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polarverse IT replace repair laptop computer JULY 2017

For our next scenario… Ways you can describe your ideal laptop but not your current one.

It has a sexy design.

It’s got the latest features.

It’s super fast.

I’ll never have to replace it.

We’ve recently upgraded some of our clients’ machines, so we’d thought we’d share tips and tricks for our other clients. In our experience, there are two types of computer owners: the first type loves to upgrade to a new model every chance they get, and the second holds on to their current model for as long as they can. Both types can learn a little bit from this post.

Respect the Life of Your Machine

Backlit keyboards, god-like graphics cards, and slim new designs sound sexy, but do those things make it worth buying a new laptop? Probably not. If your laptop has similar features from a year ago, paying top dollar for a slightly better version of those features won’t be worth the few hundred dollars the new model will cost. But if your laptop is more than 5 years old, you might want to consider taking a closer look at the new models.

The expected failure rate of computers, and electronics in general, follow what is referred to as the Bathtub Curve. The idea is, like an end-to-end section of a bathtub, computers are likely to fail at the beginning of their ‘life’. After that first hump, their failure rate drops for most of its life. Then, the probability of it failing rises again near the end of its ‘life’. So what does this mean? A business grade computer is good for at least 5 years (the average age of a machine before we recommend a replacement), so the 6 year mark is a good time to start shopping around.

The Well-Being of Your Machine

If your laptop is between 4 and 6 years old, you’re in a gray area. It’s difficult to say whether repairing or replacing your model is the best option. According to Moore’s Law, the computing power of integrated circuits doubles every two years. This means that a laptop from this year is two times more powerful than the one released two years ago. It also explains why the general rule for replacing a computer is about every 6 years – that’s about the point in time where newly available software will slow down your machine and support for old software starts to decline.

Which brings us to the key question: does your machine feel sluggish and, if so, what’s causing the sluggishness?

Find out what the problem is. If your laptop handles tasks well but is slow to start up, it might not be the laptop’s fault. Try uninstalling ‘dusty’ programs and make sure that you’ve set only the necessary applications to open upon starting your machine. In other words, take care of your computer’s internal well-being.

On the other hand, if your laptop is having difficulty with simple graphics tasks or is taking too long to crunch small amounts of data, it’s time to upgrade. It’s possible to upgrade individual parts, but most users don’t have the experience or the expertise to do the work themselves. And some brands solder on their parts to prevent users from attempting to do so anyway. So instead of paying someone to perform costly repairs, your money is better off being put towards a new machine that already comes with the features you need.*

Should you find yourself faced with this dilemma, we suggest you ask yourself the following questions:

-     Is my keyboard/screen/touchpad comfortable enough for daily use?

  Can I still run the software I need to use?

Even one “No” might be enough motivation to seek a new laptop. Another question you can ask yourself is: are there new features that would make my life easier? A “yes” is another reason to start shopping around (any maybe consult an IT professional).

Still at a loss? Ask Polarverse! With over 25 years of experience, we can answer your questions and help you make the smart choice. Call us at 519-489-0646.

*Unless you have a warranty which, if you do, take advantage of it! Our suggestion is to always get a 3 to 5 year warranty that includes parts, labour, and onsite service.

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