Weekend Open Forum: How frequently do you upgrade your PC?

By on April 19, 2013, 6:00 PM

Analysts love to point at Windows 8 as well as the rising popularity of tablets and smartphones to explain the industry’s accelerated sales slump. While they’ve certainly played their part, we can’t ignore the fact that nowadays you just don’t need to upgrade as often, as hardware has gotten to a point that any decently spec’d computer you bought or built three years ago is probably still good enough for most tasks today.

Even more so if you bought a high end system. Any “Westmere” Core i7 system paired with a first generation SSD and Radeon 5870 / GTX 480 graphics will still fly next to a decent mid-range machine today and run most games reasonably well -- though PC enthusiasts often have other reasons altogether for upgrading.

Today we want to hear about your upgrade cycle. How often do you phase out old hardware to make way for the latest and greatest? What’s the last thing you replaced and what parts do you plan to buy in the near future?

User Comments: 75

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1 person liked this | MrBungle said:

I start considering upgrades whenever similarly classed hardware gets to be 25% or more faster than what I'm currently running at stock clocks. (I.e. GTX 480/GTX 580/GTX 680 different generations same class of hardware)

My last replacement was a GTX 480 with a GTX 680 and recently added a second 680 for SLI.

I'm anxious to see what happens with Haswell hopefully it will be enough of a jump to consider replacing my Sandy Bridge 2600K.

Xero07 said:

3-4 years for a major rebuild. Though I may buy some additional hardware in between there. Though since I have both a desktop and a laptop, I probably end up buying a new comp of some sort every 1.5-2 years.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Up until recently, I was an upgrade junkie. But I upgrade to get the most out of games and for now and foreseeable future, there aren't going to be any games coming out that can even remotely tax my current system. We can thank developers stuck developing at XBox and PlayStation levels for that. Everything I play is at max settings and I get crazy frame rates.

My last upgrade was adding a second GeForce GTX660ti video card in SLI. I don't see any upgrades in the near future until games are to the point where they can tax the system I currently have.

Lurker101 said:

When it breaks, I'll replace it. Until then, I just don't see the point. There's nothing out there that really challenges my rig. The only thing I don't get out of it is DX11 which I can easily live without.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Whenever a form of media or certain tasks cannot be performed on my current hardware, then I'll usually go for whatever upgrade I need. I'm not an "upgrade just for the sake of it" kind of guy.

Just recently I decided to go all out on a full new build with a Core i7 and GTX660ti, leaving behind my old socket 775, DDR2 system. My next upgrade will probably be an extra 660ti to go in SLI for some of the gaming titles coming this year.

howzz1854 said:

I think the ONE of the many reasons why you don't see people upgrade as often as they used to, aside from what the articles mentioned, is that ever since AMD and Intel (parcitularyl intel) started rolling out new sockets every iteration, I lost interest to upgrade every 6 months. it's not only expensive, but a hassle to change out sockets everytime you want a new CPU upgrade. I remember back in the college days, I was upgrading CPU and memory like every few months, went from a Palomino 2000, to a thoroughbred 2100 to a thoroughbred 2400 all within a period of 8 months. it was a fun time all without the need to change out sockets or re-install. now I just DON"T want to go through the hassle anymore. unless I have all the time in the world, with the job, kid, family, a socket change will likely wipe out my entire weekend. if they want customers to grade again, they must reverse the trend and make it easy for the users to upgrade again.

I currently have two main desktops at home for myself. one in the study for gaming, and one as an HTPC in the living room. my study room gaming rig's last major overhaul was 5 years ago. it's still rocking a Q6600 overclocked and water cooled at 3.7ghz (default 2.4ghz). I've only recently swapped out the GPU for a HD7950. I am holding out for as long as I can mostly because not wanting to go through the hassle of swapping socket again.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Used to be every 2-3 years, now I think I've hit the end of it. My PC has mid range specs from 2010 and it still runs everything I need it to perfectly fine. I put some more RAM in a year ago, but that's been it.

I was looking forward to buying Win 8 until it I read reviews of it.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

Usually about every 18 months which Im due for now. Waiting to see also what haswell brings to the table to upgrade my 2600k. My 3Gb 580 is in need of an update also but didnt see the 680 as being worth it. Waiting for the 780 series. I game at 2560 x 1600. Already have enough ram - 16gb ddr3. I'm good on hard drives - 256gb ssd/4tb backup/3tb backup/300gb velociraptor. XFI sound is good.

yRaz yRaz said:

I do a minor upgrade once a year, ram, hdd, ect... I upgrade CPU, mobo, and video card once every 3-4 years.

mailpup mailpup said:

I usually don't upgrade computers unless a component fails and needs to be replaced. Instead, I build an all new one about once a year or two. All my old PCs still work but only two are usually actively hooked up at a time.

