How frequently do you upgrade?


So guys, how long do you typically hold on to your PCs, and generally, what kinds of things make you want to upgrade to the next greatest thing?

I ask because it finally happened … I checked the “recommended requirements” for Star Wars Battlefront 2, and it said “Core i5 6600” … whereas, I have a 4690K.

But for cryin’ out loud, I’d be really, really lying to you if I said I wasn’t happy with how my system is still performing (w/ 16 GB of RAM and GTX 970).

My laptop is an Asus 2-in-1 that I bought about 3 years ago, but geez … it still works fine.

I even have a Google Nexus 7 tablet that I still use because … well, it still works and is awesome.

Comments (22)

22 responses to “How frequently do you upgrade?”

  1. wright_is

    Years. My 2003 Athlon XP build was used up until 2009. I bought an Acer laptop in 2004, that was replaced in 2010. I bought a Q6600 based desktop in 2007, it was replaced by a Ryzen 7 just before Christmas (although the Q6600 was probably used about once every 2 - 3 months for checking Linux stuff, but it got an SSD upgrade). I bought a Sony Vaio laptop in 2010, that got an SSD upgrade and my wife still uses it. I have an HP Spectre x360 from 2016, that will last me another few years, I hope.

    I rarely "replace" my machines, they generally carry on for months or years in parallel to the new machine, running more mundane tasks, or they get handed down to less fortunate people - the Acer laptop was used as a test machine until 2012, then it went to somebody doing their Master Certificate (professional qualification in Germany), who couldn't afford a PC, they used it for another 3 years.

  2. PurpleDisciple

    Depends on the device.

    iPhone - every refresh. And yes, I have both the X and 8 Plus.

    Android - any flagships of note. Samsung hit two home runs last year and I have both of them as well. + Pixel 2.

    Windows Phone - crickets. I have the POS 950, and I feel like I should re-buy the 930 for a real last whimper of WP.

    iPad Pro - every refresh.

    Surface Pro - possibly never again after my experience with the SP4 and Books, unless a Store appears in my locale.

    Macbook Pro - every refresh.

    Thinkpad X line - every refresh.

    Surface Book - see above.

    Apple Trashcan - every refresh.

    HP Z8xx - every refresh.

    HP Z4xx - as needed.

    Lenovo P9xx - every refresh.

    Lenovo P5xx - as needed.

    DIY - depends on gaming reqs.

  3. vonronge

    My last desktop lasted about 7 years. Laptops last until the physical device falls apart. I use my hardware to run chemical engineering software and for gaming/movies.

  4. hrlngrv

    NBD at work, where I get a new laptop every 3 years, and it's been a middling Dell the last 4 times.

    At home, for me it's more drudgery than welcome spring cleaning to get a new home system up & running. For myself, I've bought 3 PCs and 1 Chromebook in the last 10 years. The oldest of those came with Windows XP; it's in my home office, but I don't use it any more. The middle one came without any OS; it's only run Linux, and it's FAR from a powerhouse. The latest is an i5 with 8GB RAM. I don't game, don't manipulate image files, and don't edit video, so I've never needed more than 8GB so far. I doubt I'll buy another PC in the next 3 years unless 1 of the 2 I use dies.

    I'd love to buy a Dell Precision laptop, but I can't justify the cost.

  5. Winner

    I build my own.

    I'm actually running a mini-ITX i3 system. The i3 is among the fastest for single core ops and is not that much slower than i5 or i7 systems per core, but it's only 2 cores. And it uses a lot less power since I have my machine on most hours of the day.

    I even video edit. I have a bunch of RAM (8GB) and a 240GB SSD for OS and Apps, and a 3TB Data spinning drive.

    Once I see a decent mini-ITX board for Ryzen I might go that way.

    Given that I'm sticking with Win 7, I have no desire to upgrade and risk incompatibility with Win7 not running on newer chips.

    I have Win 10 on my laptop and am resisting on my desktop. No need to support Microsoft's forced upgrades. I may go all Linux with my next upgrade, and just run Windows in a VM when needed.

  6. Nic

    I have a 4 year old Samsung laptop with 32GB RAM and a 500GB M2.SSD. I'd not replace it, but the number keys are barely functional now, so I'll be on a laptop hunt this year.

    My desktop (home brew) is about the same age, and needs a serious CPU and storage upgrade (it's still spinning rust).

  7. Patrick3D

    5 years is pretty much the sweet spot for building something new. By then technology standards have changed to the extent that re-using an existing GPU is going to hold you back from getting the most out of a new motherboard/CPU. I'm still using a GTX 970 on an AMD Ryzen system but don't feel any reason to rush into replacing it. I would rather spend $200 on a console that will handle games at 1080P than $400+ on a new GPU. When AMD Vega graphics cards come down in price to at least the $250-$300 range then I will upgrade.

