As computers become more and more prevalent, many beginners find themselves wondering why they might need a computer in their home. Others are curious to know just how often they should buy a computer. It depends. Here are some of the most common uses for computers including estimated life times based on the particular function:
Games: Computer games are part of the few applications that can utilize nearly the full capacity of computers. If gaming is at the forefront of your computer usage, then a new computer may be needed at least every two years. Also, bargain deals and/or entry level computers won’t be good enough. When shopping for a gaming computer, make sure to ask for extra memory, a powerful processor, and a high-end video card.
Internet / E-mail: Browsing the Internet and staying in touch with friends and family is quite possibly the most popular use for computers. Such activity can be performed with minimal components installed in a computer. However, the Internet has evolved over the years and now includes much more in the way of multimedia. Computers older than three or four years may run substantially slower in today’s environment.
Word Processing: Typing documents, letters, papers, and/or flyers does not require much computer power. But such capabilities are more a limitation of the software involved rather than the computer itself. In other words, companies like Microsoft periodically release newer, more robust versions of their software that do require more computer power. Thus, within the context of this function, computers can last much longer unless more features are needed, which would only be available in the newer versions of software that require more computing power.
Multimedia: This includes photo editing, watching movies, making movies, burning CDs, listening to music, etc, etc. This category may not necessarily require as much computing power as that of computer games, though it still is quite demanding. Many of the functions included in this category require certain enhancements in both hardware and software that make it such that computers older than two or three years may not be adequate.
Other uses may exist for computers that don’t necessarily fall into these categories. A computer is a tool and in shopping for it, the question is always the same: What are you trying to accomplish?