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How long can I expect high quality components to last

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May 19, 2008 7:38:26 PM

If I build a new PC using high quality components, how long can I expect to go before a piece of hardware fails?

I love PC's and hate Macs, but in my experience it looks like Mac hardware lasts a very long time. I'm posting from a 6 year old Powerbook, which has never had a single hardware failure. However, I don't have experience with PC's that were built using high quality components, so I'm hoping you guys with this kind of experience can lend me some info.

If high quality PC parts can't be expected to last nearly as long as Mac, then I may just get a Mac and run XP on it.

Thank you
May 19, 2008 8:13:19 PM

Don't waste the money. Macs often have great designs .... but do not forget that modern macs use the same core components as PCs (the same GPUs, HDDs, Memory, CPUs, Mobo components, etc ... everything but the plastic, really). There is no difference in the reliability of any of those parts, as they are the same.

That's not to say that quality control is the same, but the PC world is very diverse, and just as you can pay the premium to get the nicely designed, well supported mac, you can pay the premium in the pc world for similar quality.

That said, remember that the technologies are changing constantly on many levels, so we cannot really expect the same reliability out of *any* hardware, regardless of brand. New compounds and techniques are in use that by merit of being new simply have not been tested for as long, so while I expect my built-to-last desktop pc pull 7+ years (if I'm masochistic enough to let it ... considering that the iphone of 4 years from now will be superior in nearly every way) I cannot know for certain how long my perpendicular-recording hdd or my lcd screen or my power-hungry gpu will last. Cheap glue or thermal interface or some new environmentally-friendly heavy-metal replacing shorter-lived material could spell a smoky death for the whole system in a few years.
May 19, 2008 8:16:14 PM

Look at the warranty.

Most resalers offer an extended warranty beyond the manufactures.

Would a Honda engine last longer in a Toyota or would a Toyota engine last longer in a Honda?

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May 19, 2008 8:35:10 PM

I have a 12 year old machine here running DOS 6.22/Windows 3.11 that hasn't had a single failure and it's got several drives. All it's used for anymore is accessing occasional floppy and zip disks really, since the radios it was kept for reprogramming are finally gone, the last of the real-mode-only software I needed.

Within one year of building a new machine, I had an eVGA video card fail, Samsung DVD burner, and a WD HDD. They were replaced under warranty, but still...
May 19, 2008 8:36:33 PM

I had a PC for 5 years, used daily for Diablo 2 and little else. It worked perfectly, except I had to replace the mouse every 6 months or so. That game is really tough on the mice :) 

I used WD disks, eVGA video card, LG burner. I still like all these brands.
May 19, 2008 9:06:37 PM

It's tough to say, I've had $35 motherboards last 5+ years and $250 motherboards last 5 months, I think generally the following holds true:

-Buy a popular motherboard that has been on the market for a while, it may not be bleeding edge but usually motherboard manufacturers will release later revisions to correct design flaws

-Avoid motherboards that are packed full of geegaws and doodadas- the more unnecessary features the more there is to go wrong

-CPUs and memory almost never fail unless you are abusing them

-Any hard drive older than 4 years is living on borrowed time

-Do some research and invest in the best power supply you can afford; it will take better care of you components. Also consider buying a UPS that does line conditioning, it will even out peaks and valleys in your electricity and extend the life of all components

-Buy a case with good ventilation

-Buy an extended warranty for your motherboard, usually you'll get a free upgrade if it dies after a few years

If you do all of these and stick with reputable manufacturers there is no reason your machine won't last a very long time.
May 19, 2008 9:22:51 PM

Heh, im running a P4 on a POS foxconn MB, have been for 4 yrs now, no failures what so ever...cept the hardrive...my fault...didnt ground myself when i pulled it out for cleaning...fried it. Other than that no failures.
May 19, 2008 9:54:44 PM

Quality equipment will last till obsolesence (given that you are pumping ample amounts of voltage on an extreme overclock).

You do realize that Macs are now made with Intel processors and chipsets, right? I would assume there is very little difference in the build quality of the motherboards between top PC makers (Gigabyte, Asus, Abit) and Apple, which is the only difference (hardware-wise) between the systems.
May 19, 2008 10:03:29 PM

I've been running a p4 for 5+ years now and have had nothing fail, in fact I didn't clean it at all for at least 3 years until i replaced the GPU. the heatsink fans were packes with dust and the fan could barely turn it was so congested.

Assuming you get good brand names and take care of your components they will far outlast their usefulness.
May 19, 2008 10:29:48 PM

If you want computers to last a long time pick the componets you can afford / want. Because a computers life is usually 90% luck! I've had junkers that wouldn't die. I've seen new machines bite it after a couple of boots. It's totally random and no one can guarantee you much of anything. So good luck.
May 19, 2008 10:36:27 PM

Agreed, to the op. I'm actually certified with Apple to work on their stuff. Parts are luck of the draw, your powerbook may be great, but look at the issues macbooks were having a year ago before apple fixed it with firmware updates. You dont have to buy the best stuff, but if you buy decent stuff, it should last, considering you have it hooked up right. The way stuff is hooked up is half the battle. If you get top of the line stuff it may never fail.

But you may get middle of the road hardware and someone who knows what they are doing installs it properly, it may last for years. In PC's, get a decent power supply that can handle what you need. And a decent motherboard like the other guys said, one that's popular that a lot of people have used and had good luck with. The other stuff is not as big of deal, but those are your main things. Make sure you know how to hook everything properly because if someone just "rigs" it, but does it wrong, you really could have problems. Myself though, I had one that lasted 4-5 years and I finally upgraded because I was just wanting something else, though that still had life in it. I actually gave away some of the parts to my parents so they could upgrade their older pc and some of the parts are still good.
May 19, 2008 11:08:08 PM

Hi Guys. Mechanical moving parts wear out first. Drives, fans, switches, potentiometers, connectors etc. The more they are moved, rotated etc, the quicker. Next is temperature. As a rule of thumb, if you drop the temperature 10C, you double the lifetime of electronic parts. Conversely, raise the temp 10C and half the lifetime. Generally, paste type electrolytic capacitors fail first when the paste dries out. Normally about 10 years. A walk in re-fridgerator is
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