I often get asked the question, “Should I just buy a new computer?”.  My answer usually depends on a few factors:

What is wrong with the current computer?
Is it just slow, does it have a virus problem, is there a hardware issue?  Many problems can be fixed relatively easily.  If all else fails, can you format your computer and start over new?  If your computer issues are software related, then it is advisable to repair your current computer versus purchasing new.

What is the cost to repair?
One of the biggest factors in deciding to purchase new versus repair is the cost to repair.  Most computer software problems can be repaired by a good technician for around $100-200.  My advice is to repair the computer.  Hardware issues are trickier.  If you have something like a bad stick of RAM or the power supply has gone out, it will cost you around $50 to replace these items.  In these cases just repair your current computer.  But, if you are looking at motherboard issues, or multiple hardware failures (usually due to a power shortage), the cost will quickly add up.  If you will have to spend $300 or more to replace hardware on your computer (not to mention labor costs), you might want to look into a new computer.  Good new desktops can be purchased for $500-600.

How old is your computer?
One question I am always asked is how often you should replace a computer.  On average I’d say people replace computers every 4-5 years.  This depends on your useage and needs though.  If you need up-to-date technology and a fast computer is a must-have, I’d replace every 3 years.  If you just use a computer for basic word processing and email checking, you can get by much longer.  You can add life to your computer by upgrading the memory after a couple of years and hiring a technician to do a general clean-up every so often.  In my experience, once a computer has hit the 4-5 year old mark, it has become a “dinosaur” and there are only minimal improvements that can be made to speed it up.