The Average Lifespan of Your Computer and When to Upgrade

Computers are a part of our everyday lives. We use them for work, school, and entertainment. Computers are so common nowadays that if you don’t have a computer at home, you’re somewhat of an anomaly.

But what is the average lifespan of your computer? The simple answer is that it depends.

It depends on what type of computer you have, the quality of the parts that make up your computer, and how well you take care of it.  However, in general terms, the average lifespan of a desktop computer is around five years, four minimum if you really abuse it.

A laptop on the other hand is around three years because they tend to get more banged up physically because they’re mobile.

However, with proper care and regular maintenance, your computer can last much longer.

Let’s expand more on this topic and explain what could make the difference in how long your computer can last.

Different Computers Have Different Lifespans

Computers are like any other technological device in that they have a limited lifespan. Depending on the type of computer you have, that lifespan can vary greatly. Desktop computers have an average lifespan of five to eight years.

As I mentioned, brands can make a difference in the reliability and longevity of your computer.  I always like to compare computers to cars, as that’s an area most people can relate to.  Just like cars, they all start out great when you first buy them.  However, after a certain amount of years of driving and the mileage starts to climb, performance starts to suffer.

But of course, that does depends on how well you maintain the car.  The same is true for your computer.  The better you maintain your computer, the better performance you will get out of it and the longer that it’ll last.

Here are my top five computers I believe would provide you with at least five years of ownership and maintain a solid performance throughout.

  1. Dell Optiplex 5000
    Dell Optiplex 5000 - Average Lifespan of Your Computer

    • Intel Core i7 12th Gen
    • 16 GB RAM DDR 4SDRAM
    • 512 GB M.2 PCIe SSD Hard drive
    • This is a great system for both the home and the office, making a name for itself as a reliable desktop computer.
  2. Lenovo ThinkStation P340
    Lenovo Thinkstation P340 - Average Lifespan of Your Computer

    • Intel Core i9 12th Gen
    • 32 GB RAM
    • 512 GB Hard Drive
    • DVD Writer
    • Windows 10 Pro
    • Lenovo is known to create solid working workstations.  This model is a great entry-level workstation that’ll give at least 5 reliable years.
  3. Hp Z2 G9
    Hp Z2 G9 - Average Lifespan of Your Computer

    • Intel Core i9 12th Gen
    • 32 GB DDR5 SDRAM
    • 1 TB SSD Hard Drive
    • Windows 11 Pro
    • Hp has struggled in years past with making reliable PC computers.  However, they have stepped their game up in recent years and have really invested in building their workstations to last longer than they have in the past.  The review of this particular model has been really good.
  4. Asus Performance Desktop
    asus performance desktop - Average lifespan of your computer

    • Intel 12th Gen Core i7
    • 16 GB RAM
    • 1 TB SSD Hard Drive
    • Windows 11 Home
    • As a brand, Asus was always known for its quality motherboards.  A newcomer to the workstation platform, their workstations are pretty durable and relatively affordable in comparison to the other know brand in the space.
  5. Apple iMac
    Apple iMac 2021 - Average Lifespan of Your Computer

    • Apple M1 chip, 8 Core CPU
    • 24-inch screen
    • 8 GB RAM
    • 256 GB Hard Drive
    • I’m mainly a PC guy, which is why I left this particular computer for last.  However, there are many great reviews about the durability of Apple computers.  The iMac is one that has been talked about a lot and the reviews have been good in terms of them lasting a long time.

Average Lifespan of a Laptop

These days although laptop computers are perhaps the most popular type of computer, they are also one of the shortest-lived, with an average lifespan of just three to five years.

This is due to several factors.

The fact is that laptops are often used on the go and are thus subjected to more wear and tear than desktop computers.  They take more of a beating essentially.  Additionally, laptop components are smaller and more delicate, making them more susceptible to damage.

However, many people opt for a laptop because of its convenience.

With a laptop, you can take your work or personal business mobile.  All you need is a Wi-Fi connection wherever you are, and you’re up and running on the internet.  The battery life of laptops has significantly improved over the years as well, making them even more appealing than their desktop counterparts.

I’ve seen battery life on some laptops today lasting up to 9 hours!  Wow…

Sometimes, a tablet or smartphone just isn’t enough to get the job done for mobile work.  Some people still like the mobile functionality of laptops over tablets.  Myself included.

Just keep in mind most laptops aren’t going to last as long as desktop computers.  There are a few exceptions of course.

Extending a Computer’s Lifespan

There are a few things that you can do to extend the lifespan of your computer.  Some things will require a bit more tech savviness while other things are basic, that the average person can pull off.  I’ll provide you with five simple things that you can do to extend the life of your computer.

  1. Cleaning your computer: Particularly, you want to pay attention to dust buildup over time.  Dust can build up and cause problems with the fan and other components.  Using a can of compressed air to blow out the dust at least once a year, can go a long way in keeping the internal components fresh.
  2. Invest in a good surge protector: Investing in a quality surge protector, will help protect your computer from power surges that can damage components.
  3. Delete unwanted files:  On Windows-based computers, the average user likes to store a ton of stuff on their desktop, where they can see everything in their Documents folder.  Go through those and delete whatever you don’t need anymore.
  4.  Remove unwanted applications and programs:  This is done in the Control Panel of Windows.
  5.  Use CCleaner to optimize your computer.  This is a great third-party tool that I use for myself and my clients to get their computers cleaned up and optimized.  Just uninstall it when you’re done. Below is a short video I recorded on how to use CCleaner.

When to Upgrade Your Computer

At the end of the day, the final decision to upgrade and get a newer computer rests with you.  People have a variety of different reasons for their reluctance in upgrading their computer.   Anything from budget to software compatibility on a newer system can impact your decision to upgrade.

With that said, I’ll give you some signs to look out for, indicating that it’s time for an upgrade:

Takes forever to start up

This is one of the first telltale signs that it’s time to upgrade your computer.  If your computer takes a very long time to boot up or reboot, generally speaking, that means the hardware has taken a beating and is on its last leg.

Crashes a Lot

This is one of the more annoying signs that it’s time to upgrade your computer.  You could be doing the simplest of tasks on your computer, and out of now where, it decides to freeze up on you.  What’s bad about this issue, is that you have to power it down manually, which means you might have lost what you were working on. 

That alone is enough of a motivation to invest in a new system.

Unable to Run the Latest Game or Software

Your hardware may not be powerful enough, or simply too old to run that game you want to play or the latest version of a particular software that you use often.  Sure, you can try and upgrade parts or components, but the cost of those components can add up fast!

Battery life Keeps Getting Shorter

Obviously, this one is for laptops.  But if you notice that the battery life of your laptop is getting shorter, and it seems to need a charge more frequently than before, this is a good sign that it’s time to upgrade to a newer laptop.

Sure you can get a new battery, but it’s only a matter of time before that new battery starts losing its charge soon after.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, then it might be time to start shopping for a new computer.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, the average lifespan of your computer depends on a few factors.  

If you have a desktop computer, then you can expect the average lifespan to be around 5 to 8 years depending on the brand, and the quality of components that the computer is made up of.

As for laptops, you can expect the average lifespan to be between 3 to 5 years.  The reason for that is because laptops tend to be more abused because they’re mobile, and their components are smaller and more fragile.

However, in both cases, what does play a major role is the maintenance of your computer.  If you carry out proper maintenance and some minor troubleshooting over time, you can expect your computer to have a much longer lifespan.




Advanced-PCs, computer, computer hardware, computer software, computer upgrade, Dell, Desktop, Hp, Internet, Laptop, PC Computer

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