Is it time to replace my computer?


For businesses, my general recommendation is to plan to EoL (End of Life) hardware after 4 years on average. For Laptops, a 3 year plan is more oftenadvisable. Costs of maintaining hardware for longer than 4 years begin to outweigh benefits of not replacing the hardware.

Things over 5 years old begin to become active problems for doing business. Personally, I think it's always better to plan to replace hardware so that you can do it on your terms. Replacing hardware when something has failed is never a position you should want to be in. Running systems into the ground and making a purchase at a time dictated by the failure of your computer is a recipe for a poor technology purchase on your next system, and increases the chances that you will lose something in moving from your old system to the new.

Our Advice:

Make refreshes a part of your technology plan.

Replace the oldest 25% of your computers annually.

Value in replacing versus repairing

A computer that is 3 or 4 years old that has a bad hard drive, virus infection, or broken components can sometimes cost almost as much as a new computer (sometimes more). Even if the repair is about 30-40% less than the cost of a new computer, there is more value to replacing a computer than repairing because the repaired computer might only give you another 1-2 years of enjoyable use, whereas a new computer can provide 4-5 years of good use.

Replacement also means less unscheduled downtime, especially because newer computers don’t have as high chance of failure compared to older ones.

Selecting a Computer Refresh Strategy

Big bang - In this approach, you switch out all of the computers at the same time every third, fourth or fifth year. This “all at once” approach puts a big strain on your budget and IT department, who needs to deal with a sudden influx of new equipment. On the other hand, your IT department will always have a standard hardware configuration because all the PCs were purchased at the same time. Also, you might save some money by buying in bulk.

Phased refresh - A lot of businesses swap out a fraction of their computers each year. For example, if they’re on a four-year replacement cycle, they’ll replace 25 percent of their PCs each year. This makes their budget requests more uniform and spreads out the impact of hardware rollouts. Most of our clients use this approach.

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