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Updating Your Computer Hardware

July 2014

Updating Your Computer Hardware

One of the greatest fears of business owners today is having their technology fail resulting in loss of productivity and even worse, the loss of data. Even though there is high risk, planning and budgeting for IT infrastructure is often lacking.

Researching the major computer hardware suppliers the following figures are fairly consistent when offering a time frame for replacing hardware.

  • A desktop computer 3-4 years – updating a desktop computer within these time frames allows you to maintain the latest operating systems including the most up-to-date security patches.
  • A laptop 2-3 years – laptops are more prone to wear and tear so tend to have a shorter life than a desktop.
  • A server 3-5 years - the life of a server is both hardware and software dependent so best to keep replacement in the same time frames as other hardware.

You may be asking yourself why the variation in the above time frames? One of the biggest factors is that your IT provider may sell you older hardware and software in which case it will become obsolete quicker.

So what are the arguments for replacing your hardware in these time frames?


Reducing downtime and lost productivity

Having staff sitting around while their computers are being repaired or just waiting as the computer slowly processes the data input is definitely not desirable. Studies have shown that newer PCs experience 40% less downtime than older PCs. If you translate this into financial terms, this is roughly 50 hours of downtime per person per year using an old machine.


Newer PCs support newer applications

By upgrading your PCs you are also able to update software applications. New software brings better features, improved usability and better performance which ultimately points to better productivity. Loading new software onto old computers will often slow them down so tasks which only take a few minutes end up taking even longer resulting in less productivity and frustration.


The price of replacement

Computer servers and PCs on average have become less expensive and allow your employees to be more productive. By keeping up with today’s high memory demands, employees will be able to accomplish their tasks much faster.


Old severs may not be covered by warranty

Most computer manufacturers will call out five years as the ‘end of life’ of server hardware and make it prohibitively expensive or even impossible to renew the warranty after that time. The initial warranty of $1500 for the first five years may increase to $3000 for the next two years making the choice to invest in new hardware more desirable. Also technology changes over a five year period will always improve again making employees more productive.


Replacement hardware becomes obsolete

Maintaining older computers and servers becomes more expensive the older they become plus finding parts can often be a challenge. Once the lifecycle of a computer or server has expired you run the risk of prolonged downtime and a greater impact on your business.


Cheaper electricity costs


There are three main reasons that a new server will save you power. First, new servers are designed with better technology that uses less power overall – this applies to almost all components in a server. Second, new servers run faster and therefore the CPU can run at much lower utilitisation, thus drawing less power (for example your old server might have been running at 80% whereas the new server might only run at 30%). Third, servers that use less power generate less heat and therefore need less air conditioning to keep them cool. Overall this can amount to hundreds of dollars a year depending on the size of the server.


If you have a server in your business then you know the importance of having a reliable and fast central data server, and what could be the worst case scenario if it were to go down. When a server goes down or has hardware/software issues, you as the business owner are not only losing money due to down time, but also all of the work and time that has to be done once the server is back up and running. To avoid these costly disruptions most experts would agree that being proactive and making sure you have all of your technology up to date and your data backed up offsite properly is of utmost importance.


The right time to update your hardware is:

  • when your users start to notice poor performance
  • when you are spending more time with computer problems than productive time
  • when it is noisy
  • when it is outside of warranty
  • when there is no room to run new software
  • when the server or computer seizes up regularly and you need to reboot
  • when everything fails and you are unable to get it fixed

 Planning and budgeting for replacement computers and servers should always be taken into account, not only will this proactive stance prevent costly maintenance and downtime in the event of a crisis but it will allow for greater productivity and happier users.


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Monday, July 21, 2014