There are 4 main components to your computer that dictate performance and can periodically require maintenance
- Hard Drive - The hard drive is where your personal data, plus OS and other software, is stored. Most drives are mechanical (HDD) but more modern drives are Solid State (SSD). HDDs are more likely to fail than SSDs but both can experience corruptions due to volume count and directory errors. A disk repair generally costs about $100 while a disk replacement runs from $250-$300. Don’t forget to buy an external hard drive as a Tme Machine backup.
- RAM - or Random Access Memory is independent of the hard drive, and is available, generally, to the software and applications as the computer is operating. The more you have, the faster your computer will run. To determine how much you have, look in the About This Mac dialogue in your Apple menu.
- Logic board - This contains the CPU and the GPU (graphics processing unit). Sometimes the graphics processor will fail due to too much heat or other factors. Often this can be replaced or repaired, usually at a cost of $300-$500. IF YOU SPILL WATER, WINE, COFFEE, OR ANY OTHER LIQUID IN YOUR COMPUTER, it can “possibly” be fixed depending on the amount and location of the corrosion and electrical shorting the liquid caused. It WILL be expensive, between $300-$500. The alternative to repairing either of these situations is to replace the logic board altogether, usually around $800-$1000.
- Software - I like to say that over the past 10-20 years, the hardware in your personal computer hasn’t changed that dramatically. However, the software that runs that hardware changes constantly. I regularly see operating systems from 2007 (Snow Leopard 10.6.8) and every variation in between, while the current one today is Sierra (10.12.3). In addition, the other native softwares in your machine, ie., Safari, iTunes, Photos, etc need regular updates, as do third party applications like Microsoft Word, Flash, and Java. Not every operating system is appropriate for every vintage of computer, even if it’s compatible according to Apple.