  8. evox81

    It's not something that I've ever done consciously, but for the past 20 years I've just happened to replace my main PC every 5 years, give or take a few months. I guess there's just something about years ending in 1 or 6 that prompt me to do a complete upgrade.

  9. bharris

    Unless you are a gamer or doing something else very intensive. I have went from the guy who bought a new machine every few years to saying use it until it dies. Now, when I do buy one, I always get a pretty good system, usually between $1500 - $2000 because I know that I'm going to be stuck with it. My current system is 4 years old...has SSD, 32 gig of RAM and still works great. I'll pitch it when smoke starts to come out of it....not before


    My current PC is a 6-core (12 thread) Core i7-5930K with 32GB of DDR4-2666 on an ASUS X99 Deluxe motherboard. When I built this machine in late 2014 it had new features my previous machine lacked; DDR4 memory, 40 PCIe 3 lanes, USB 3. M.2 support, 802.11AC wireless, etc..

    Just yesterday I researched building a new machine looking at the features of the Skylake-X platform; DDR4 memory, 44 PCIe 3 lanes, USB 3.1, M.2 support, 802.11ac wireless, etc.. Not much has changed! I would have to spend close to $2000 on a new motherboard, Core i9 processor, and more RAM to make it a worthy upgrade, and still .... end up with a feature set very close to what I have today. Are 4 more cores (and 8 more threads) worth the cost? I don't think so.

    My previous cycle of building a new machine every three years ... has finally been broken.

    How long is the new cycle? I don't even know.

  11. rameshthanikodi

    Yeah, there's really no need to upgrade very often. Even when I upgrade I look for good used hardware deals before buying brand new. I upgrade my phone like every 3 years (unless phone gets destroyed before it), and my PC...probably lasts around 4-6 years. It's a bit more flexible with the PC though, because you can just breathe new life into a machine with simple changes like installing an SSD or with a new(er) GPU, rather than ditching the whole thing.

    And by the way, you can absolutely play Battlefront II on a 4690k + GTX 970.

  12. ErichK

    Yeah I guess I had a knee-jerk reaction when I read that SWBF2 system requirement. I should know by now to take stuff like that with a grain of salt.

    But then again, look at how Crysis brought systems to their knees when it was released.

  13. jimchamplin

    The only reason I moved my i7 Mac mini to HTPC duty was that the Intel HD 4000 video was too feeble to run anything, and the system was ridiculously hot under any kind of load. I was burning it up just running World of Warcraft and getting pitiful 24-30 FPS with the settings on low.

    For a couple of months I used a Phenom x4 machine with a Radeon R7 240 before finding a deal on a used quad core Xeon 2.4 GHz workstation for $150. It’s 7 years old, sure, but with an SSD and the R7 it does everything I want.

  14. MattHewitt

    So I built the desktop I use at home in June 2007. It's an Intel Core 2 Duo w/ 4 gigs of RAM and seems to be running fine with Windows 10. I don't use it but for browsing the web, paying bills, occasional printing and filing my taxes every year. I'm not sure if I will ever replace this machine, and if I do, it will be with a mid-range Windows 10 Laptop, Chromebook or iPad Pro. At work we're using desktops that range from 3-5 years old, and will replace them when they fail.

  15. Jules Wombat

    I recently have had to upgrade to a i7 6850 CPU, 32Gb DDR4 RAM, 500Gb M.2 fitted SSD and a GTX 1080ti GPU simply to get some basic Machine learning performance. I run this ML rig alongside my 4 year old i7, 16Gb, GTX 950 development rig. But its nowhere near powerful enough for significant Deep Convolutional network training processing purposes. But then standard DQN experiments are expected to take days to week to converge.

  16. Tony Barrett

    Most CPU's in the last 5 years are plenty powerful enough today for the vast majority of things. A mid-range GPU in that time-frame will also still run most games. The biggest upgrade for general system performance improvement was the SSD. It made a huge impact, and was probably the biggest single performance boost you could make.

  17. arunphilip

    I never upgrade voluntarily, unless there's a hardware failure where I might combine a replacement with an upgrade (e.g. dead graphics card replaced with a newer model) or when its storage (where I typically go for 2x the earlier storage).

    Otherwise, I replace PCs maybe twice a decade. By that time, upgrading is out of the equation, since memory and motherboard technologies would have moved ahead significantly.

    Since I don't play bleeding-edge games, that takes away the need for me to upgrade more frequently.

    We also have Windows to thank for that, because any PC capable of running Vista from a decade ago, is still fit for purpose (gaming excluded) with the latest update of Windows 10 today. In fact, Windows 10 will probably run better than Vista on 10-year old hardware.

  18. JustMe

    I build my own desktops and generally run them until they fail. I will be far more likely to change out parts (graphics card, SSD, more memory, etc) than upgrade the entire machine.

    As for laptops, it will be when the device either ceases to function, or wont do something I need it to do - which means it will likely (as long as its functioning) get repurposed, or on occasion, donated to someone less fortunate if the machine still has life.