Should I buy a new computer or upgrade

The next version of PortfolioCenter – expected Fall 2012 – will require Windows Vista, 7, or Server 2008You could purchase a new computer to run PortfolioCenter, but what if you already have a recent computer running Vista or Windows 7?

Good news!  Upgrading may be a better option than purchasing a new computer. Why?

  • It’s typically less expensive to upgrade than purchase new.
  • Waiting for the next wave of technology allows you to take advantage of improved price/performance.
  • You won’t need to learn a new version of Windows or Microsoft Office.
  • The cost of a disk performance upgrade decreases with time.

For example, let’s say your three-year-old computer runs Vista well but slows when you have PortfolioCenter, the Internet, and email open at the same time, and the hard drive needs to be replaced.  Depending on your computer, additional memory might cost $75.00.  A new SATA drive is about $100.  This work will typically require 1-1/2 hours of technician’s labor.  (Shop around if your technician’s quote is much higher.)  Ballpark parts and labor to keep this computer running another four years: $300.

When to upgrade:

  • Ask: “If this computer were running now as well as the day it was purchased, would it be powerful enough?”  If so, upgrade.  Not sure? Ask your computer technician to analyze your computer’s performance while you run PortfolioCenter and the other tools you use most often.
  • How long since you replaced moving parts?  You should replace hard drives every four years or sooner, and replace fans when they start making noise.  (Fan failure may quickly lead to total system failure.)
  • Can you increase memory to a sensible maximum?  Memory often costs less than $100 and takes moments to install.  The computer won’t run faster but you will be able to have more windows open before the computer becomes sluggish.


The next time you buy a computer, purchase the retail version Microsoft Office separately, rather than buying it pre-installed.  The retail version can be moved to a new computer later which will save you about $200 on your next computer.

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