Byte Me Article 106 – Your PC needs to keep cool

Your PC Needs to Keep Cool
– Keeping Up With Technology

12 January, 2013

The New Year is upon us and so too is some much hotter weather!  Keep in mind that although it won’t sweat or curse these heat waves your PC tower can really struggle to keep its cool.  If you are keeping it on the floor then an annual service will be necessary to keep its cooling systems free of built up dust and fluff.  Even if it is at desk height (a much better alternative) then still be careful not to surround it with books or papers which we often see covering vents and cooling fan intakes.

Most importantly never operate your PC tower in an unventilated enclosure and be sure that sun coming through a window does not directly shine on the computer casing.  If it has to be in a small enclosure we supply a specialised range of low power consumption CPU’s and solid state drives which generate even less heat than a typical laptop.

2013-01-12 Byte Me Article 106 - Keeping up with Technology

Apart from being hot, our first full week back has already been flat out and amongst these jobs we had a regular customer bring their PC in as it was starting to play up.  An inspection revealed a dying hard drive which was beyond being able to be imaged to a new one.  They had not lost any data as they had a good backup system but they wanted to get the PC repaired.

This customers’ PC had documents, photos, emails, an accounting package and a specialised mapping program so it was going to be a repair costing around $650 for both parts and labour.  Except for renewing the virus scanner every year the PC had not cost them anything else since the purchase date 4 years ago!

I had to emphasise that this is a good run as far as computers are concerned and it was false economy to go down the repair path – replacement was a far better option.  This surprised the customer at first, until I ran through the figures for both scenarios in more detail.  They opted for the replacement which provides far better value for money in the longer term.

I often see people readily pay for an Internet connection at $30 to $80 a month or a new phone on a $50/month plan or Austar at $50 to $120/month but neglect their actual computer upkeep!  This is easy to understand as it is nigh impossible to get a suitable PC on a plan or a rental that would only cost around $50/month – and I am not suggesting that you try to rent a PC.  However, if you were to put $50/month aside to pay for IT costs it would easily buy and maintain a new PC every 3 years – which is an average replacement cycle.

In 3 years’ time you will often have a new version of Windows, a new version of Office and an average computer which is around 8 times more powerful than an average computer today.  Even if you use a professional (paid for) virus scanner at around $100/year and a $120 yearly service at the one and two year marks to keep your PC running fast (a total of $440) it still leaves around $1400 every 3 years to spend on a replacement PC.

As far as what PC to buy, I would suggest the following guideline.  If it is for a child or teenager I would lean toward getting more of a budget PC and replacing it more often – even every two years!  Kids and teenagers are normally hard on PC’s by installing lots of different software and more often getting viruses or Trojans but have little data to transfer so there is less labour component at changeover.

If the PC is going to be used for a business and you have lots of software and data – like accounting packages and databases then lean toward a higher end PC like an Intel i5 or i7 and try to get at least 3 years of use as the labour component at changeover time will be greater.  In either case a $50/month budget should cover your IT costs and reduce the frustration we see when customers let their IT problems get out of hand. 

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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