When is a Computer Outdated? A Guide on Upgrading vs Replacement


In 2019, the world wasted 53.6 million tons of electronics. Of these, 13.1 million were from the Americas alone. As you can imagine, discarded computers make a big portion of all that e-waste.

With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to consider whether or not your current device is outdated before purchasing a new one. You don’t need a new computer if yours isn’t outdated yet.

But when does technology become outdated? How do you know if your old electronics are too old for use? We’ll give you the answers in this guide so be sure to read on!

When Is a Computer Outdated?

The length of time a computer can be considered out-of-date usually depends on the manufacturer. For example, Apple stops manufacturing parts for products that are discontinued seven years ago.

In other words, these products are labeled as obsolete (or vintage). Other computer manufacturers do something similar – this policy is typically called end-of-service (EOS). Essentially, companies like Apple stop making repairs for EOS products.

What Are the Signs of an Outdated Computer?

Most computer manufacturers, such as Apple, notify their customers when they’ve introduced new products.

You should be able to find this information on the official website for your manufacturer. If you’re not part of a manufacturer’s EOS list, here are some of the telltale signs that you have an EOS vulnerability.

Old Age

If you’ve had your computer for more than three years, chances are it’s time to upgrade to a newer one.

An outdated device is often too slow to get anything done and can even be unsafe when it comes to protecting information.

Inability to Update the OS

If the version of your operating system has not been updated for a long time, then your computer is almost certainly outdated. Sometimes you’ll get an error message when you try to install the latest version, but in many cases, your computer will simply freeze.

Microsoft and Apple release updates every month to address security issues and/or add new features. Microsoft releases major or feature updates twice a year; Apple usually releases them once in a calendar year if they’re large enough or come with important changes.

High CPU Usage In an Otherwise “Healthy” Computer

A healthy computer is one that is free of malware. Malicious programs may take up a lot of your resources, which can slow down your CPU.

If your CPU appears to be running at 100%, but you don’t have any programs open, it could be because you’re watching TV or playing games while you surf the web on another tab.

Your computer is not able to keep up with the increase in demand, so performance will suffer.

Upgrade or Replace Your Computer When You Need To

Now that you know when a computer is outdated, the next step is evaluating what age group and OS compatibility your device meets.

If it’s out of range for any of those two criteria, then it’s time to upgrade or replace your computer. You can also explore our other sections for more tech tips and lifestyle advice.


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