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How often should you replace your business computers?

May 13, 2019

How often should I replace my computer? This is a question we get asked a lot, even more so since the recent announcement from Microsoft on the End of Support for Microsoft Windows 7.

There are no hard and fast rules. That said in-house here at The Tech Lounge we replace our business laptops every 3 years, and our business desktops every 5 years.

These time frames are based on experience, but if you have a look around you will see that most other IT companies work on the same basis. Before we get too deep into this however, lets firstly draw a distinction between business and consumer computers.

Consumer grade computers are built to be specifically priced for consumer outlets and use. The components used to make these laptops are typically from the cheaper end of the spectrum, with minimal regard to quality or reliability. These types of computers ship with a lower general specification compared to business grade computers and with a "Home" version of the operating system.

The warranties offered with consumer grade computers is usually delivered via the outlet, or on a return to base basis with the manufacturer.  These are generally 12 month warranties, with no guaranteed turn around time. 

Typical consumer grade configuration:

Business grade computers are built with the higher demands of business users in mind. They maybe built to order or pre-built using common configurations. The components used to make these laptops are generally more expensive and have been tested to a much higher standard. These computers ship with a "Professional" or "Enterprise" version of the operating system, and are designed to handle the day to day use that business users demand.

The warranties offered with business grade computers is usually 2-3 years and includes onsite support within a specified time period.

Typical consumer grade configuration:

Over time all computers, consumer and business, start to show their age. Aesthetically, due to wear and tear computers can start to look battered and bruised. Laptops especially if they are moved from location to location. 

Performance will inevitably also become an issue. Performance slows down as new software is added or existing software is updated. Disk space becomes an issue, as does memory as newer applications demand more resources, and we collect and store more data.

Whatever way you look at it, computers don't last forever. The key is finding the right balance. The secret, as we see it, is to replace your equipment before is starts to cost you or your business money. 

This maybe in sales. Who hasn't had the sales person with the disgusting beaten up laptop on site to do a presentation, only for them to ask for a 10 minute head start while their laptop starts up? How does old equipment reflect on your business?

It maybe in productivity. Slow workstations are estimated to drop productivity by 2.75% (13 minutes per day, 5.5 days per year*). 

There is also the increased likelihood of failure from ageing equipment. It's not a question of IF it will fail, but WHEN!

There are of course steps you can take to prolong the life of your IT equipment, such as regular patching and maintenance

It's may also possible to upgrade your computers. Desktop computers are typically more upgradable that laptop computers. Hence the longer lifespan, but it's worth speaking with your IT provider as the costs of upgrading can often be 50%+ of the cost of a new machine.

If you have questions regarding your ageing IT assets drop us a line at [email protected] or give us a call on 01256 636214.

*Warranty Master: The True Cost of Slow Computers

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