That said, while I built an Intel based gaming PC this past March 2013, I'm going to be building an AMD based gaming oriented PC shortly. I still have to buy a case and graphics card. I don't need it, I just want one to play around with.

Guest said:

What do you guys do with your old hardware?

1 person liked this | yRaz yRaz said:

What do you guys do with your old hardware?

build a streaming box and use it for network storage. That or give it to a relative who needs a new computer. I still have every video card I've ever owned. Don't have the heart to throw them out or give it away :/

Scshadow said:

I'm really getting an itch to upgrade but I can't bring myself to do so. My build is a first gen I7. Its not slow. I really just play it all by ear. I did decide it was time to upgrade my smaller slower SSD. I think it was worth it.

Cycloid Torus Cycloid Torus said:

Change in sockets means the upgrade coming up is a major build, so I have been holding off on any upgrades for more than a year. The disappointing news about Win 8, especially lack of START menu, has just added to the barrier. I budget (as appropriate to my income) so I will be hunting the bargains pages for several months before I find a good fit. My typical build is what an enthusiast is likely to be putting aside. My hope is 4 cores, 8 GB DDR3, 6Gb/s SATA. I'll build it with an old drive and then look for a good price on a 500GB HD. I will definitely wait on the video card, but an nVidia 560 series (256bit, GDDR5) on sale would make me jump. SSD still feels beyond my budget, but I might get lucky.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Usually every 2-3 years but it has been almost 5 years since my last upgrade.

Guest said:

It used to be every 6-9 months for small upgrade.

But I kinda broke so I stuck with my Athlon X3 system that already served me well in this 3 years.

Guess I have to do some major upgrade next time.

Mbloof said:

This all depends - is it a 'gaming' PC or used for other things? My 'desktop' system is 2001 vintage XP box that does everything I need it to - except play games - the gaming rig gets upgraded when new hardware is +50% faster than what I currently have.

Guest said:

I usually build a new computer every two years. I went all out May of last year: i7 3770k / gtx 690 / 16gb ram / 240gb ssd / 1tb hdd / 27" 2560x1440 120hz oc. I was doing some serious gaming then and I continued to do so for almost six months after building this computer. Lots of life changes and I have done little to no gaming since. Without gaming I could see myself maybe upgrading my screen if something much better comes out, otherwise... meh.

ps. those new captchas are pretty obnoxious. Also they don't work with flashblock in Firefox (the addon which prevents autoplaying flash). If you click to enable flash for the captcha it forwards you to the forum. I had to open up Chrome (woah didn't know techspot had so many ads), thankfully Windows 7 allows muting per application.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I just "upgraded" ATI HD 5870 to HD 6670, just because my new monitor (DELL U3014) works best with DisplayPort 1.2, which was not supported by HD 5870.

I haven't played games much lately, too old for this now. But after playing SC2 Demo on my new 2560x1600 monitor - it's a thing of beauty, I bought the game.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I don't usually upgrade. When I buy a new computer, I get one that will let me play or do anything for at least then next 5-7 years. I got my current computer about three years ago and though it might not be state of the art, there has been no software or game that has bogged it down.

TitoBXNY TitoBXNY said:

I upgrade every 3 years and give my older custom builds to my kids.

mrtraver said:

My pattern has been to build a system, then after a few years upgrade the graphics, then a couple of years after that build a new system.

My current rig was built in 2008 - Core 2 Duo, 4 GB DDR2 RAM, GTX260, with the case and 74GB Raptor hard drive from my first 2004 build. The only major upgrades have been to replace the GPU with a GTX480 early in 2012, and I added a 120GB Agility 4 SSD as a boot drive about 6 months ago. This system still plays everything out there that I want to play, so barring a component failure (I did just order a new DVD burner a couple of hours ago) it will probably be a while before a major overhaul.

I have the itch to build a new system and have looked into new CPU/mobo/RAM, but just can't justify the cost right now since this does what I want it to do.

Mekaonija said:

I upgrade much less now than I had 4 years ago, when I started working at 17. I bought as many parts as I could afford with my first few paychecks. I enjoyed building it very much and loved reading reviews on high end components on sites like techspot. I longed for the day when I would be able to afford them.

...And now that I can afford those parts and have built myself such a computer my cravings and interests in parts has substantially subsided. I've gained more interest in other media and don't really play games anymore.

The only upgrades I can see myself doing in the next year would be picking up some more hard drive space.

Guest said:

Desktop 4 yr old E8400 - getting dusty

Notebook 3 months old AMD A6 - cheap cos it's not the latest OS - it's Win7 ! V happy with that...

Netbook 2 years old - used to play music at home and for travel.

