Published in The Business News on May 23rd, 2022
Who isn’t trying to stretch their dollar today? Costs are up, availability is down and nobody wants the distraction of rolling out new computers. So, we push it out a year or two. We tell ourselves that the four-year replacement cycle, perpetuated by the tech industry is a lie, or a scam. “They’re just trying to get me to spend money”.
Well, they do want you to spend money and they want you to spend it on their stuff. However, they aren’t lying to you. They know that they are making products, that don’t last that long. They’re probably doing it on purpose, and it isn’t just the computer industry. While that refrigerator, that you purchased in the 80s, may well outlive you, the fridge purchased in 2018, is probably on its last leg already. As the expression says, they just don’t make things like they used to.
Computer equipment does require replacement on a regular schedule, and here is why
New Software Craves New Components
Modern operating systems (OS) and applications are designed for new components. The application that ran great on your laptop four years ago, has received updates and may require faster hardware. The people designing applications, and updates to applications, are designing and testing those applications on faster hardware. Check the manufacturer requirements, to ensure that you have the right hardware for your application.
Side note: if you are purchasing a computer for a designer or engineer, the CAD/Engineering applications that they use, may have specific requirements for video hardware and/or drivers. Again, make sure to check the manufacturer’s requirements, before purchasing a computer or application.
One of the major updates that your computer is receiving, or trying to receive, is security updates. Keeping current with security is one of the best things that you can do. Failure to do so could very well cost you much more than the cost of a few new computers.
Components Ware Out
Like anything, computer components wear out. The daily use of components will make them less reliable. Also, heat, cold, dust particles, food and humidity all play a factor in the functionality of your computer and components. It all adds up to wear and tear.
Interesting side note: Don’t blow out or remove the dust on your older computer. If you keep components clean, from day one, you’ll probably be ok. But waiting until the third or fourth year to clean out the inside of your PC is going to cause a problem. I can’t really explain it, other than to say that your computer has become dependent on the dust. I’ve seen it a bunch of times, where a business blows out the dust, after the computer has been in production for a few years. Like clockwork, the computer has a major failure, usually a blown CMOS battery, within a month. If you haven’t kept it clean, leave it dirty until you replace it.
Use = Clutter
With most OS’s, but especially Microsoft Windows, use equals clutter. As you update your computer, add and remove applications, collect cookies or plug-in files from the Internet and just generally use the computer, clutter starts to build up. That slows down the computer’s ability to…well, compute. The OS is looking for the file that you requested, and it has to scan over all of that clutter, to get to the right stuff. This is considerably less of an issue today, with Microsoft Windows 11, than it was with older versions, like Windows XP, or 7, but it’s still true.
Ideally, you would do a clean install of the OS, every couple years or so, just to keep things tidy. By the time you hit three or four years, it isn’t worth the time or money to bother. Factoring in reasons one and two, it just makes sense to replace the computer.
Consider your costs. Your IT person or IT company costs you money. Having them support, or reinstall OS’s onto computers, is time that you are paying for. Think about your employee. While their computer is being serviced, what are they doing? You are paying them to do a job, that isn’t getting done, while their computer is being serviced. Think of the costs from a security breech. All of these costs are far greater than the planned upgrade cost of computer hardware. If you run a business, you know that there are areas to save money, and areas to plan for the expense. Plan for this expense and do it right. A solid technology replacement plan is just good business.