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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Future-Proof Your PC


Future-proofing is a common term when talking about computers. It simply refers to making sure your PC will be able to adapt to new developments years down the road.

If you’re buying a new PC or building one, you want to know that it’s not going to get outdated anytime soon, right?

But is it really worth the effort and cost to future-proof a PC? Considering the rapid pace of change in the technology world, can you actually future-proof a computer? Or is it better to simply replace your old PC as it wears out?

Here’s why you may want to think again before trying to future-proof your PC.

1. Not Everyone Needs Future-Proofing

The basic logic behind future-proofing is this: a PC you buy now will still be able to run programs just as smoothly and efficiently—and be compatible with new technologies—a few years down the line without needing any upgrades or replacements.

Of course, this is open to a lot of interpretation.

man playing pc game with leds

First, the programs you run. A PC is more likely to stay future-proof if all you do is browse the web, watch some videos, and work on Microsoft Office. However, an older PC may have trouble running new games at the best possible graphics settings or multiple operating systems simultaneously.

Second, “new technologies” is a vague term. Not that long ago, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and USB 3.1 were the best you could get. But things move on fast, and now new technologies like Wi-Fi 6E and USB-C are the kind of features you’ll be looking out for. It’s simply impossible to predict what the new standards will be in a few years.


Long story short, future-proofing is unnecessary if:

  • You’re fine with playing newer games at sub-optimal settings.
  • You mostly use your PC for web browsing, email, office work, and movies.
  • You don’t care about having “the latest and greatest.”

You may not even need a powerful PC in the future. With the rise of cloud gaming services and even cloud-based Windows PCs, any PC with a web browser could be all you need.

2. Most Warranties Can’t Keep Up

If you’re spending a lot on a top-of-the-line system, then most future-proof builds are expected to last four years or more—but that period is longer than what your warranties will cover, and computer parts will certainly fail.

Motherboards, processors, and graphics cards are the three most expensive parts of the average computer. Yet, Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and their major partners only offer warranties up to three years max. If your expensive PC parts go wrong and you were planning to have them for a long time, that’s going to be upsetting.


The other major expenditure is the power supply unit (PSU). Depending on the model, you can get a warranty of up to seven years, but those are usually only for top-of-the-line PSUs.

Funnily enough, the things you can upgrade most easily and most affordably are covered for a longer time by warranties. Hard drives and RAM, for instance, are usually covered by three to five years of warranty, but these are made obsolete so quickly that they aren’t prime components for future-proofing.

3. Technology Has Mostly Peaked

In some ways, processor technology has peaked. Unless you’re running a server or setting up virtual machines, you don’t really need that extra horsepower anymore.

Processor upgrades used to be more important, but when considering which upgrades will give your PC the best performance boost, they aren’t usually such a priority anymore. If you’re doing a major upgrade, like jumping from an older Intel Core i3 to a blazing fast modern Core i7, then it’s more likely to be worth it. But with smaller upgrades, you may not see a big boost from changing your chip.

ddr4 ram in motherboard

Things are similar in the RAM department. The baseline for RAM is 8GB, and you will see significant improvements with 16GB. There’s little point in having more than 32GB of RAM, though. You aren’t going to see much improvement in real-world performance. Again, the only exception is when running virtual machines or editing 4K or 8K video.

According to the current trend, manufacturers are making technology more power-efficient so that laptops last longer and PCs can draw less power. As a result, concepts like Moore’s Law have run their course.

Related: Faster, Thinner, Cheaper: Is Koomey’s Law the New Moore’s Law?

4. Future-Proofing Doesn’t Always Work

NVIDIA RTX 3090 Founders Edition
Image Credit: NVIDIA

By its very nature, future-proofing depends on trying to predict the future. That’s always going to be a risk—and that means there’s a good chance any attempt to future-proof a PC won’t pan out.

As your PC gets older, games might still run okay, for example, but they probably won’t run as well as they did initially. You’ll likely find you can’t play using the best visual settings anymore.

Graphics cards, especially, are upgraded most often. If you’re a PC gamer, then your graphics card is not going to stay relevant for four years if you want state-of-the-art visuals, so periodic upgrades are better than future-proofing.

If you’re willing to overclock your graphics card and other components, future-proofing might work better. But you need to know what you’re doing, and you need to accept the risks that come with overclocking. You might also be voiding your warranties by overclocking.

Some components will last you a long time, though. High-end PSUs and computer cases can last for many years, well beyond their warranties. In fact, many future-proofers can get two or three different builds out of their PSUs and cases.

5. Future-Proofing Isn’t Cost-Efficient

gaming pc setup future proof build

Old hardware is just one of the possible reasons that your computer is running slow. If you’re buying a new PC and you deck it out with top-of-the-line specifications, there’s no guarantee it won’t slow down in the future.

Like the aforementioned advice about graphics cards, upgrading periodically is better than binging the first time. Instead of buying beyond your needs “just in case,” the wiser option is to buy a system that meets your needs right now and save the rest of what you would’ve spent. Invest that money to buy stuff when you can get the best deal for it, from low-cost PC component stores.

Judging by how things have developed in the past, you’ll get more value for money by what you need now, rather than trying to future-proof your computer.

Why You Cannot Future Proof Your PC

Instead of spending big bucks trying to make a PC last forever, rolling upgrades are usually a better idea. Keep your PC up to date as you go along, changing components here and there as you need to. That will help you to get the most life and use out of your computer.

At some point, you’ll find your PC is no longer worth the cost or effort trying to upgrade anymore. When that time comes, you can buy or build a new one. That doesn’t mean your old computer is useless, though—there are plenty of ways you can put an old PC to use. So in that sense, all PCs have some kind of future-proofing built right in any way.

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