What Is Future-Proofing Your PC, and Should You Do It?

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When you’re buying a new laptop or PC, sometimes you have the thought “how long will this purchase last?” To combat this, technology planners use the idea of “future-proofing” to make their investments travel further. However, what does this mean, and is it something you should be doing when buying/building a PC?

Let’s explore this term and whether or not it’s worth considering for your next big purchase.

What Is Future-Proofing Your PC?

Let’s say you want a new PC in order to play a brand new game that came out. You check the recommended specifications and purchase a PC with that exact hardware. When the PC arrives, it can play the game totally fine. All seems good, right?

Futureproofing Gaming

The problems arise when, a year down the line, the PC’s hardware begins to show its age. New games don’t run as well as they might because the hardware demands for games increased between the time you purchased your PC and the current day.

The proposed way to stop this problem is to “future-proof.” This involves purchasing a PC that’s more powerful than what you want to use it for. For example, the game you want to play needs a minimum of Intel Core i3 CPU and 4GB RAM. You may want to buy a new PC that has the latest Intel Core i7 and 16GB RAM, which will allow you to play the games you want and still last for a number of years. Of course, this depends on what you use your PC for, and whether you have needs for the raw power in the PC.

For desktop, the rule of thumb is to get the best CPU and motherboard you can afford so it can last years. These two components are not easily upgradeable and you often have to change the whole PC once they get obsolete. Other parts like RAM and a graphic card are interchangeable and can be easily upgraded over time.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Future-Proofing Your PC

This all sounds well and good, but future-proofing does have its advantages and disadvantages. It’s worth considering them all before you spend a lot on a brand new PC.

Advantages

Everyone hates a slow PC. That’s why you should get a PC a grade higher than what you need, even if you are just an average user who uses your PC only for Web surfing and editing documents. A “future-proofed” PC ensures it can run most of the tasks smoothly without hiccups for a couple of years.

It’s especially a good idea if you enjoy playing PC games. As graphics technologies advance, so, too, does the minimum requirements to play them. By buying a PC one (or two) levels above what you need right now, you can ensure that future releases are still playable on your new PC.

Disadvantages

While future-proofing is fine for general use, things begin to look a bit iffy for consumers who want the bleeding edge of technology. This is because what the “bleeding edge” is can completely change in the space of a year or two.

Futureproofing Gpus

For example, let’s say an enthusiast bought a graphics card hoping that it would last years. In one to two years time, new graphics cards with more cores, compatibility with a new DirectX version, or physics processors will be released. Then, games will be released that take advantage of this new technology.

While the enthusiast’s card can still play modern-day games, it’s not at the absolute best that the game can be. As a result, an enthusiast will want to avoid future-proofing and instead upgrade their PC as new technologies are released.

Another thing about “future-proofing” is the higher cost involved in buying the PC. You are now paying a higher price for PC parts with specs that are much higher than what you need. Do you have a budget for that? Does the higher price translate to more work done? You have to do your own math to see if this is worth it.

Is Future-Proofing for You?

If you are getting a new PC today, do you want it to last for one year, three years, or five years? Instead of pondering if you need to future-proof your PC, think of how long you want it to last. If you want to play not only the games of today but the ones released in a few years’ time, future-proofing can ensure that. You may need to knock the graphical settings down a bit in future games, but it should still be playable.

However, if you’re someone who wants the absolute best out of their games, future-proofing isn’t such a hot idea. You may be investing in a technology that will become outdated in a year or two, so it’s best to buy as much as you need to max out your graphical settings and gradually upgrade as new tech is released.

Do you think future-proofing is for you? Let us know below.

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Simon Batt Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

2 comments

  1. Well personally I no longer use bleeding edge technology because I simply no longer do graphics intensive work. Note, I said work, not games. Never have been a games person. That’s just me. So, my current PC is my eldest son’s cast off because he suddenly wanted to play some game, can’t recall and don’t really care, that needed high, high specs. So great for me, told me I could have his old one and it goes fine. Only issue is one of the feet is missing, and its a midi tower. But a piece of wood solved that issue, and it was a back foot so doesn’t show.

    But some months ago it fell over… wouldn’t load win 10, heck wouldn’t even boot to pre-windows stage. Spoke to a friend and we went through a process of elimination. Turned out that the graphics card for some reason was stopping it from booting… so now runs without the card and uses the inbuilt graphics processor on the mother board. And to be sure, it is a little slower but not enough for me to shell out however much for a new graphics card or a new motherboard.

    Most of my slowness issues now revolve around the huge number of people on the internet during Covid 19 lockdown. Noticeable even at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning.

  2. I usually “future proof” by buying a used high-end workstation or server that’s a couple of generations old. Right now I am using a refurbished HPz 440 workstation with a 6-core Xeon E5-1650 V3 processor and 32 GB RAM that cost a little over $600. I swapped in a new 6GB Geforce GTX 1660 video card for $200 for relatively speedy graphics. Now if I could just find an inexpensive 4k monitor to replace my 1920×1080 screen.

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