How often should I replace my computers?

How often should I replace hardware?
Photo Credit: Santeri Viinamäki

Whether it operates more slowly over time, has constant issues that require troubleshooting or simply refuses to boot up at all, every computer and piece of hardware in your office will eventually fail and need to be replaced. As your equipment struggles to keep up and eventually begins to fail, you’ll incur costly downtime and repair costs. From software crashes to sluggish workstations and outright data loss, the way your network and its components behave has the potential to impact your entire business. The results of a slowdown or outright hardware failure could be catastrophic and lead to any one of the following scenarios:

  • A total failure that leaves your staff sitting around waiting while you scramble for a repair person
  • Work or business disruption right before or during a big sale or the busiest days of the year
  • Loss of your important customer and business data
  • Inability to process customer requests and orders in a timely way, resulting in a loss of sales.
  • Your equipment is on life support, but is costing you cash every month to maintain your aged systems

Your hardware is a big investment and you can usually maintain it for several years, but how can you tell when it is time to begin replacing your equipment? There are a few different ways to approach computer replacement or turnover.

How often should I replace my computers?

Are are 3 Replacement Strategies for Business Hardware:

Performance Based: Decide in advance what replacement threshold is acceptable for your business – and when your hardware performance begins to lapse or is no longer up to your predetermined levels, replace it. This method allows you to get the most from your investment, since you are not culling computers after a specific date but waiting until they show signs of decline. Your risk of actual failure is cut as well, since you can terminate your use at the first signs of significant trouble.

Time Based: Decide on a regular replacement schedule and follow through; this plan works best for servers and other big ticket pieces. Most business PCs will last about 3-4 years before a replacement is warranted, and having a plan allows you to budget for replacement over time, instead of getting hit with a huge expense at the last minute.

When Something Goes Wrong: This method is adopted by many businesses, but is the highest risk and the strategy most likely to result in catastrophic error and excessive downtime. Choose this model only if you can afford the downtime and hassle that comes with a “surprise” hardware emergency. If you wait for your existing equipment to die, you’ll eventually be faced with a big repair or replacement bill and a nasty disruption of your work schedule.

Your replacement plan should cover timing, cost and strategies for dealing with taxes and warranties, in addition to transferring your data and hardware. Contact us if you are concerned about your existing hardware or need help coming up with a hardware and software replacement plan for your business.