Should I Upgrade My Old Mac or Buy a New One?

If you are currently facing this dilemma there’s no doubt that it can be a difficult one. You might love your old Mac but it’s no longer performing the way you want it to. You could try to upgrade it, but will it be worth it? Or is it better to just invest the money in buying a new one?

Without knowing any background about your situation, my quick answer is that you should buy a new one, but there are of course many things to consider when making a decision like this one and each individual has different needs and requirements.

Hi, my name is Eric and I have had to make this decision many times over the last few decades. A variety of circumstances have often dictated my decision but it was usually not an easy one. Now, I would like to share with you my opinion on how to decide what to do.

If you would like to find out more about what things to consider, keep reading and I will discuss some of them here.

Why Am I Here?

If you found this article and you are still reading it, then you are probably looking for some advice on whether or not you should upgrade your old Mac or buy a new one. Although my initial answer was to buy a new one, the answer will vary depending on your circumstances.

Most likely you are considering one of these options because your current system has started to slow down and you feel it no longer performs well with new applications and technology.

I am not here to tell you what to do, but only to show you what type of things you should look at in order to make the decision yourself. You can think of it as a little help in making a pros and cons list. The main goal is to find what is right and works for you.

Let’s get started!

Upgrade Old Mac vs. Buy New Mac: What to Consider

Here is a list of factors that I believe you should consider.

1. Cost

This is going to be the first thing that most Mac owners are going to consider, especially if you are a person on a budget and don’t have lots of money to throw around. If you do have the money to shell out, this may be an easy decision to just go with the new one.

If you are considering an upgrade, you will most likely be upgrading your memory, hard drive, and maybe a new battery (CPUs and motherboards are very hard if not impossible to upgrade especially in a Macbook). You might be able to get all of this done for around $400 – $600.

The upgrade will not be cheap, but a new system is going to cost you at least $1000 for a Macbook or $1300 for an iMac and probably more depending on the upgrades and features that you want.

Related Reading: Why are MacBooks so Expensive?

As you can see, the upgrade is going to be significantly cheaper, but this is just your upfront cost to upgrade now. We will talk some more later about longevity and your costs in the long run.

2. Comfort

This is another huge reason that many Mac users want to just do an upgrade. They love their old system and are very comfortable using it. The only problem is that the old system doesn’t perform like it did when they bought it years ago.

Upgrading might be a way to keep that nice comfortable computer that you love but it will never perform as well as a new one. Most users feel they will miss their old machine, but once you start using the new one you will quickly forget about that old slow one.

Whenever I get a new computer, I often keep the old one around because I feel I will miss it, but once I start using the new one, I quickly forget about the old one and rarely if ever go back to using it.

3. Performance

Because you will be very limited as to what you can upgrade on your old machine, the upgraded old machine will not perform as well as a new one. You will probably be upgrading things such as memory, hard drive, and battery, which can help but won’t compare to a new machine.

You will need to take a look at what kind of performance you really need. Do you need a super-fast machine? What do you use it for? If you just use it to do some light word processing and sending emails, you will probably be fine with an upgrade.

If you are a software developer and/or running processor-intensive applications, you probably won’t get the improvement you are looking for from a simple upgrade. You will need to think about your usage and what kind of performance you will need.

4. Laptop vs Desktop

Your decision may depend on whether you are looking to upgrade or purchase a laptop or a desktop computer. Macbooks are somewhat difficult to upgrade and can be costly because you usually need to have a professional do the upgrade. Also, you cannot upgrade the processor.

With a desktop, such as an iMac, it is a little easier to upgrade and some things can be done yourself which can help keep costs down. For some iMacs, the processor can be upgraded but that is still very difficult to do and may also require a professional which will add to the cost.

In my opinion, Macbooks are not really designed to be upgraded, but iMacs are much more flexible when it comes to adding new parts.

Read More: Are MacBooks Worth the Price?

5. Usage

I briefly touched on this in the Performance section. How you use your computer and what you use it for can be a big determining factor. If you are a light user who doesn’t run multiple intense applications at the same time, an upgrade may work for you.

If you are a heavy user, constantly running multiple applications, running newly designed apps, and always want to use the latest macOS, you may be better off with a new system that can handle the latest technology.

6. Longevity

Think about how long ago you purchased your old machine. At this point, you have probably gotten your money’s worth out of it. Can you extend its life? Most likely you can but probably only by a year or maybe two. Will the money you put into the upgrade be worth it?

Even if you upgrade the parts we have talked about, you can only upgrade it to be the best of that old outdated model which may have been designed 5 years ago and has long been surpassed by newer technology in more modern machines.

Besides, your other parts (especially in a laptop) such as screen, keyboard, touchpad, etc are also quite old and may begin to fail at any time. A catastrophic failure of a part that is not upgradable may end the life of the machine and your upgrades could be for nothing.

Also Read: How Long do MacBooks Last

7. Operating System

The inability to upgrade your processor and motherboard means that eventually, your system will no longer support new macOS updates and releases. At some point, you will be stuck with an old operating system which will in turn limit what applications you can run on your machine.

This can be a show-stopper for many since we normally use our computers with current applications and technology. Even if you are not concerned about your system’s speed, you still need to be able to use apps that are useful to you.

8. Latest Technology

This has been a common theme throughout this article and one that will definitely drive your decision. Upgrading can only get you partway there so even after your upgrade you will still be behind the latest and greatest technology used by a new Mac.

While cost will always be a major driving force, having the latest technology will always be the balancing factor to it. You will have to weigh the two and figure out what works best for your situation. 

If you can only afford an upgrade at the time, but you really need the latest technology, you may be better off saving that money to use towards a new Mac in the future and continue using your old equipment without upgrades until you have enough to purchase a new system.

The Decision

For many, this will be a tough decision, even with the information provided above, but for those who don’t have to worry about cost, this should be a fairly easy choice. Go with the new Mac! You may love your old one but nothing says you have to get rid of it.

Keep the old one around and chances are, once you start using the new one and get acclimated to it, you will rarely if ever use the old one again, especially after you get all your important data transferred over.

If money is a concern, it is understandable that you may be considering the less costly route of upgrading, but in my opinion, upgrading only saves you money at that point in time. In the long run, you may end up spending more and just delay having the new system for a couple of years.

In the end, the decision is yours. Take a close look at your situation, how you use your computer, what you can afford and most of all what you think will work best for you.

Take a look at Apple’s official website for information on the cost of new Mac systems. Or check out this article if you are interested in more information on upgrading.

Final Words

I hope that the information provided above can help to determine the best option for you. Take your time to weigh each factor carefully and I know that you will make a good choice.

Let us know how you feel about upgrading or purchasing a new system. As always we would love to hear from you!

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