Computer Repair vs. Replacement After 3 Years

Is it time to replace your computer? Consider the following: What is your computer struggling with? How old is it? Was it purchased as "business grade" or "consumer grade"? How expensive was it at time of purchase? We'll walk you through the basics to aid you in evaluating your equipment and making a decision.


How Old Is Your Equipment?

The age of your equipment is an important factor in deciding wether to replace or repair it. Depending on the quality of your computer and original purchase date, the lifespan is between 3 and 5 years. The more expensive the computer was when purchased and purchasing a "business grade" computer over "consumer grade" usually translates to more consistent performance and a longer lifespan. The following are things to consider in terms of your computer's lifespan:

  • Processing Power – As websites become more complex, computer updates require more horsepower to work properly.
  • Outdated & Incompatible Software – Your computer's current Operating System can only be updated so much and will not be able to use completely new Operating System versions that come out. Without the most up-to-date Operating System, your computer will become incompatible with certain websites and newer software programs.
  • Frequent Breakdowns – Older computers are more prone to breaking down with each year exponentially increasing the risk of breakdowns.
  • Durability – Inexpensive computers are less durable than their more expensive counterparts. The more inexpensive a computer is can lead to its complete breakdown within a couple years rather than 3 to 5, which is typical in more durable computers.


What are the Soft Costs?

While it's important to consider the cost of labor and hardware when evaluating whether to repair or replace your equipment, it's just as important to consider the ramp-up costs involved with getting a new machine operational. The following are hidden "soft costs" to think about:

  • Software – If your software is allowed to be transferred from one computer to another, you'll need your software's license keys. If you aren't sure you'll be able to locate your license keys, you may have to factor in the cost of new software if opting to replace the computer.
  • Your Data – For users that don't use cloud based backups, their personal files reside on the hard drive of their current computer. Transferring your data to a new computer is extremely vital, but often overlooked.
  • Learning Curve – Getting used to the software of a newer computer can take time. There may be unexpected down-time for users that are still getting the hang of things.


What's the Nature of the Issue?

It's important to evaluate cost in repairs as it pertains to the issue. For instance, in the event of a cracked laptop screen it can be impossible to see what's on the display although the machine may be working just fine. The options would be to replace the screen or replace the entire laptop, comparing the cost to fix it to its current market value. If the cracked screen would cost $200 to fix and the current market value of the laptop is $250, it would be best to buy a new laptop - especially if it is a consumer grade laptop that is more than 2.5 years old.

The decision to repair or replace your equipment may also differ in terms of business vs. personal. It's recommended that businesses valuing up-time and productivity get their computers fixed or replaced, however some issues in personal computers can be worked around. For example, a personal laptop with a cracked screen may be connected to an external monitor display for continued use at home. In a business setting, laptops offer mobility and would need to be fixed or replaced in order to continue using them when offsite.


Should I Fix or Buy New?

When looking at price points for computers, the total cost of ownership balances out to a similar "per year" cost. For example, an $800 computer can be expected to last 2.5-3.5 years, which averages out to about $250 per year. In the same respect, a $1,200 computer can be expected to last 3.5-4.5 years which averages out to about $225 per year. The important difference is that the more expensive computer will operate better and more reliably during the time of ownership.


Get In Touch

At SeedSpark our mission is to reduce risk and overhead costs while growing client acquisition and retention though the right mix of technology and business process automation. Planning for the best life cycle management is just one example that can have significant impacts on your bottom line performance.

To learn more about proactive lifecycle management, contact us at (704) 246-5052 and choose option 1. You can also shoot us an email at


Other Resources:

5 Reasons to Buy Your PC from an IT Consultant


Written by Taylor Clark

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