In this article we explore the lifespan of PC components and what you can do to extend the life of your PC. Visit: Upgrade Advisor for advice on PC upgrades and repairs.
There's no set timeframe we, or anyone else, can give for the lifespan of a particular PC component. However, most – motherboards, processors, hard drives, graphics cards, memory etc – should last a good few years. Pre-built systems typically come with a two or three year warranty and most components will come with a two year warranty.
They will, of course, be out of date after a while and you may want to replace them with newer and better technology long before they need to be retired. That's fine but if you want to maximise the lifespan of your PC then read our top five tips below.
5 ways to extend the life of your PC: Keep it clean
One of the best and simplest ways to keep your PC going for longer is to keep it clean – a task anyone can do without specialist knowledge. It's a lesser known fact that dirt and dust is a big killer of components. It might not seem like it, but it's true.
Air moves through your PC and brings with it dust particles which then builds up and can suffocate your components. A build up on fans makes them slower, less efficient and this combines with dirt elsewhere means things aren't kept cool enough. Hotter components mean more stress and a reduced lifespan.
You should clean your PC every 6-12 months and an ideal weapon to combat the dirt is a can of compressed air.
See also: How to clean a laptop fan.
5 ways to extend the life of your PC: Ventilation
As we've already mentioned the temperature of your PC is important in relation to its life expectancy. Keeping the inside of your PC clean, particularly your fans, is a great start but those fans won't work to the best of their ability unless your computer has good ventilation.
Make sure your PC has plenty of space around it for good air flow and avoid putting it inside a cupboard or near anything hot like a radiator.
5 ways to extend the life of your PC: Power surge protection
Your PC is made of circuits and components which are sensitive to electricity so any surge could over stress some parts or, at the worst, be good night for the entire machine. If you've spent lots of money on building your rig or buying one pre-made, it's worth splashing out a little more on a surge protector.
5 ways to extend the life of your PC: Look after your hard drive
Everything is stored on your hard drive(s) but they can become corrupt with file system errors and bad sectors due to things improper shutdowns and crashes. Damage files, system instability and blue screens, and boot failures are bad so take care of your hard drive to avoid any disappointment.
Always shutdown your computer properly and avoid unnecessary stress by switching it off when it's not being used. Any corruption can normally be found and a repaired by running the Check Disk tool which is built into Windows.
This is more for users of Windows 7 and earlier as Windows 8 has improvements to error handling.
5 ways to extend the life of your PC: Use anti-virus
Well done if you have anti-virus installed on your PC or laptop and if you haven't then you need to get your priorities right.
All of the previous tips are hardware related but don't forget that you need software protection, too. There are hordes of people out there happy to take advantage of your unprotected system. Viruses and malware can not only slow your machine down to a crawl but in some cases encrypt it until you pay a hefty ransom.
Any kind of intrusion is going to be bad so do yourself a favour and get some decent anti-virus software. There are plenty of free ones so there's really no excuse.
See also: Best antivirus for PC and laptop 2014.