No tablet

Dumb-smart-phone - Nokia N8.

This is more than I need and I'll wait until Win9 before I consider a replacement for the netbook. I doubt I'll ever buy a desktop again and I don't like carrying a tablet w/o a keyboard so I won't get one of them either.

CrisisDog said:

Processor wise, I'm still running on two main systems with over clocked Core 2 Duo / Quads that are now about 5 years old. As for video cards, those get upgraded almost every year. Currently running GTX 670s in SLI on these unsupported motherboards thanks to the magic of HyperSLI. Getting 60 fps in Heaven 4.0, which is the same as some Core i7 systems I have had the privilege of playing with.

Guest said:

I have 3 gaming rigs. Every 7 years I rebuild all new ones... but will upgrade video cards often.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have a bad habit of fidgeting with my computer, doing little things here and there, but at least I do eventually get to a terminal point. My home server box went through... 4 maybe 5 revisions since mid 2010, and my lanbox has gone through 3 revisions since early 2011. It will go through one more revision, but it will purely be cosmetic and not upgrading hardware; after what I've done, I can't upgrade any further without sinking far greater money than it is worth to me.

Possibly sometime next year I'll do a complete new build since I've been using the lan box as my main computer since I built it and that travels more than I'm comfortable with considering the amount of data on it.

p51d007 said:

Heck, just about any new version of Photoshop, requires me to update.

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

Finally stopped after I got my 4.6ghz 2600k and gtx680. Honestly if I can do it all over again I'd just get an I5 and 660ti. But since I have it any way, might as well just keep it for as long as possible until software starts to bog it down which will probably be a long time.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

My budget is a little low at the moment so...

Guest said:

I think you'll all notice the trend here.... that is hardware has left software for dead and todays rigs will last along time without the need to upgrade. Perhaps that's why PC sales are taking a dive at the moment.

I have a 4 year old rig still doing well, a HTPC just as strong and a 6 year old laptop running LinuxMint for portable media etc.

Of course a new rig would be nice... :)

rvnwlfdroid said:

It use to be every 2-3 years like a lot of folks. The only thing I'm still upgrading would be my HDD's. Installed a SSD for the OS and been replacing the 500gb and 1tb drives with 3tb drives when the extra cash is available. I'm also looking at a USB 3.0 controller card.

Other then that I think the next build will be when something dies.

Carleton Wu Carleton Wu said:

Used to upgrade every year and a half. Now? Probably every 3 years. Just not enough change and no real killer apps for the new tech.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Upgraded to top of the line 3 years ago and haven't had to do much beyond expand HD space. Moores law seems to be in full effect of late.. used to be you could get 200-300 gig jumps and 40% more CPu power every 6-7 months. Now my 1080T /16gigRAM/8Tb hd space and 6970 2gig. are not having an issue with gaming or whatever else I toss at it. only upgrades I've made is to my internet speeds, from 6 to 15 Mbps.. and my cost went down when I did it, I like that kind of upgrade. Only upgrades I;ll be making in the next 6 months are for a larger USP and larger HD's to consolidate the number of HD's. I use atm.

Guest said:

I bought a mac pro g5 and mac pro intel bases on craigs list. No upgrade need in sight. Both machines screem. One was $100 the other $400 and they each have quad cores and 4 gigs of ram. Slapped in 2 3 tera hds and they will just last forever. The temps are at 30 not like the new ones that fry if you over clock. And I don't need to over clock. Running at 2.6 and 2.7 at quad cores I run on one 4 virtual machines at the same time. Got xp 7 vista and ubuntu at the same time while running os x in the foreground. Oh haven't even mention the dual 30 inch monitors that these run. I upgrade when the retna screens come out that will need a video card with 8000x2000 resolution or 8000x4000.

killeriii said:

I add or replace something at least once every month or two (more ram, hdd, ssd, monitor, camera, etc...), with a cpu-mem-mobo upgrade every 1.5 - 2 years.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I upgraded my case today. My previous case was not a known brand, although it was a step up from generic cases in that it was largely tool-less. Unfortunately it was also too cramped. So I bought a Carbide 200R yesterday and moved my PC to it today. It's not perfect but it's another step up, and my graphics card temperature dropped from 70c to 65c.

I tend to upgrade something every year. This year so far it's the case, last year I bought an SSD, before that I upgraded the Phenom II X3 710 to a Phenom II X6 1090T. Had this PC for almost 4 years and it will not be long before there's little left of its original hardware.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Heck, just about any new version of Photoshop, requires me to update.
Oddly, I find that later versions of Photoshop Elements, particularly the "Organizer" section is a resource hog. The issue is the speed it will, (or won't), generate tags and thumbnails. I'm using PSE-7, and have finally gotten hardware that doesn't require you to go watch a TV episode while a 100 image import registers.

