Re: when should you get a new computer?
There's not enough information to answer your question. I'd be inclined to ask:
1. What system do you currently own (clock speed, memory, bus architecture)? This will set the baseline for assessments.
2. What problems have you encountered or what is it that you'd like your PC to do that you think is beyond its current capabilities? Some of your problems might be solved by simple driver upgrades or a clean install.
3. How comfortable are you with getting into your CPU case and/or cleaning up your hard drive? If you don't mind spending a little time, you could optimize your system.
I've been tempted to dump my PII 400MHz, 512MB, 40GB, Radeon 9000 AGP system for something newer but it does everything that I demand of it: blog, edit photos, work from home, crunch numbers on big spreadsheets, print docs, watch DVDs, burn CDs, play strategic games, study languages, build websites, listen to or watch streaming media, manage my finances, et cetera. I recently did a clean re-install of Win98 with the latest drivers and the thing works just fine.
What's the only personal reason I can give today for wanting to replace it? Getting a desktop-replacement laptop would help reclaim some home office space. That's not a good enough reason for me to spend $2K for the fanciest laptop with all the bells and whistles.
There are many folks out there with legitimate needs for extra computing power; but there are many more folks out there who buy more PC than they use or need. Make your own honest assessment of what you need, and if your current PC is beyond salvaging with a very modest investment of funds and/or time.
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