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Hypothetical situation: Your workstation from 2001 just crashed and it is no longer turning on—much less booting into Windows. Do you try to diagnose the cause of the malfunction and attempt a repair or do you accept that it is time to get a new computer? If you can’t decide whether to repair/upgrade or replace the system, we made the following list for you. This list assumes that the issue is hardware-related and not just a software problem. If you answer yes to any of these questions, it is time to replace your computer.


Is the PC Out of Warranty?

Warranties can save your IT department time and money because they can just ship the system back to the manufacturer for repairs. Depending on the type of computer that needs to be fixed and what the issue is, there can be substantial labor and cost savings. Without a manufacturer warranty, your own IT department will be dealing with repairs while they could be performing other more mission-critical tasks.

A laptop for instance, may require specific proprietary parts that simply are not available from vendors other than the manufacturer. In extreme cases, the laptop could be so outdated that even the manufacturer does not have replacement parts for it. The time spent repairing a computer can also be much longer without a warranty—especially if you do not have the replacement part on the shelf. The total time including diagnosing the problem, ordering the replacement parts, and installing the parts can exceed the time required to purchasing a new system.


Are Replacement Parts Are Too Hard to Find?

So you’ve identified the components that need to be replaced—are those parts easy to come by? The time required to source those replacement parts needs to be factored in. They may be easy to find to newer machines, but can be extremely difficult for older ones.

For instance, finding a new Pentium 4 processor for a socket 478 motherboard will likely require you to trawl online auction sites or the classified listings. Finding replacement parts for components using old standards is in most cases not worth the effort, as performance will not match that of a newer system and they are hard to come by.


Has it Reached a Hardware Bottleneck?

Upgrading a computer to meet the demands of new software is common enough, but at one point upgrades are no longer feasible or possible. Going with our previous socket 478 example, a Pentium 4 computer will probably barely meet the minimum requirements of Windows 8 even if you upgrade to the fastest Pentium 4 CPU produced. With such a computer, you are better or replacing it rather than spending on incremental performance upgrades.


Does the Repair Cost Exceed its Value?

Should the cost of repairing a broken PC exceed its value, it is better to replace it. It may be more cost-effective to replace the system rather than attempt repairs. Check the price of the system or other comparable machines on the market. If the cost to repair exceeds those prices, then replace the system.

Also consider the time required to repair the system. If the cost to repair the system is barely less than purchasing it, the latter may still be the better option because of the labor required.


Did it Have Windows XP Pre-installed?

If the computer was shipped from the manufacturer with Windows XP pre-installed, then it is probably an older system from 2007 and equipped with a single-core processor. As Windows XP is at end-of-life status, you should be replacing XP with a newer operating system anyways. However, if the PC was pre-installed with Windows XP, you may be looking at some very outdated hardware. At that point, it is more cost-effective to replace the system with a newer Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC.


Photo by Beverly & Pack, taken from Flickr Creative Commons
Five Signs that it May be Time to Replace Your Computer
Article Name
Five Signs that it May be Time to Replace Your Computer
Not sure if you should replace or repair a broken computer? We run down the list of reasons why you should be replacing an old PC with a new system.
Wallace Chu

Author Wallace Chu

A self-professed tech hipster that loves computers and music. Uses an iPhone ironically.

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