No computer lasts forever, but to get the most out of your investment, you probably want to stretch its life out for as long as you can. Upgrades and pc repairs can carry your machine along for a decent amount of time. Eventually, every computer slows down—even if you’re using it for the same things you were five years ago. Still, at a certain point, you might be better off investing in a new computer instead of wasting your money on frequent maintenance.
When Should You Take Your PC to a Repair Shop?
But, before you shell out for a new set of RAM though, you should figure out what’s causing the slowdown. It will tell you whether you need a replacement, or you’ll find it worth a while more to eke out with an incremental repair or upgrade.
Diagnose the Problem
Your computer consists of multiple components, each with its specific purpose. Anyone (or more) of them could be causing your slowdowns or other issues. So, if you want to make sure you spend your money in the right place, you need to diagnose the source of the problem.
First, make sure it isn’t a software issue. It’s always good to run a virus or malware test and ensure no infections in the background. You can also check programs’ resource usage: On Windows, open the Windows Task Manager (hit Ctrl+Shift+Esc) and click More Details; on a Mac, open Spotlight (press Command+Space) and search for Activity Monitor instead. If you see one program gobbling up all the CPU or RAM, uninstalling it and replacing it with an alternative may speed things up.
Check the Operating System
If you haven’t reinstalled the operating system in five years, it might be time.
If you can’t narrow the issue down to just one program, or the problem lies with an essential one, like your web browser, then you may need to upgrade your hardware. Then during the subsequent slowdown, open up that same Task Manager, head to the Performance tab, and look at your CPU and memory usage. If either of those graphs shows exceptionally high and sustained use, you know which part probably requires an upgrade.
While you’re running through potential trouble areas, check your RAM as well. Failing RAM could cause sluggishness, but it can also stop your computer from turning on, or it may shut down randomly. So run a RAM test like Memtest, which will check each stick and see if it’s good or not. If you have a bad post, you want to make sure you replace it.
Once you narrow down the problem to a specific component or two, you’ll be able to target your repairs better.
If you want to determine whether upgrades or pc repairs are worth your money, look at how much it will cost and compare that to the computer’s age. If the system is seven years old or more, and it requires a repair that is more than 25 per cent of the cost of a new computer, it’s safe to say that you don’t fix it. If your computer is three to four years old, that’s a better time to start looking for an upgrade since you can buy one to three more years. You can probably get away with a repair that costs about 50 per cent of a new system at that age. If it’s pricier than that, then you should think about a new computer.