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QOTD: What Determines Your Upgrade Cycle?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 171 comments

Keeping your PC up to date is expensive, which is why most of us choose to build a new PC at a specific point in time. Throughout its lifetime, we may perform CPU, GPU and RAM upgrades, but at a certain point we decide that it's time to start completely fresh with a brand new box.

At which point do you decide that it's time for an upgrade, either a full overhaul or just a simple drop in/swap part?

In other words, for our QOTD, we'd like to know from you exactly what determines your upgrade cycle?

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 39 Hide
    dravis12 , July 8, 2009 12:15 AM
    My current/future financial situation.
  • 13 Hide
    alantlchan , July 8, 2009 12:30 AM
    After a significant price drop on the parts I want to upgrade.
  • 11 Hide
    mcnuggetofdeath , July 8, 2009 12:18 AM
    Whether I really and truly want to play a game well. At the moment, nothing intrigues me and I can play 90% of what I play at or close to max settings. Since there havent been any major releases recently that i wanted, Its been awhile. Also not having money puts a damper on that sort of thing. Currently waiting for DX11 cards.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    the_one111 , July 8, 2009 12:14 AM
    If I can play games at "medium" settings and have no lag than I am good. When my system is unable to play games at medium settings it is time for a upgrade.
  • 39 Hide
    dravis12 , July 8, 2009 12:15 AM
    My current/future financial situation.
  • 5 Hide
    Irrenhaus , July 8, 2009 12:16 AM
    Other than been able to play games at a normal or decent resolution....Having The Money To Upgrade....:')
  • 11 Hide
    mcnuggetofdeath , July 8, 2009 12:18 AM
    Whether I really and truly want to play a game well. At the moment, nothing intrigues me and I can play 90% of what I play at or close to max settings. Since there havent been any major releases recently that i wanted, Its been awhile. Also not having money puts a damper on that sort of thing. Currently waiting for DX11 cards.
  • -1 Hide
    MartenKL , July 8, 2009 12:19 AM
    New Windows OS and old hardware >3 years old, i.e. for me this october (earliest). Have pentium 4 3.2 GHz and Radeon 800 series. Getting i7 and a DX11 graphics card below 200$, 12GB Ram (at least). No new drives or monitors.
  • 1 Hide
    GuyAmI , July 8, 2009 12:21 AM
    2 -> 3 year cycle
  • -1 Hide
    dzeric , July 8, 2009 12:23 AM
    Money, but in terms of when I "need" to upgrade: Full system every 4 years or so, or an upgrade every other year if I don't need a complete system overhaul to do the upgrade.
  • -1 Hide
    mcbowler , July 8, 2009 12:23 AM
    If there is a great game that can be made better with better gear.. then I will upgrade. I think the next revolution for PC gaming will occur 2010 or 2011.
  • -1 Hide
    helios2052 , July 8, 2009 12:23 AM
    I usually build a system and its total life is usually about two years. After the first year, i will usually do a GPU and harddrive upgrade. A year later I usually build a new system and repeat the cycle.

    I only do the GPU upgrade if a new architecture has been released, or if I am adding a second card.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , July 8, 2009 12:27 AM
    In the past, it was compatibility with new functionality and an element of speed.
    But for the 1st time in a long time, I am truly satisfied with my desktop computing experience. Quad core, 2+ Ghz, 8GB of RAM (4.5 of which is rarely used) Raptor Raid 0 array, connectivity, the ability to use any application I throw at it and get it to run in a timely fashion, from encoding videos to running web-apps... It can all be done and done with little to no lag. With the new OSs I get more functionality out of my TV tuner and have turned my system into a multimedia station. Plenty of screen real estate (2x22" LCD's). I am golden. Thousands of gigabytes of information available... My biggest upgrades involve increasing my storage space (and redundancy).

    Now all that holds me back is my mobile computing experience. Even with the upgrade to SSD, and it was a great kick in the pants to my tablet, I still don't use it as a proper extension of myself as far as scheduling and communication. It is just too bulky, and the processor, weight, and short battery life hold it back.

    iPhone is getting close to what I am looking for, and my (extremely) preliminary experience with the G1 is promising, but the data plans hold the whole thing back, and as with any 1st generation device, I question its longevity...

    So in short, when they find a way to make the snappiness of my desktop right now fit into a tablet that weighs less than 2 lbs, with a battery life that exceeds 10 hours for a reasonable price, and when they come out with a phone that has the features I want with a plan I want, my upgrade cycle will effectively be limited to when I get popped capacitors.
  • 13 Hide
    alantlchan , July 8, 2009 12:30 AM
    After a significant price drop on the parts I want to upgrade.
  • 4 Hide
    Raidur , July 8, 2009 12:34 AM
    I have a tendency to buy my GPU a little early instead of waiting for price drops :) . Other than that I'm 'usually' patient. Complete overhaul only when I need a new CPU socket.
  • -1 Hide
    Sushi Warrior , July 8, 2009 12:35 AM
    1 year cycle or so. I upgrade whenever I have the money, find good enough deals, or can't play games I want to.
  • 1 Hide
    carpwrist , July 8, 2009 12:36 AM
    alantlchanAfter a significant price drop on the parts I want to upgrade.

    QFT
  • 7 Hide
    ph3412b07 , July 8, 2009 12:38 AM
    When $150 can get me a CPU that performs 2x faster. (by then, mobo and ram of a new platform has gone down as well.) My upgrade history has been Athlon 1.0 Ghz, Pentium 4 2.8 Ghz, Core 2 Duo 3.0 Ghz.
  • 4 Hide
    tayb , July 8, 2009 12:38 AM
    When something breaks or I can no longer play a game at decent settings at a respectable frame rate. Usually every two or three years I have a real big upgrade and every two "cycles" I'll change cases.
  • -1 Hide
    Twoboxer , July 8, 2009 12:45 AM
    When something significant breaks or my PC cannot do well something (eg, a game) that I want it to do well.

    That approach is bad enough lol, and anything more is certainly a waste of time and money.
  • 2 Hide
    cadder , July 8, 2009 12:48 AM
    In the past I have upgraded when I found new hardware that I really wanted. More recently my hardware has been fast enough so I didn't feel any reason to upgrade. I just replaced my 7 year old home desktop, because it got too slow for me. I had upgraded its hard drives and OS about 3 years ago. Earlier this spring I built an entirely new desktop and gave away the old one.

    At work I got a new CAD workstation 8 years ago. We replaced it after 4 years with a new workstation, but the old one was performing fine. After 3 years the replacement was very slow, so I replaced it recently. Unfortunately software demands increase as fast as hardware speed and force upgrades. Eight years ago my AMD single core machine running Win98SE and AutoCAD 2000 was as productive as my current 3.8GHz core2 machine with WinXP and AutoCAD 2009. The new computer is approx. 8 times as fast as the original one, the new software is 8 times as slow as the old software. No net gain.

    Based on lost productivity at work, I think I should replace my workstation at less than 3 years of age, but my home computer should last 4 years or more.

    Lastly, I have a 5 year old laptop that I use for travel. It still works fine, but I needed to run some of our CAD apps so I bought a new laptop recently with P9500 processor. Right now I alternate between the 2 laptops but eventually will phase out the old one.
  • -1 Hide
    Ogdin , July 8, 2009 1:02 AM
    The fps of the games i'm currently playing determines my upgrades.I used to get a new video card every year,but since the 880gtx i've been getting 2 years out of them lately.
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