You’ve just bought a new PC? Congratulations! Of course, after the financial outlay and all the time spent making sure you’re getting the right one, you’ll want to know how long you can reasonably use your new purchase.

Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast answer to the question of PC lifespan, especially considering there are countless different makes and models available, all being used for different purposes and with wildly varying requirements.

That said, you should expect your PC to last in good working order for three years as a bare minimum, with the possibility of it getting to ten years of age or even older – depending on a few variables.

Of the many factors that can impact a PC’s lifespan, usage is by far the biggest. A PC that’s used day-in, day-out, for immensely data-intensive processes is likely to have a shorter lifespan than one primarily used for intermittently checking emails and social media. Of course, the usage requirements would typically impact the type of PC you buy, but the simple fact is that using your PC more intensely is likely to bring about the quickest decline.

Other variables that impact how long your PC will last include the quality of its components and how clean it’s kept – with dust causing parts to overheat and fans to work less effectively. This raises the operating temperature of your computer and could risk burnout.

Whilst the physical condition of your computer is a major concern, so too should be its software. Updates are rolled out regularly and get larger as the months and years go by. It’s why older systems run a lot slower, as they deal with operating systems or processes that require significantly more data than what was required when the device was first manufactured.

Buying a PC with enough processing power to future-proof you for some years yet is a good way to keep your device going longer-term – provided, that is, you can afford the initial cost outlay in the first place. The alternative is to deal with the reduced performance, or consider replacing your device earlier. And don’t forget, it’s relatively uncommon for PCs to reach a grinding, resounding halt. More likely, the time will come when many small issues combine and the decision is made (hopefully nearer 10 years than three) to get a replacement.