Byte Me Article 385 – Warren’s Decision

Do You Repair or Replace?

Continuing from last weeks’ article we had Warren deciding on whether to spend $500 on upgrading his old laptop versus spending around $1260 of effectively replacing it.  I had initially thought that the replacement option was best – until I sat down with Warren and went through the pros and cons myself.  For a total of $500 Warren got everything that he was wanting and there is every chance that he will get another 3 to 4 years out of his device. 

There are several factors that are worth talking about here.  The primary one is that what Warren has successfully done is dodge a hard drive failure.  This is the worst kind of computer failure that you could have as it is often a double whammy for the user.  It will happen when you least expect it or need it to happen and the chances of data loss are very high.

If you pick the time to upgrade your computer or at least the internal HDD rather than allowing it to dictate this situation with a failure, then you are well in front.  Every week we have PC’s brought into us because they have stopped working and around a third of these would be from hard drive failures.  We then see lost data from around half of these hard drive failures mostly due to the lack of a backup system or its regular use.

So, what other results did Warren see?  First off – speed.  Laptop boot up time went from 4 minutes & 6 seconds down to 21 seconds.  Opening Google Chrome went from 45 seconds down to 1, and his email package from 53 seconds to 1.5 seconds !  Previously you could double click on an icon and then start to think that you were unsuccessful when there was no response.  This would often lead to you double clicking again and causing an error as it was still trying to process the first double click.

The above times might look exaggerated however they were exact and give an indication of how incredibly effective this upgrade is.  I can’t remember any time in the history of PC’s since I started in this industry 21 years ago where a single hardware change could make such a difference.  The other spin off with the upgrade considerably increasing reliability is simply the icing on the cake!

For Warren, the latest version of Open Office (free) is working well and can open all his previous Word and Excel documents.  It will also open the very latest MS Office files that sometimes get emailed to him, and anyone that doesn’t require the genuine MS Office should consider this program a valid alternative.  eM client is a great replacement for Windows Live Mail and is far more secure as it is still getting updates and support.

The laptop is far more secure and now better protected with Avast Home Edition (free) and again this is a great virus scanner for non-business use.  It is also the anti-virus software of choice for myself and my techs on our home PC’s.

I was initial sceptical about upgrading an 8-year-old laptop, however since it had been a powerful model at the time of purchase and well looked after since this turned out to be a good decision.  I was also surprised by the number of $600 to $800 laptops for sale in chain stores right now that are not as powerful or are being shipped with slow HDD’s or only 4GB of ram.

If Warren’s laptop does develop a faulty screen or motherboard anytime soon, he can still use the new 250GB SSD in another device – and most importantly he will still have all his files intact. 

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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