When to replace your business’ aging PCs

PC replacement is a big part of a business’ IT budget. The harsh truth is that all PCs eventually become obsolete and will need to be replaced. Many businesses delay PC replacement until it is absolutely necessary (the appearance of the “blue screen of death”, or employees loosing valuable time waiting for their computers to reboot).

Gartner Research conducted a study of 177 large businesses and discovered that the average life span of a desktop PC is 43 months, and only 36 months for mobile PCs. More than a third of respondents claimed the main reason for PC replacement is to improve user productivity, while more than a quarter cited escalating support costs with older machines. More than 20% said new software requirements led to the need for new computing systems.

There are not hard and fast rules for timing a new computer purchase, but we can offer a few guidelines to help your business decide when it is time to bite the bullet and buy a new computer.

Replacement Hardware Becomes Obsolete
If your IT department can’t find replacement parts for your aging PC, then you have no choice but to buy a new computer. Perhaps your IT staff has been scavenging replacement parts from older computers and you’ve managed to limp along on replacement parts for quite awhile. Good for you and your budget, but bad for productivity. As we all know, technology develops at the speed of light and eventually those computers are going to die and you won’t be able to locate the ancient hardware to match.

The PC is not Compatible with New Operating Systems
Old computers weren’t made with new 64-bit operating systems in mind. Even if your current computer has sufficient CPU and memory to operate a Windows 7 operating system, you will probably have difficulty locating drivers for your hardware.

Maintenance Costs are Becoming Excessive
When your computer repair costs exceed the value of the computer, it is time to cut your losses. If you are spending more time repairing old computers than using them, a new computer will provide significant ROI. Also, faster and newer computers lead to greater employee productivity.

The Old PC is Hampering Productivity
Old computers are slow computers. If your employees rely heavily on their computers for day-to-day business functions, and they are spending a lot of time “waiting” on a slow computer, then a new — faster — computer will help boost productivity. A computer that saves an employee ten minutes a day (including boot-up, logging in, response of apps, shutdown, etc.) will save you roughly 40 hours a year. Depending upon the type of PC you buy, you could realize a ROI in just one year.

The PC Supports 32-bit Only
The 64-bit platform is quickly becoming the standard.  Future operating systems will likely run on 64-bit only. Almost all of the Microsoft server products that are being released will run only on 64-bit platforms. Start budgeting now for new PCs to replace computers that do not include a 64-bit CPU.

Other Considerations: As desktop virtualization gains momentum, more businesses are able to re-provision aging PCs, which delivers substantial costs savings on hardware. Your IT partner can provide guidance on how best to re-provision old computers for virtualization.

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