Technology is constantly advancing, providing us with new and exciting ways to interact with the world around us. Likewise, those advances require that we continuously upgrade or invest in new forms of tech in order to take advantage of these trends. This can quickly render a state-of-the-art mobile device or computer obsolete in many respects.

Just because a computer has aged a bit doesn’t mean that it’s time to throw it out in favour of a new one. How do you know when it’s time to replace versus when it’s time to upgrade core components like RAM? We’ll review how you can determine whether your computer simply needs a bit more RAM or needs to be replaced entirely.

Difficulties with multitasking

Let’s face it: most people like to multi-task while on the computer. From reading articles and listening to music, to playing games and doing work, hardly anybody focuses on just one thing at a time. If your computer is suddenly having difficulty handling multiple programs, windows or tabs all at once, then upgrading your RAM may be a viable solution to the problem.

Through vendors such as Offtek, you can quickly find compatible RAM that works with your motherboard and double your current memory. This can be a very easy fix for computers that are only a few years old and seem to be working just fine for individual activities – but have trouble keeping up when running multiple programs at once.

Trouble running newer programs

If your once shiny and new computer now has trouble running select, newer programs – or refuses to run them at all – then there are a few select upgrades you should consider. First of all, an increase in RAM may be all that is needed: some newer programs require a minimum amount of memory that exceeds what was included on computers made several years ago.

Especially true for computer games and other visually-intense programs, you may need to invest in a new GPU (graphics card). Older graphics cards – as well as onboard variants – may not be up to the task of running newer and more demanding software suites.

Constant crashes and multiple problems

If you are experiencing more than one issue simultaneously, including some of the issues mentioned above, then it may simply be time to invest in a new computer. While most components of a computer can be upgraded for years and years after first purchased, there comes a certain point at which upgrades no longer make sense.

From the ageing of the motherboard to affordable selections of various memory and processors, the costs quickly begin to surpass that of a new computer after a certain point. Because of this, slow and lagging computers with a variety of problems and crash-prone behaviour should simply be traded in for a new model.

If your computer is simply running slow, then adding some new RAM can take care of the problem. Likewise, other isolated problems can be corrected by upgrading a single component and this should definitely be considered. If your computer is several years old and experiencing multiple problems, however, then it is probably time for a new one.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups, Contributor @Entrepreneur, Columnist @Inc. Magazine and Curator at Postanly (his free weekly digest of the best life and career improvement posts on the web. Subscribe for free.