Table of Contents
Why you need this article
As a system ages, your daily tasks may become increasingly difficult. New applications and OS updates may get harder to install or run and it can take longer to open existing programs. You may also find storage space limited. Upgrading a system can return snappy speed and storage space without breaking the bank but just throwing money at an older system isn't always a worthwhile investment. Deciding whether to upgrade the components or move to an entirely new system can be daunting, hopefully this article will help.
This article assumes enterprise/business level workloads. We do not cover gaming or general use in this article.
What is your measurement for deciding
There are a number of ways to measure a system's performance, but if you need your system every day for work and rely on it to get your job done, we think the most important measurement is how it affects your workflow. This is dynamic and almost arbitrary but you will know. You won't be having fun anymore.
Another important measurement is Benchmarking.
Puget Systems offers a number of 'Per Application Benchmarks'. Browse the link for a benchmark that applies directly to your use-case. If you don't see a benchmark specific to your environment move onto the generic benchmarks. Each benchmark page details exactly how to operate it along with detailed description of what the scores mean. One way to see if new hardware would benefit your workflow would be running our benchmark applications to compare your received score with what new hardware would produce.
Once you have run the benchmark, you can upload and compare your results with similar systems and even browse current generation hardware results! There are a few search criteria but I recommend picking a piece of your hardware and typing it's description into the 'System Specs' section then click Search
Compare your results with systems of a similar build. If your scores are dramatically lower, it could be time for an upgrade.
If your job tasks are slowed or interrupted but benchmarks seem solid, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Sometimes that just means a driver or software needs to be adjusted. Reach out to Puget Systems Support if you need help tracking it down.
For the purposes of this article we will assume your software/OS is all operating at peak efficiency
Whether it be editing videos or pictures, processing items for ML algorithms, compounding nutrients for research data or crunching numbers, your Workflow is each step you take, day in and out, in order to get your job done. When you first get a new system your workflow feels snappy and quick, your data compiles in a quarter the time it took on your old system and everything is VERY exciting. If you don't still feel that way, it's time to look at why.
Not all components age at the same rate so while a CPU might be functioning exceedingly well, the GPU could be slowing things down. The RAM might be providing quick and snappy application launching but then loading images/video into a project could be slowed dramatically by an aged internal SSD/HDD. These components change rapidly within the industry so if your system is more than a year old it's almost guaranteed there is a component out there that is faster.
So, if you feel like your workflow is slowed or interrupted but your system is less than 3 years old, let's dig into the why.
Which component is the cause
Once you've decided that your workflow is impacted by your systems hardware you need to identify which component is currently slowing things down.
Most of you will know which component is heavily taxed during your workflow but if you're unsure then a simple way to tell is to open the Task Manager and watch the performance tab while you go through some of your workflow. Whichever component is hitting ~100% usage is the one that is most heavily relied on for your daily tasks.
Some other things to consider
A system's core components are CPU and Motherboard(MB). These parts rely on each other in order to be upgraded so with our builds if you want to upgrade one you generally need to upgrade the other. We frequently provide the best possible CPU that works with your MB so installing a new/faster CPU is a pretty rare occurrence.
Upgrading a component like RAM, GPU, SSD/HDD, or Peripherals is far simpler.
With this in mind, you need to make sure you aren't causing a bottleneck. Just for example: If you upgrade a particular component to the latest and greatest but the rest of the machine is 10 years old, it's very likely you won't be able to fully utilize the new component. Take this into consideration when choosing whether or not to upgrade. How many other components will need to be upgraded to fully take advantage of today's technology. Generally speaking, RAM, storage, and GPU are the most frequently seen upgrades that don't cause bottlenecks.
Workloads wear and tear
Different workloads wear components in different ways. Some components are barely touched while others are worn nearly to the point of failure. Upgrading those components makes a lot of sense over a complete system replacement. If your workflow involves high utilization of a particular component then it may have more wear than other components and would be a perfect candidate for an upgrade.
A heavy CPU workload will look like this:
Another way to identify an extremely heavy workload:
Have you ever performed the install before? Have you researched just exactly what it will take to complete and do you have the necessary tools? It's important to know ahead of time what the upgrade will entail. What new cables are needed to power your new technology or even simpler, does it fit?
Our builds are very carefully assembled by our Production and Install team. The Technology Consultant and Product Qualification departments put a lot of thought, testing, and time into deciding which components are best for which workflow so changing even one component without consulting Puget Systems could actually decrease your performance, or at the very least, wouldn't provide the performance boost expected.
Puget Systems offers a litany of install guides in the event you ARE ready but aren't fully familiar with the process. All Puget Systems computers also come with lifetime technical support meaning we are available to guide you through the process and make sure you have everything you need beforehand so don't hesitate to reach out.
Additionally, Puget Systems computers include lifetime labor so if you ever want to send a system in for an upgrade, you won't be paying for the work we do and instead just the components and usually shipping.
Most of our guides include a detailed step by step of the entire process, some even include a video like below:
Upgrading vs New PC build
So the big question. Should I upgrade, build a new system, or scrap the whole idea.
You should upgrade if you can answer YES to more than one of these:
Is your workflow significantly impacted (in your opinion even)?
Were your benchmark results less than desirable?
Have you been putting excessive wear on a particular component?
Is there a new product available?
And most importantly, is your system less than 3 years old.
If you are planning to perform an upgrade, one last thing to consider is how much of the system you are upgrading. I like to use the following weighted scale. If you are upgrading more than 60% of a system, the cost to benefit ratio is too high. It would be more logical to purchase a new system and re-purpose the old.
If you answered no to the last question but YES to the others, it's time to consider building a new system as an upgrade is often not worth the investment. Reach out to your Technology Consultant for a detailed recommendation based on your hardware and currently available technologies.
Need help with your Puget Systems PC?
If something is wrong with your Puget Systems PC. We are readily accessible, and our support team comes from a wide range of technological backgrounds to better assist you!
Looking for more support guides?
If you are looking for a solution to a problem you are having with your PC, we also have a number of other support guides that may be able to assist you with other issues.