Byte Me Article 95 – Sometimes it’s better to ditch it… not fix it

-Sometimes it’s better to ditch it… not fix it

13 October, 2012

I know that we are supposed to be encouraging ‘green’ living but the pace of technology and the cost of wages often makes this harder.  We had an interesting example this Wednesday when a new customer bought in a fairly standard home laptop.  It was full of viruses which would not respond to any cleaners or fixes and therefore it needed a complete reformat.  It was a sub $1000 laptop when he purchased it only 2 years ago from a chain store.

This laptop had some personal data (mainly photos, emails and a few documents that he wanted to keep) but it didn’t have a restore partition so would need a manual full installation of Windows, all Microsoft updates, user software, anti-virus software and the data transferred back to its relevant locations.  The laptop also only had 2GB of ram, Windows Vista Home Premium and a budget laptop CPU from 2 years ago (with a power rating of only 600).  To complete this job we quoted $500 to $550 in labour as it would take around 4 to 5 hours of work to restore the laptop and data to a ‘ready to be used’ state – no dodgy installs or shortcuts taken.  However, we did not recommend this course of action.  We recommended a brand new HP laptop with 4GB of ram, Windows 7 Home Premium, an Intel i3 CPU with a power rating of just over 3000, 12months warranty and all of his data put in place for $800.

2012-10-13 Byte Me Article 95- Upgrade Story

The customer went the road of the new laptop, but this brings to point a few things.  Labour – it’s dear and only getting dearer.  If we are doing a major overhaul on a less powerful machine it is going to take a long time.  When we are finished it will still only have the same operating system, ram and CPU – unless you are going to upgrade software/hardware as well which nowadays is not a viable option.  Speed – modern computers are fast and only getting faster.  On average CPU power is doubling every year.  That means compared to an average PC from 2 years ago, a new average PC is 4 times as powerful.  If comparing to a 3 year old the new ones are 8 times and in the case of a 4 year old PC the new ones are on average, 16 times as powerful.  Yes, as incredible as it sounds – a modern PC is around 60 times as powerful as one from only 6 years ago!

So where is all of this headed?  Well, it hardly encourages a ‘green’ philosophy of not throwing things away and we often have customers that have a hard time getting their minds around throwing out a 2 or 3 year old PC – but in some cases you are throwing money away if you are not replacing.  Obviously many viruses and computer issues are able to be fixed more simply and economically but each case needs to be looked at with an open mind.  If you are using a PC now then chances are you will still need the use of one in 2 years’ time – don’t put up with a slow old clunker that seemingly takes 10 years to get there! 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 07 49 222 400.

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