You Won’t Believe How Long Your Computer Will Last

You Won’t Believe How Long Your Computer Will Last

With Microsoft’s support ending for Windows XP, many people are looking to move to one of the newer versions of Windows – either Windows 7 (my preferred version), or Windows 8. I have been recently looking at helping someone upgrade a Windows XP system to a newer version of Windows, and have run into a bit of a snag. The desktop is old, and isn’t compatible with Windows 8. Windows 8 requires the processor to have the NX (No-eXecute) bit technology, and the processor in the desktop doesn’t have this technology.

This got me to thinking how long a typical desktop will last if someone was to buy it new today. The thought is that computers go obsolete the moment you bring it home. That is a thought that hasn’t been relevant in probably 10 years. In fact, for many people a new desktop computer can probably last longer than any computing device they may buy.


How Long Will My Computer Last?

A Computer That Keeps Going and Going

The contract on my smartphone will be ending this year – finally after three years. I will, more than likely, be upgrading my phone to a newer model. I have had my phone since I signed the contract, and it has shown its age for some time now.

I cannot imagine owning a smartphone that is older than the one I have now. The phone I am using was released in 2011, but the smartphone technology since that time has just exploded since that time. The apps have gotten bigger and need more resources than ever before.

I mentioned my smartphone to put things into perspective with regards to the desktop I mentioned above. The desktop – still running Windows XP – is running a processor that was released in 2002. That computer’s processor is 12 years old.

I’m not about the age of the desktop, but it is safe to say that it is probably close to 12 years old, as well. Up until this time, the desktop has been used on a daily basis, without any issues.

Over the past 10 years, computer technology has reached a point that upgrading before 5 years isn’t necessary. For the average users – someone who surfs the Web, checks e-mail, or uses office products – a new computer can last them probably 10 years or more.

My current desktop computer – i7-920 2.66 GHz (3.2 GHz OC), 12 GB RAM, 2xHD5850 graphics cards – was built in January 2010. The computer is running Windows 7 (the original install), and still runs as well today as it did in 2010.

I probably use my computer more than the average person, as well. I play video games, edit photos and videos, as well as the standard web-surfing, email and create documents.

The graphics cards are starting to show their age, so if I want to play the latest games at the highest quality, I can just replace the graphics cards and not the entire computer. By doing this, I can probably get at least 5 more years out of the computer.

Going back to the 12-year-old desktop, while Windows 8 isn’t compatible with the system, Windows 7 should be able to run on it. How well it will run depends on several factors – the biggest probably be the amount of RAM available. I’m not sure how much RAM the chipset supports, but if it is close to 4 GB, Windows 7 should run fine, maybe a little slow.

If the owner does install Windows 7 on the machine, they would have an operating system that is supported until 2020. That desktop would potentially be about 18 years old by then. Of course, by then software could need more resources than the computer has, and finding compatible hardware (think PATA hard drives) could be an issue.

Knowing the owner of the desktop, and I do, they would hold on to that desktop until the last possible moment, and then look for ways to extend the life.

Computers built today contain more processing power than the average user will ever need. There was a time when computer would need to be upgraded every two years, and at times, that was a stretch. Today, a new computer can easily last more than 5 – 10 years without the owner needing to invest in an entirely new system.

12 Responses to “You Won’t Believe How Long Your Computer Will Last”

  1. roger gilmour says:

    the desktop i have right now came with XP. a few years later i upgraded to 7. some years later, i have 10. all with the same PC. it has lasted me 10+ years, and it still going strong.
    kudos to microsoft and hp!! oh, and envidia

  2. Jorga says:

    April 21, 2020. I have a HP Pavilion Elite m9040n Windows Vista Home Premium PC, which promised high performance for today and supreme expandability for tomorrow. Purchased 2006. Windows 7. The clock battery died last year. It was replaced. Computer is still going, still getting messages to dump it from the computer gods. I’m holding my breath, wondering how much longer that supreme expandability will hold out. My computer has two hard drives, but I only bought one with 640GB, and 3072 MB System memory. It has a NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS graphics card, and an 802.11 b/g Wireless LAN. I don’t pretend to know what all of this means, I copied it from the side of my computer. It cost a bunch of money. Which comes to my point: if you build computers you can make more money if you discontinue programs and rewrite them so they don’t fit what you’ve sold.

  3. Andrew says:

    I’m using Q6600 4GB of RAM I bought in 2007. I have replaced the graphic card since it went bust. I need only to replace the DDR2 RAM because it becomes faulty just last year underline that “just last year” moment. I bought R7 250 in 2017. It’s still strong until now 2020 playing Fallout: New Vegas, older games, ESports games, many RPG online games. I just to upgrade its RAM to 8 GB to make it smoother.

  4. Uddipta says:

    Interesting topic. I have a Windows 98 desktop since 12 years ever since I was a child and it’s working fine, but of course there’s a difficulty in the operating system, however the hardware lasting is just too great.

  5. Ashley says:

    Hi Paul
    Some great content people can really use here.
    I have just moved to mac, so a lot of those windows pains are gone! yay
    Of course it is a bit of a pain learning how everything works on a mac, but I have to admit, it just works!
    Love it
    anyway, windows XP. Yeah many businesses still using that. And even had to test my new site in IE8. Crazy world.
    ashley

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Those really aren’t Windows pains, as the NX bit is a processor technology first started with AMD and then Intel processors. Microsoft, in order to ensure Windows is as secure as possible, have made the decision to only support processors with this technology, and I am glad they do.

      Processors that are 12 years old or older are the only ones that don’t support the NX bit technology, so 99.999999% of users won’t have this issue.

      Recently, Macs have had their own problems, with regards to SSL/TLS.

    • david waters says:

      windows pains? i have used windows for the past 20 years. as long as you keep you system clean from spyware and such, windows has absolutely no troubles. dont mean to offend, but macs are just expensive toys.

      • Ricardo Bastos says:

        how dare u im using a 8 year old mac book air with 4gb of ram and 1.7 ghz and it still runs 60 to 68 fps in roblox
        meanwhile my 2014 pc cant even move its cursor without lagging

        • Paul Salmon says:

          That’s interesting. I am still using my 2010 desktop without any issues, and I do play games on it without any issues, as well as using both Photoshop and Lightroom at the same time. I also have a 2012 workstation that I use as my Plex server/ELK stack, and that runs fine.

          I’m not sure why your 2014 desktop would have mouse lag, but it could be something as simple as reinstalling the OS.

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