Study Shows Computer Owners Experience A Four-Year Itch

According to a recent study commissioned by, consumers frequently replace their personal computers after four and a half years of use. Although replacing a PC as often as three years may be common, 58% of survey respondents thought their computer should last much longer than three years. Despite wanting to use their PCs for longer, computer users often find themselves unhappy with their current machine. In fact, 47% of respondents said they disliked something about their computer. Slow speed was among the top complaints users had against their computers.

With this study, Crucial hopes to show users how a simple memory upgrade could help increase performance and give an older system new life. Roddy McLean, marketing director at says, “For example, a $92 USD, 2GB Crucial memory upgrade for the popular Dell Dimension 2400 desktop computer with stock 128MB of RAM, can increase performance by 70-90% for everyday tasks like rebooting, resuming, and starting programs.” Research Reveals Computer Owners Experience a “Four-Year Itch”

On average, US computer owners replace their machines every 4.5 years, citing slow speed as top dislike

Key Messages:

  • Most survey respondents (58%) believe their computers should last “much longer” than the typical three years
  • Nearly half (47%) of respondents dislike something about their computer, with “slow speed” topping the list of dislikes (21%)
  • Three quarters (78%) of the survey respondents believe they would benefit from upgrading their computer’s memory
  • More than twice as many respondents fear tinkering with the insides of their computer (35%) than handling a spider (13%)
  • Survey was commissioned by, a leading online computer memory upgrade destination

Boise, ID, 11 May, 2011 – A recent survey commissioned by, a leading online computer memory upgrade destination, revealed that computer owners reportedly replace their personal computer after an average of only 4.5 years of use. Even with the abundance of newer models, the survey revealed a strong reluctance to replace computers too often, with only two per cent of respondents saying they were willing to replace their computer “every two or so years”. For detailed survey statistics, related content, and sweepstakes details, visit

Despite strong loyalty, computer owners still struggle to find complete contentment with their current machine: nearly half (47%) dislike something about their computer, and approximately one in two (49%) are likely to have a disagreement with their computer for being “too slow to keep up.”

The survey, conducted by Consumer Analysis Group, polled more than 1,000 computer owners in the US, aged 16-70. It found that the most commonly-owned computer type in the US today is an “old desktop computer”, as identified by 29% of survey respondents.

Growing Interest in Memory Upgrades, But Fear Factor Remains

When confronted with a sluggish machine, most computer owners said they turn to simple self-help methods, such as running the anti-virus checker (59%), compressing files (56%), or rebooting their machine (54%). However, more than three quarters of those surveyed (78%) also believed they would benefit from a memory upgrade.

However, handling the insides of a computer, as with a “DIY” computer memory upgrade, filled more people with fear (35%) than sweeping up and discarding a spider (13%). A likely contributing factor is the widespread lack of knowledge about computer memory. Nearly half (45%) of people surveyed didn’t know how much internal memory (RAM) is installed in their computer.

“A lot of people regard their computers as more than mere machines, so it’s no surprise that the research unearthed strong emotions from computer owners, such as the disagreements they have with their systems due to slow speed,” said Roddy McLean, marketing director at “A computer is a big investment that comes with high expectations, and it is clear from the survey that most people aren’t treating them like disposable assets.”

“Many people may not realize that there are some easy and extremely cost-effective remedies to the four-year itch, or simply tolerating a slow machine,” continued McLean. “For example, a $92 USD, 2GB Crucial memory upgrade for the popular Dell Dimension 2400 desktop computer with stock 128MB of RAM, can increase performance by 70-90% for everyday tasks like rebooting, resuming, and starting programs.* And a memory upgrade is breathtakingly simple to install, even for complete novices.” is an online destination offering computer users an easy way to find the right memory upgrade for most desktop and laptop systems and step-by-step instructions on how to install it yourself. is part of Micron Technology, one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions.

*The Dell Dimension 2400 system tested included an Intel® Pentium® 4 2.53GHz processor on an Intel 845GV based board, CD ROM drive, 40GB IDE HDD. The motherboard was on BIOS revision 1.10 A05 and was running Microsoft Windows® XP operating system with the latest service pack per Windows update.

Via:  Crucial
Der Meister 3 years ago

in other news 78% of people dont know what ram actually does....

Drake_McNasty 3 years ago

So someone tried to tell my mother their iphone was better than the maingear I won. You know why? because their iphone has 32gigs and my computer only has 16gigs. That is the conversation they had, I died a little inside. The average consumer doesn't know ram vs storage.

I get the itch every time something new comes out, that doesn't mean I can afford any of it. I"m on a 5 year cycle with a few upgrades in between builds.

lipe123 3 years ago

99% of people buy the cheapest computer available with hardware thats 2 years old on date of purchase and then complain 6 months later that their computer is slow!

I wish big box stores would stop selling 7 or 8 different generic models thats pretty much all lame and outdated. All they need to do is sell 3-4 models "internet + schoolwork" , "gaming" , "3d design and mirrored drives for business"

Mike Coyne 3 years ago

I keep my current PC up to 5 years. My PC have no problems with hardwares. It still is fast and has plenty of memory (RAM). My PC has about 2 GB of RAM. I don't have a problem with that. In few years, I'll go up to next level PC (I'll build another one) and will go with 6 GB of RAM or more and high-performance Intel CPU. I will consider about that and try figure what to do.with this. I just not ready but will do that.. But too much of $$$$. I cant affored that price but just wait for the price to drop bit.

inspector 3 years ago

I just upgrade my current build yearly or through the year, but if i had the money i would definitely make a new build every year... :)

CDeeter 3 years ago

Outside of running FL Studio my 5yr old pc does fine 90% of the time.

Yes, I too have the desire to build a new computer that will do a better job with games, but am waiting till I have enough saved to buy everything at once.

omegadraco 3 years ago

I usually build new about every 4-5 years as well if you maintain them and possibly throw an upgrade at them here or their they will last especially when you start with great hardware.

HHGrrl 3 years ago

I can't even begin to count the number of times someone has said, "My computer needs more memory." What they really mean is that they need more storage. I try to explain the difference, but some people never seem to really get it.

As for me, I try to upgrade components as often as I'm able, but the cost factor usually prohibits upgrading very often.

LLeCompte 3 years ago

i recently just upgraded my computer fully. My 4 year old cyberpower computer's motherboard died, so my friend helped me order a asock motherboard that was backward compatible ( i had a agp video card and ddr 1 ram) I upgrade my video card and ram a year after, but slow built up my computer. I just recently bought a new mobo and a amd x6 processor, and bought a 6950 two weeks ago. It does cost a lot, but its worth it if you can get the parts. Most people's computer are slow too because they dont take care of them.

Blazer 3 years ago

I just finished upgrading my 4 year old core2duo machine to the i7 machine I am curently running. I tend to have the desire to upgrade my system as soom as the next big thing comes out, but unfortunatly I can't really impliment that desire because of financial restraints. (:

But My next upgrade will have to be a new graphics card or 2. (the hd4870s are starting to show thier age).

AKwyn 3 years ago

I've had the itch for a long time. Hell I've even had an old P4 computer for about 6 years and it was only recently that I was able to upgrade to a better computer.

Still, feels like the itch is never going to go away. It already feels like my system is behind the curve and a crave is building inside me, a crave to buy high-end computer parts.

gdhart 3 years ago

I tend to upgrade my PC every 3.5-4 years. I get a new faster and better machine and my kids get the hand me down.

I had to do it at 3.5 years this time because my motherboard died on the last one. Unfortunately for my kids, no hand me down this time.

Just received my new Maingear Shift two days ago.

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