Deciding When to Replace Your PC
For the last 2 Byte Me articles I have talked about Optus’ lack of Internet uplink bandwidth at my local (Frenchville) exchange. Despite the newspaper articles and the paper actually giving them all of my contact details, I am yet to hear from any of their representatives regarding this falsely advertised and notoriously slow service. I have now signed up to another service provider, but I am still waiting on the Internet connection to be finalised, so I will leave this report for another time.
Today we will look at the now very common problem – when should I replace my PC? The answer to this has changed greatly over the years and also depends largely on the individual use. Home users have a different set of criteria to business users and budgets need to be considered now as much as ever.
When using a PC for business either as the business owner or if you are paying someone to sit in front of one then time is money. This situation is exacerbated if the use of the PC is constant throughout the day. We see way too often situations where someone is literally battling with a slow or ill performing PC for 40 hours of every week.
With some basic accounting it is easy to show that the above situation on just one computer can cost a business in lost productivity the same as a monthly rental or lease on around 5 new PC’s. It is amazing how often we replace a 4 to 8 year old PC and get told by the customer that they “should have done this years ago”.
In a home situation or with a PC that is for personal use there is no monetary cost that we can put on an old PC. However there certainly is a cost to your sanity and state of mind if your PC is not performing to your expectations. Once again we often see the delight when a customer goes from an old PC to new one and is amazed at the difference in performance.
You need to keep in mind that the average computer is near doubling in power and capacity every year. At the same time most of the software that we use is also becoming more comprehensive and it therefore takes more power to run. This is like a seesawing effect between computer power and software features which stays in balance as long as your PC is not too old.
As you update and upgrade software on a PC the effect that this has in slowing the PC is a gradual one that people rarely notice in one hit. So we become accustomed to our PC running slower each year and tend to think this is normal – until we actually get to use a new one.
Going back 10 years or more in our industry we previously more often upgraded computers. We would upgrade ram or hard drives or even the CPU however we now see the hardware architecture changing more rapidly to the point that this is less viable. We can seldom replace a CPU that is just 2 years old without also replacing the motherboard and often the ram as well.
We are also seeing a reduction in the cost of new components in comparison to labour which again tilts toward a full replacement instead of a more labour intensive upgrade. The other very noticeable trend has been the comparative reduction in laptop prices. We are regularly replacing a 3 to 5 year old laptop that cost close to $2000 with a new $850 laptop that is way more powerful.
Next week I hope to be able to complete my Internet /Phone plan upgrade story. In the next few weeks we will also look at the run up to Christmas from the point of view of what devices are currently available and how to dodge the lemons.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.
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