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Old Laptops Are More Trouble Than They're Worth

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 58 comments

That's right, you NEED a new laptop.

We all love shiny new computers, which is never more true than when it comes to laptops. Unlike with desktop machines, a laptop is a complete package that typically evolves as a whole.

With a laptop, you're not going to upgrade the display or keyboard, and you can forget about upgrading the internals. All those reasons aside, there's now research that suggests that keeping a laptop beyond three years is usually more trouble than its worth.

Companies still working with tightened belts may be pressured to stave off the replacement cycle, but that could end up costing more, according to tech analyst Jack Gold.

Computerworld reports that Gold has come up with a cost model that estimates the cost of maintaining a laptop for two years beyond the initial three is $960 – which may end up costing more than just purchasing a new one at the end of year three.

As the laptop ages, it is more prone to failures of worn items such as the hard drive, keyboard and battery. The relatively slower old machine may also not be as productive as a newer model, also costing the company some money.

So there you have it – yet another reason to have shiny new things more often!

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  • 33 Hide
    w4ffles , October 6, 2009 4:41 PM
    Quote:
    Computerworld reports that Gold has come up with a cost model that estimates the cost of maintaining a laptop for two years beyond the initial three is $960 – which may end up costing more than just purchasing a new one at the end of year three.

    Only if you hire Geek Squad to fix it for you.
  • 15 Hide
    B-Unit , October 6, 2009 5:04 PM
    nunor just buy a desktop

    Yea, because dragging a desktop around for mobile troubleshooting is easy.
  • 12 Hide
    Pei-chen , October 6, 2009 4:57 PM
    With a Thinkpad, 5 year is the norm.
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    nun , October 6, 2009 4:40 PM
    or just buy a desktop
  • 33 Hide
    w4ffles , October 6, 2009 4:41 PM
    Quote:
    Computerworld reports that Gold has come up with a cost model that estimates the cost of maintaining a laptop for two years beyond the initial three is $960 – which may end up costing more than just purchasing a new one at the end of year three.

    Only if you hire Geek Squad to fix it for you.
  • 10 Hide
    Caffeinecarl , October 6, 2009 4:44 PM
    Sounds like another reason we need a better system for recycling electronics.

    I've noticed this whole concept with cell phones, too. No matter how well you take care of them, after a few years not only has the technology completely leapfrogged the old models, your 2-3 year old phone is really getting kinda loose and squeaky. The more mobile it is, the more you have to factor in wear and tear! It's not like a desktop machine where you can really extend the life of the machine by changing its duties or making a simple upgrade.
  • 2 Hide
    El_Capitan , October 6, 2009 4:54 PM
    That's why you have to love the technology industry. I have a conspiracy theory. These hardware companies probably have figured out how to make 10GHz 16 Core Laptops that last 20 hours on battery, etc. However, why jump that far ahead when you can release increments every year and charge a premium? It happened with the auto industry.
  • 12 Hide
    Pei-chen , October 6, 2009 4:57 PM
    With a Thinkpad, 5 year is the norm.
  • 4 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , October 6, 2009 5:01 PM
    El_CapitanThat's why you have to love the technology industry. I have a conspiracy theory. These hardware companies probably have figured out how to make 10GHz 16 Core Laptops that last 20 hours on battery, etc. However, why jump that far ahead when you can release increments every year and charge a premium? It happened with the auto industry.


    That would only hold true if only one laptop developer had figured out all that stuff. If more then one does there will be technology and price wars until all the tech is out on the shelves. Which leads up to the "competition is good" understanding. That is of course assuming there is no collaboration and price fixing between developers, which of course is illegal.

  • 3 Hide
    jhansonxi , October 6, 2009 5:03 PM
    "Plus, the outdated notebooks will cost an organization $9,600 annually per person in lost end-user productivity, Gold said, since a machine that's two generations behind current models takes longer to boot up and runs sluggishly."

    That's not a hardware problem. At best it is a perception problem and at worst it means your Windows mess is full of malware again and just needs a restore.

    I agree with the warranty and hard drive failure claims but the rest depends on how well the user takes care of it.

