop
1-Netbook

The first Tower, I basically have had since 2000. I did have initial problems with the first two motherboards, until I got a Soyo SY-7VBA133U, that allowed for 1.5GB RAM. The hard drives I bought off of E-Bay because, I ran the PC, first off the SCSI AHA-1542B Host Adapter for 5yrs., along with 1.5GB RAM, 15' VGA CRT, and 20GB SCSI HD. I also had15-watt external speakers. Then, After five years, I made several upgrades to the computer. I upgraded the SCSI Host Adapter to the AHA-9320, then the AHA-39320.

I upgraded the hard drive from one 20GB HD to where I was running four 147GB in a RAID-10 network.

I also upgraded the sound system during this time. I started out with Creative Labs Sound BlasterLive! in 2000. In 2004, I upgraded it to their Sound Blaster Audigy2! and I upgraded the speakers. So I could do 100W+, if I wanted to.

Earlier this year, I was given a new tower for my birthday.

The comparison specs are:

New: Old:
P4 G6850 P3-950
4GB RAM 1.5GB RAM
Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit XP Pro SP3 32-bit
500GB IDE 147GB(4) SCSI Ultra320
IDE on-board HDC Adaptec AHA-1542B, AHA-19320, AHA-39320
Realtek on-board Audio Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live!, Audigy 2ZS
Logitech Speakers that were used on the old computer.

I do have a laptop, because, the Netbook I was given, is too darn small.
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