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PC Tip of the Month

Wait to Upgrade (Your Hardware)

April 2021 – by Per Christensson

In 2012, I published a monthly tip about waiting to upgrade your software. That advice still holds true today. But you may also want to consider waiting to upgrade your hardware.

Computers have some of the most predictable lifecycles of electronic devices. For example, most computer manufacturers release updated models on an annual basis, plus or minus a few weeks. Even with the pandemic affecting supply chains throughout 2020, these timelines were only mildly affected. Therefore, if you are ready to buy a new laptop or desktop computer, a wise first step is to research when the currently-available models were released.

If the current models are less than six months old, there is a low probability newer models will replace them in the near future. However, if the current models have been available for close to a year, chances are an upgraded model is right around the corner. If you wait a few weeks, you may be able to buy the new model at the same price as the old one or get the current model at a discounted price.

New Laptop Rocket Speed

That being said, waiting is not always the best choice. For example, if you need a new laptop for work or school, it's not worth delaying your purchase until the latest models arrive. Unless a company pre-announces the new models' release date, you won't know when they will be available, and you may have to wait a long time.

Unless you're a power user, you may not even notice a difference between two generations of computer models. If a computer works well for you, there is no reason to fret over a new model with a few updated tech specs. The same holds true for smartphones and other electronic devices.

The best buying strategy is to start your search a few months before you need to upgrade your machine. You can research what models are available and estimate when the new ones will be released. You'll be able to make an informed decision about whether you should buy a currently available model or wait for a new one.

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