    I'd be interested in how they think this compares to Apple or any non-Windows OS.
  • 15 Hide
    B-Unit , October 6, 2009 5:04 PM
    nunor just buy a desktop

    Yea, because dragging a desktop around for mobile troubleshooting is easy.
  • 3 Hide
    wildwell , October 6, 2009 5:05 PM
    Sounds like planned obsolescence at work.
  • 2 Hide
    ph3412b07 , October 6, 2009 5:05 PM
    Any company that shells out that much to maintain a laptop simply has a poor business model. $960 by itself is way more than enough to pay for IT service, parts, upgrades, troubleshooting,...etc. In 2-3 years you're talking about a performance difference of corei7 vs core2duo. Thats not $960, unless companies are getting the extreme edition to stuff in laptops.
  • 4 Hide
    godnodog , October 6, 2009 5:25 PM
    Well, my laptop is 6years old and it´s internal power supply (I may have the wrong name on this) just died 3 days ago, so 2 years is higly suspicious, the only time it needed something was another charger and that costed me 35euros,by the way my 1986 Data General Laptop is still working fine, just lost the Dos Diskett (damn). And no it does not run Crisis!!!!
  • 0 Hide
    pepperman , October 6, 2009 5:28 PM
    JasonAkkermanThat would only hold true if only one laptop developer had figured out all that stuff. If more then one does there will be technology and price wars until all the tech is out on the shelves. Which leads up to the "competition is good" understanding. That is of course assuming there is no collaboration and price fixing between developers, which of course is illegal.


    It didn't stop the gas companies.
  • 3 Hide
    ssalim , October 6, 2009 5:28 PM
    My 3 yr-old laptop hasn't costed me a penny to maintain aside from electricity.
    What are you talking about!
  • 1 Hide
    rooket , October 6, 2009 5:30 PM
    oh not a slim Dell. those can be prone to overheating, how'd that one make it into the title? I like my personal dell fine enough but you'd have to pay me to buy a dell ever again after what i've seen in the office.
  • -1 Hide
    lifelesspoet , October 6, 2009 5:55 PM
    peppermanIt didn't stop the gas companies.

    Well, if laptops were a publicly traded commodity on wall street where dell, hp and acer could secretly funnel in money into speculation markets to affect the cost I would say this was a fair comparison.
    Anyway, I think laptops are great if you need something portable. Most people I see put laptops on desks and only want to sit on the couch with it.
    I also think there is a lesson to be learned from netbooks here. Ssd drives and lack of a cd drive make a computer a lot more reliable.
  • 0 Hide
    eldesconocido , October 6, 2009 5:55 PM
    My 1 year Latitude has never failed me; also I have owned a Sony Vaio for almost 6 years and it's working flawlessly I only had to replace its hard drive and did a memory upgrade on it about 3 years ago, spent around $70, although it's a little slow for my current requirements.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , October 6, 2009 5:56 PM
    I had to convince my employer over a year ago to upgrade the RAM from 512 to 1GB, I couldn't run any of my applications. I left that site, then came back recently, and I think I got the exact same laptop. It's now like 6 years old (running a 1.6GHz Pentium M, not even good in 2003). Needless to say, I have to wait 5 minutes every morning just for the apps that are already up and running to start responding (and no, I don't even suspend my computer).
  • 1 Hide
    jwl3 , October 6, 2009 5:59 PM
    And stupid tech depts don't allow you to do registry optimization or defrags. My piece of junk at work takes 5 minutes to start up. If I didn't secretly open up my case at night to upgrade the ram, it'd be even worse. My career goal is to be CEO not because of the wealth or power it brings - but to order the tech dept. to shut the hell up when I'm bypassing their draconian email rules and network filters.
  • 0 Hide
    kittle , October 6, 2009 5:59 PM
    My first thinkpad lasted for 7 years before I replaced it, and that was mainly due to the hassles of trying to get a wireless card working with win2k.
    I got it in 2001 and last I heard it was still working fine one of my relatives who uses it to take notes in class & play music.

    My 2nd thinkpad (purchased last year) works great and actually plays some games better than my desktop.

    But neither of them were "cheap" .. I paid $2k for them new and I got what I paid for.

    When you skimp on the pricetag, normally you endup skimping on quality which will come back & bite you in the a$$
  • 0 Hide
    intelliclint , October 6, 2009 6:00 PM
    You have to think of this as a fleet of laptops. Sure one may last 10 years but how many out of the fleet of 10 to 1000s have problems. The average business laptop is normally covered for 3 years after that the parts are the owners problem.
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