How frequently should you update or replace a business computer?

It may be time to upgrade

Computer technology is an essential element for running any kind of business. After experiencing a series of events in which existing technology breaks or under performs, thoughts will naturally come to mind. You might begin to ask, “At what intervals should my company expect to replace or update its computer systems?” Many experienced business owners eventually come to realize that it’s better to think about this proactively.

The signs of a struggling computer system are all too familiar. A favorite browser will go sluggish and take more time to load a web page. Spreadsheet documents will seize, or an application will crash. Sometimes data is lost. As a small business, it can be vitally important to balance the need for maintaining productivity with the constraints on the operation budget. But failing systems have a direct effect on employee efficiency.

How to decide

So, how is it best to think about the best times for a company to update or replace its computers?

One important consideration is the typical lifespan of a computer system. Keep in mind that there is a distinction between a consumer PC and a business PC. A consumer PC is built to a basic specification and is attractively priced for in-home consumer use. The internal components of such computers usually originate from low-cost suppliers that don’t prioritize quality or reliability. Cheap components are generally unreliable, lead to instability, have a shorter service life, and exhibit poor performance. 

Comparing service life and warranty

With normal stress and conditions, you can reasonably expect a consumer-grade PC to provide a shorter service life of 2-3 years. These systems typically come with a 1-year warranty.

A business PC is different, and usually a better investment. Many business-grade PCs can be built to order with higher quality components. You can also find a variety of pre-built models in several common configurations—from among different quality tiers. Business-grade PCs are assembled with higher-reliability components that have better performance, and easily handle a variety of typical business tasks. Many of these computers also have 3-year warranties and better support options that ensure quick and easy parts replacement.

Business-grade computers typically outperform consumer PCs by a wide margin, and will give more years of service. Many manufacturers offer models with an average service life of 3-5 years. This is a better investment for essential small business capital expenditures.

Early warning signs of imminent failure

Generally, as a computer ages and new software is installed, a strain will occur on the components. This will impact the performance of the PC, increase frustration while using the computer, and decrease user productivity.

These are common indications that a computer is about to fail or become obsolete:

  • Performance decreases with the addition of more software—or upgrading to newer versions of existing software. Sometimes, all operations will slow down.

  • Frequent issues or errors during the installation or upgrading of the operating system.

  • Various problems or crashes with essential software applications.

To maintain reasonable expectations and set guidelines for your budget, it’s good to plan new computer purchases for your business-grade computers about every 3 – 5 years. It’s also important to regularly review the system requirements for newer software so that you’re aware of the minimum hardware specifications for comparison with your existing systems. This can help you keep a good balance between costs and staff productivity.

The bottom line in replacing computers

Whether by application obsolescence, hardware incompatibility, hardware failure, or costly component failure, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to replace your PCs. Spend some time planning ahead for this eventuality, and consider making room in your budget to replace existing systems with business-grade PCs. A sensible investment in reliable, solid-performing computer equipment will translate directly into higher productivity and peace of mind. If any of your computers are consumer-grade systems that are more than 4 years old, you’re likely to see immediate benefit from an upgrade to a business-grade system.

At HonIsT Solutions, we’ll know how to find precisely the right equipment that is a good fit for your budget. So you can spend more time running your business, we’ll handle any necessary hardware or software purchases—from start to finish. HonIsT does it all for you: scoping out the solution, providing an estimate, ordering all equipment and materials, preconfiguring and hand delivering all hardware, installing, configuring, and ensuring a smooth transition from your old computer to your new purchase.

Learn more by contacting us at at 484-272-7240 or email info@honistsolutions.com.