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Didn't really see a "hardware general" forum so I stuck this here since my rig is sandy bridge.

I built my rig a few years ago and as I'm approaching 3 years of ownership I'm wondering what types of maintenance or replacements I should be prepared for before my next upgrade. I guess I'm mainly concerned about fans, the PSU, the thermal grease on my cpu and anything else that could wear out. So far I've been lucky with nothing really needing to be swapped out except the gpu. Any ideas on what I should plan on likely having to replace?
 

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unless you need to upgrade due to performance based issues (need to be able to play new games etc), then i wouldn't change anything. psu's do technically degrade over time, but unless you are noticing something wonky don't worry. if you are just going for maintenance, then clean the old TIM (alcohol, cotton will wipe it totally clean) and reapply it. dust your fans very good, and if they have been very dusty you can do the same treatment with alcohol. when its time to upgrade, you will likely only need to replace the pieces you wish to upgrade.
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if youre really want to replace something, I say you replace the PSU first. but if the PSU is still working as fine as it is, no need to replace it. i personally think your overall specs are still great. no need to replace for maybe 1-2 years more, unless you really want to max out every game that is available. you can also check fans for any unusual noise, maybe if they need to be lubed/replaced.

and as eXXon said, you can just clean your pc instead of replacing any part.
 

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If it's a or Celeron/Pentium/i3 Sandy, and you plan to keep the computer for long, you might want to consider getting an 1155 i5 or something higher now before it falls much farther back in generations. Once the 1155 socket CPUs become rarer due to newer ones phasing them out, it'll be harder to come by one in a few years and likely more expensive. By that time, you'll be forced to get a MOBO/CPU/maybe RAM combo to replace one of them. If you have an i5 in your current rig now, then your CPU/MOBO/RAM won't really need replacing for a long time.

AFAIK thermal paste lasts a pretty long time and doesn't really need replacing unless you notice temps getting high, and staying high, after you do a dusting. Since it's so simple to reapply though, there really isn't a reason not to do it every now and then if you're putting the CPU under a high load 24/7 with OCing or something. It can dry up, especially if the heat sink wasn't properly mounted.

Have you purchased an SSD yet? Depending on what you do, an SSD could potentially be a much better upgrade than any new CPU/MOBO/RAM/GPU.
 
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