Business Computers. How often should you replace yours?

Unfortunately, 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 on replacing business computers. That said, in-house here at The Tech Lounge, we replace our business laptops every three years and our business desktops every five years.

These time frames are not scientific but based on experience, but you will see that most other IT companies work on the same basis. However, before we get too deep into this, let's first distinguish between business computers and consumer computers.

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

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

Typical consumer computer configuration:

  • Intel i3/i5 CPU
  • 4-8GB RAM
  • 500GB-1TB Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
  • Microsoft Windows 7/10 Home Edition

Manufacturers of Business computers know that the demands of business users are higher than consumer computers. Therefore, they may be built to order or pre-built using standard configurations. The components used to make these computers are generally more expensive and tested to a much higher standard. These computers ship with a "Professional" or "Enterprise" version of the operating system and can handle the day to day use that business users demand.

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

Typical business computer configuration:

  • Intel i5/i7 CPU
  • 8-16GB RAM or higher
  • 256-512GB Solid State Disk (SSD) or higher
  • Microsoft Windows 7/10 Professional/Enterprise Edition

Over time all computers, consumers and businesses start to show their age. Aesthetically, computers can begin to look battered and bruised due to wear and tear. 

Performance slows down with new or updated software. In addition, disk space becomes an issue, as does memory, as more recent applications demand even more resources. Finally, we collect and store more - something inevitable with business computers.

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

Who hasn't had the salesperson with the disgusting, beaten up laptop onsite to do a presentation, only for them to ask for a 10-minute head start while their computer starts up? How does old equipment reflect on your business?

It may be in productivity. For example, slow workstations it's estimated to drop productivity by 2.75% (13 minutes per day, 5.5 days per year*). 

There is also an 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 than laptop computers. Hence the longer lifespan, but it's worth speaking to a company that specialises in business IT support, as the costs of upgrading can often be 50%+ of the cost of a new machine.

If you're in the market for new business computers, we would love to help. We have many distributors and direct channels we source from and can offer competitive pricing. We can even set up your business computers, so they are ready to go, and provide ongoing support & maintenance to keep them in tip-top condition.

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