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Most people in the market for a new computer don’t know any better than to buy a laptop that, in its unchangeable entirety, will make them look outdated and silly in only a few years. They don’t realize that it’s possible to build your own computer that, so long as you make the right choices, can last you much longer and allow you to swap out parts as needed.

futureThis technique is called future-proofing, which means making sure that your computer has an amalgamation of the most newly released technology and hardware that are chosen with the intention of ensuring that your computer lasts longer and requires fewer updates.

But in this world of ever-changing technology and ever-disrupted markets, is it really possible to future proof any one device? Yes, but admittedly you can only do so to a certain extent. All technology becomes obsolete at some point. Here’s how you can get a little more bang for your buck computer-wise, and stay up-to-date for longer without buying a whole new laptop.

So say you opt into the build your own computer process; where do you begin? First off, you’re going to want to invest in a state-of-the-art motherboard and processor, because though it will set you back a good amount money-wise, these components are updated extremely slowly and will accordingly keep up with future software well over time.

From there, you have to keep in mind exactly what you plan on using your computer for. People who want to future-proof their computers (i.e. those using advanced software and resources) are unfortunately among the least likely to be successful in preparing their computers for future use. This is because the tech-savvy are likely to always want the next best program that necessitates the next best processor, and it will be hard to find any kind of computer that can keep up without replacing parts.

RAM2If you just use your computer to connect to the internet and use Microsoft Word and Excel, you’re likely in luck. Your computer will probably last for along time since you’re not asking much of it on a daily basis, plus computers have basically been doing those functions since 1996.

Another reason why the tech savvy have issues future-proofing their computers is because the industry keeps changing and technology often makes what was once difficult and expensive to install into something much cheaper and more easily acquired. Take RAM (random-access memory) for example. If you bought a computer five years ago and purchased a bunch of RAM for it in an attempt to future-proof it, you’d be totally screwed today. The price of RAM has dropped by huge margins, so paying for an upgrade now is actually much cheaper than it was five years ago.

At the end of the day, it’s difficult to future-proof anything because no one can predict what the future holds. Keep your eyes on the tech industry if you’re wondering what gadgets to invest in now as opposed to later, but still you’ll have to accept that wherever tech goes, we’re all along for the ride.