Earlier versions will put up thumbs (5.0 and prior), almost as fast as you can push, "enter".

Core i3-3225, 1600Mhz RAM, C:/ = 600GB WD Velociraptor

Keep in mind that's a 32bit app, While the Photoshop CS and Lightroom are both 64 bit.

I think the drive is the trick, more than CPU and RAM.

I expect an SSD would net a further improvement.

And BTW, this just in: Adobe doesn't give a s*** how much you have to spend on hardware, or how bloated and inefficiently written their software may be.....

WaveZero said:

My computer is over 4 years old and I still haven't upgraded it yet. I was one of the first ones to jump into Intel's new i7 proccessors when it first came out. So I'm still using an i7 920 @4GHz, everything I throw at it runs fine for me. I have no need to upgrade for another few more years that's for sure. I haven't been much of a gamer in recent days, so I'm also still using my ATi Radeon HD 4870s. The only upgrades I made are more HDDs, more RAM and a SSD.

Blkfx1 Blkfx1 said:

I upgrade my graphics whenever a new generation is released. As for other components, I upgrade those when something dies or I want more performance. I'm thinking of making the jump from SB to Haswell but, not so sure yet.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

...[ ]...The only upgrades I made are more HDDs,...[ ].....
Now that porn is 1080p, you simply can't have too much storage....(said cranky somewhat sheepishly).

cldmstrsn cldmstrsn said:

I upgrade until the game I really want to play is playing at the smooth settings that I want. So it varies from time to time. I have a 3770k with 2 GTX 670's in SLI. I think that will last me at the least 2015. Then I might consider upgrading when Intel's Skylake and whatever NVIDIA series of graphics cards are out.

mls067 mls067 said:

I use to buy last gen hardware and not upgrade until at least 3 generations after that--money was tight. My last system, I purchased all top-o-the-line parts (2 years ago) and I don't plan on an upgrade until 2 or 3 more hardware generations. Even then, I will evaluate heavily what needs to be upgraded. There will have to be a pretty big jump in performance or features to upgrade it, not just a few percent increase.

MrAnderson said:

On average I upgrade at least once component every 2 yrs until maxed out or technology no longer can extend b/c of compatibilities... thus 5-6 yrs a total refresh. Rarely at the 4 yr mark some new tech might force a total refresh for example to use the latest GPU or virtualization tech.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I go out of my way to upgrade.

Every month or two I can't help but buy something. In the last couple months I went on a spree and bought an H100i, BitFenix Spectre Pro 200mm, CM Sickleflow 120mm, Corsair Graphite 600TM (mesh), and a wireless XBOX 360 controller for Windows.

On deck are a couple 5.25" to 3.5" hdd adapters, and an acrylic side panel for my 600TM. After that, most likely a 4770K and motherboard.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

What do you guys do with your old hardware?

build a streaming box and use it for network storage. That or give it to a relative who needs a new computer. I still have every video card I've ever owned. Don't have the heart to throw them out or give it away :/

Sell it on kijiji.

Boilerhog146 Boilerhog146 said:

Build all new about every 5/6 years .graphics every 2/3..current rig is Qx9770 onEvga 790i ultra,16 gig Dominator GT,dual GTx 480 With a GTx 280 doing PhysX,I'd say next year all new build.. and this rig will move overto backup rig..

Polaco Polaco said:

2 years ago I went from an AMD 4850 to an AMD 6850 then six months later I went form a Phenom 9550 to a phenom II 955 1.5 years ago. I have 6gb of high performance ddrII 800MHZ. I still can play all games at 1680x1050 and I am very happy with it. I a few month maybe I change my case and my psu but just maybe... A solid state drive wouldn't look bad either, but they are still too expensive in my country.

Long life to PCs! Long life to AMD!

stonarda said:

I dont!!! I just build a new one

Polaco Polaco said:

Desktop 4 yr old E8400 - getting dusty

Notebook 3 months old AMD A6 - cheap cos it's not the latest OS - it's Win7 ! V happy with that...

Netbook 2 years old - used to play music at home and for travel.

No tablet

Dumb-smart-phone - Nokia N8.

This is more than I need and I'll wait until Win9 before I consider a replacement for the netbook. I doubt I'll ever buy a desktop again and I don't like carrying a tablet w/o a keyboard so I won't get one of them either.

and how is that A6 notebook going on? AMD mobile chips are starting to look nice for me, maybe I will aquire an AMD based notebook by EOY.

Boilerhog146 Boilerhog146 said:

Yeah we need AMD to stay in thegame or else intel will charge 10000 dollars for a next gen cpu.lol.

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